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Virtual Reality, 360, 3D Video in Real Estate Industry

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About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Product & Marketing for 360modern. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • rolandestrada

    This is not going to take off. Period. 360 degree tours have already died off once and won’t coming back. Inman has been plugging these dopey virtual reality tours for some unknown reason. It’s either a pay to play deal or someone at Inman has a real fetish for this soon to die tech. Quite frankly it lacks any elegance whatsoever. It’s just plain cheesy. I’ve commented on this before on Inman and was called a hater. No. I’m a realist that doesn’t believe that every new bit of tech that emerges is “magical”.

    I attended a Apple sponsored event at the Newport Beach Apple store a couple of years back. It featured forward thinking local realtors and one guest that owns a social media marketing company. He was rattling off different bits of social and tech avenues that agents could use when he mentioned how Google Glass would be taking off. If was all I could do to keep myself from voicing that Glass was DOA and it especially was DOA for real estate. Needless to say, I was right. It’s fair to say I’m almost always right about these adventurous articles written by overzealous wanna-be “tech experts” all over the net. I should have kept track of all the nay saying I’ve done all over the net for the past ten years on various tech and real estate blogs that are touting the latest thing that never comes to pass – Inman, CNET and AGBeat to name a few.

    360 degree tours (virtual tours) gave way to to videos with the Ken Burns effect. Which sort of gave way to elegantly produced videos usually for higher end properties. Now comes the indoor version of Google Street View. This too shall die. It will die for several reasons, chief among them is the time it takes for engagement. Nobody is going to spend a ton of time trying to navigate these things. It’s tedious. The other reasons are equipment cost, production costs and the sheer inelegance of the product.

    It’s much more efficient for buyers and sellers to scroll through a set of pictures to figure out if they want to see a home. If properly photographed and sequenced, photos can walk someone through the house with a very clear “picture” of the layout of almost any home. You tell a story. It’s not a talent most agents have of course as evidenced by the seemingly random way most agents layout listing photos even when the photos are taken by a professional photographer. But, this talent can be learned. I just take some logical thinking.

    Even 3D TV is dead. Samsung will no longer be producing 3D televisions. RIP 3D.

  • Alan Shekhtman

    To address some of the points you made @rolandestrada:disqus . A few bumps in the road to AR and VR technology, such as Google Glass, does not mean that the technology won’t last or won’t become mainstream in the industry. Google pioneered AR use in their Glass project years ago. Perhaps they were slightly ahead of their time or just didn’t do it well, but AR glasses are still being successfully developed and are already starting to impact enterprise success- most notably Microsoft’s HoloLens. This technology is no longer something that one company was trying to figure out. Google, Microsoft, Apple, HTC, Facebook, and more have invested billions into this and we can already see the effects. In terms of AR, yes, glasses may not be great for real estate, but 360 mobile or headset walkthrough’s on the other hand are much more powerful visual tools that are especially great on mobile phones since it is so easy to go through it by just tilting the phone. Mobile 360 walkthroughs are engaging and deliver a unique feeling of presence – as demonstrated by the millions and millions of views that they receive on youtube. For commercial real estate especially, buildings can be rendered in VR before they are built which is amazing for developers who are trying to sell off-plan. Many firms have already started improving sales because of this. In terms of equipment and production, these costs are continuously dropping and have dropped significantly since you made this comment (home pictures in 360 can be done for less than real estate photographers charge.) In addition, the quality of both renderings and 360 walkthroughs have gone up significantly. 3D TV had a lot of hype around it, but it lacked the many aspects of presence and emotional connection that VR has. VR isn’t another 3D TV, its a completely different product. Henry Ford said that “if I gave my customers what they asked for I would have given them a faster horse.” 3D TV may have been the faster horse, but VR and AR is the metaphorical automobile. While it is so easy to be skeptical about this and rely on your track record, it by no means shows that you are going to be right about this. You will just have to see it for yourself. I hope this addresses some of your concerns.

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