Augmented Reality Was Going To Change Commercial Real Estate Forever. What The Hell Happened?

So, here we are begging for spring in March 2018. We have flying cars, sentient beings inhabiting the globe (wink) and robots fixing us soylent green for breakfast. We live in the future. Right, it’s the future or at least it looked that way in 2011 when I wrote this.

Will Augmented Reality Change Commercial Real Estate Forever?

And then again in 2013, I figured hey, let’s keep up with the amazing tech stuff and see how it’s changing the world. BUT………

What Again? Augmented Reality And Commercial Real Estate Revisited.

What in the hell happened?

Augment Reality in 2018 is what?

Augment Reality for #CRE in 2018 is what……nothing?

Ok, it’s mostly Matterport, I will give them that. Wait a minute Matterport is not even close to augmented reality (AR) so that’s a no then.

A quick refresher.

The best way to understand augmented reality is to think of it as any additional tech, tool or app that adds an extra layer of interactivity within a virtual reality environment. AR can work in several different ways and is used for many different reasons, but in most cases, AR involves a scenario where virtual objects are overlaid and tracked atop real, physical objects to create the illusion that they’re in the same space.

Ok, pretty straightforward and looks like a no-brainer use case for commercial real estate.

Then why is it we hear and see so much more use of Virtual Reality (VR) for commercial real estate?

What’s the Difference between AR and VR?

Virtual reality and augmented reality are similar in some important ways.

They both use the same type of technology. They both help users experience virtual environments in more detail. They’re both changing the game across every industry from healthcare to beauty and of course, real estate maybe? The main difference between VR and AR isn’t really “what” they are, but rather how they’re used. VR usually requires the user to wear some kind of headset in order to visualize a real-life setting in 3D while AR adds virtual elements to real-world through apps on phones, tablets, and laptops.

Residential is all over both. It seems just too obvious does it not? You get online and look at a house and it’s all pictures and virtual walkthroughs. Of course, it is.

Commercial is……just plain vanilla boxes and bare walls? Uh, yes but is that every space? Of course not. But….?

Yes, I get that there is some use for the VR stuff and I have said it a thousand times, “it’s a commodity.”

But AR could be so much more useful for commercial real estate. Did you miss the part of the description that said: “adds an extra layer of interactivity.” How can that not be a good thing? Extra Layer Of Interactivity……..hmmm. Layered on top of what data? Makes the mind wander a bit does it not?

How about lead gen data?

Maybe marketing data?

How about location data? Wait, that’s not already happening? Seriously!

Let me throw this in the mix. Age, yea age.

Old geezers don’t even care. I have heard this exact statement, “if I can’t get them to physically walk a space I have no chance of selling them.” Ok, fair enough.

What about the generation coming up now? How do they see things again? How do they search for “spaces/houses” again?

Might be something there. Hey, what do I know?

How about practical uses of AR like let’s say in a commercial buildings mechanical room?

Good idea? A company with that general idea just won the REBNY Startup Challenge and some CASH.

What did all the judges see that the rest of #CRE has not so far?

Let me sum it up a bit.

It’s visual.

It’s interactive.

It’s practical.

It collects data.

It’s mobile.

Hmmm, sound too good to be true.

But how many companies in #CRE are using it now, today in any way shape or form?

None that I know of.

That’s ZERO on my radar. ZERO.


Augmented Reality Was Going To Change Commercial Real Estate Forever. What The Hell Happened?



+1 Try walking down Madison Ave and let’s say 42nd street in NYC around noon and hold up your phone, what’s going to happen? Nothing but getting ran over by everyone walking right behind you.