In the world of property, VR plays two key roles.
Firstly, it is used to produce VR walkthroughs of existing properties in order to help market and sell them.
Secondly, it is used to produce a realistic and interactive architectural visualisation of proposed building and development plans.
Depending on the requirements of the project, there is a choice between two VR subcategories; the scanned environment and the created environment.
VR innovation is still in its infancy; many of its capabilities are yet to be realised
The scanned environment involves digitally stitching together photographs in order to create a 360-degree impression of the property which can then be explored from a fixed standpoint.
The created environment uses computer graphics (CGI) to render an accurate impression of a particular property. This can then be explored, in full, by the user.
So which side of VR is best suited to which requirements?
Current market trends show that the scanned environment is best suited to existing property, and the created environment is better for visualising future property.
Let’s take a look at why.
The created environment
While the created environment can indeed be used to produce virtual tours of existing properties, it really comes into its own when applied to proposed property.
Obviously, if there is no building to photograph, you have to create. The technology is now so sophisticated that it can be difficult to even tell that it’s CGI, not photography.
Until now, the only tools that an architect could use to illustrate their ideas were 3D models and technical drawings. Thanks to created VR, they are able to produce accurate walkthrough experiences, inside and out,
Another advantage of the created environment is that it gives you the privilege of power that you don’t get from the scanned environment.
For example, you have full control over the weather outside the windows. A beautiful sunny day always makes a building feel more pleasant and radiant.
you can tailor a property to suit the tastes and needs of each viewer
You can ensure that the lighting in all rooms is perfect; it can feel welcoming and airy, or romantic and intimate, all with a few simple clicks. With created VR, property always looks it’s best.
Created VR’s offering of easy amendments and edits means that you can constantly return to the tour and implement small improvements or changes. Eventually, this will even mean that you can tailor a property to suit the tastes and needs of each viewer.
Created VR offers great powers of persuasion.
The downside of created VR? It’s not real, and therefore less likely to be fully trusted by the user.
It also requires a high level of skill to build the experience and isn’t something that just anyone can do. For these reasons, created VR has, thus far, been reserved mainly for showcasing future major projects.
The scanned environment
The scanned environment is a VR experience created by stitching photographs together. The main benefit of it is that it is real; there is no artistic licence like there is with CGI and users know this.
Therefore, it is inherently more trustworthy.
These elements of realness and trust make the scanned environment the perfect tool for selling property.
It is such a simple process that some companies even offer self service 360 photography, and the tech is so affordable that even the smallest of property firms can afford to take advantage of it.
Scanned VR makes property immediately accessible, and the scanned environment is the perfect companion to our busy, 21st century lives. We live in a culture of immediate satisfaction and we have less free time than ever before.
elements of realness and trust make the scanned environment the perfect tool for selling property
If scanned VR means we can save time and effort on property viewings, it really can’t fail.
Perhaps the main downsides of the scanned environment is permeance. 360 degree photography is extremely difficult to edit once it’s finished, and even if you can, the scope for change is limited.
It doesn’t offer the flexibility of CGI and relies heavily on high quality pictures being taken in the first place.
Another downside is that it is not yet possible to create an experience where the user can actually move through the property at will.
Whereas CGI VR is essentially a video game experience – you can walk through, from room to room, explore it from different vantage points and explore every corner – the scanned environment limits the user to looking around the room from one fixed spot.
VR innovation is still in its infancy; many of its capabilities are yet to be realised.
But when we reach a point where the user can walk through a scanned environment, the created environment is likely to be eliminated entirely from property viewings.
It will, however, remain a powerful tool for architects and city planners.
The scanned environment, on the other hand, is, and forever will be, the more accessible of the two. The tech is destined to become increasingly engrossing, and the wider market are already exposed for a large amount of created VR. Therefore, in the short-term, it is likely to become the more familiar face of VR.