Real estate companies not tapping into the commercial benefits of augmented reality will be left behind, a technology expert in the property industry says.
Dexus chief information officer Mark Hansen, who has been keeping close tabs on the rising technology, described the evolution of augmented reality (or AR) as “exponential”.
“Two years ago, I would have said it was a clunky technology, and something that I didn’t think was commercially ready,” Mr Hansen said.
“We’re starting to see it as a commercially viable option today, but I would suggest in the next two years, it’s something that will become a core component in the way property groups present and sell their products.”
AR would eventually become a critical part of real estate marketing, he said.
“If you’re not involved in AR in some way, shape or form, I think you’ll start to fall behind the pack in the way you actually sell and market your service and product.”
AR is a digital technology that allows users to see their surrounding world through a screen but with an extra layer of interactive information inserted into the vision.
A new app, developed by Commercial Real Estate, part of Domain Group, and Macquarie University’s Virtual Reality Lab, uses AR to make property data accessible for those looking for offices to lease or buy.
The app, which has a database of about 400 buildings so far in the CBD areas of capital cities, shows key information, including amenities, tenant industries and vacancies, about the commercial properties physically surrounding the user.
Maty Paule, head of product at Commercial Real Estate, said AR was a natural fit for the real estate industry.
“Real estate is all about location and appearances, while two emerging themes in AR are geo-location and image detection,” he said.
“The ability for users to access property data in their current location is a powerful proposition, while the possibility of modifying a property’s visual appearance to understand development or renovation potential is a game changer.”
There are plans for the app to expand into other types of commercial property assets down the track, such as developments, industrial and retail property, Mr Paule said.
“We are just getting our feet wet. There are new technologies emerging all the time and we are evolving our knowledge and product offering along the way, taking our users along for the ride.”
Macquarie University’s Virtual Reality Lab director Manolya Kavakli said AR was tipped to become more widely used than virtual reality, thanks to its accessibility and lack of need for a bulky headset.
“Everybody is seeing that AR will be four times bigger than virtual reality; the market share of that will be much bigger,” she said.
“Everybody has a mobile phone these days and a GPS-based AR is becoming very accessible.”
Associate professor Kavakli said there was still much to be researched to improve the AR experience.
“We are just crawling in terms of AR and its potential; there are lots of challenges with AR but the future potential is huge.”