Airbnb developing a VR property viewing solution

Airbnb is in the process of developing a VR/AR feature that will let users get a feel for rental properties.

The company wrote in a recent blog post that it wants to add 3D scans and 360 photos to its website, in order to allow people to get a better sense of the actual scale and layout of a property. VR has been on the company’s radar for at least year, with VP of engineering Mike Curtis saying in 2016 that the technology could be used to forge a closer connection between the company and its customers.

The company says:

“Virtual reality gives us an opportunity to reshape where inspiration is drawn from, and take travel planning to the next level. It can also allow people to connect with their destination, host, and co-travellers.

“Capabilities like 360 photos and 3D scans allow a person to step inside a home or city and understand what to expect and how to orient themselves before they leave the comfort of their own home.”

As VR continues to become more mainstream, and hardware ownership continues to rise, it is possible that you could be sharing immersive experiences with your friends and family when planning trips in the near future.

Connecting people to places

The company is also looking into a range of ways that AR can be used while people on holiday. The growing prevalence of the technology on smartphones means that it is an easy way to provide a more seamless travel experience.

AR can help Airbnb provide travellers with contextual information about both the area that they are staying in, but also about the property itself. The company envisions users opening the door to the property, pulling up an app and being directed to the coffee mugs or being directions on how to use the washing machine or thermostat.

Users would also be able to receive historical information or get pointed towards points of interest or places to eat recommended by previous guests.

According to the company:

“Some may say virtual and augmented reality technologies could isolate people even further—but we’re building tools for the opposite effect. The strength of virtual reality is to create fictional, inspirational, shared spaces —allowing us to connect more deeply in situations where we’re already remote or separated.” 

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