Augmented reality (AR) technology imposes artificial images and objects on real-life objects, which is how users can play Pokémon Go while walking around their neighborhood. In contrast, virtual reality (VR) creates an artificial environment. Meta’s Oculus Quest 2, for example, allows users to work out, explore new countries, and watch concerts created in an immersive world—all from their living room. However, AR and VR are no longer solely for gamers; these technologies are rapidly expanding to other industries, including travel, real estate, and retail.
The use of AR technology in the real estate industry is booming, accelerated by an unexpected catalyst: COVID-19. When the pandemic hit, attending open houses in person was no longer a safe option for many. In response, rapid app development helped make virtual at-home walk-throughs possible.
Matterport, a 3D virtual tour platform, created an iOS app in late 2020, allowing home sellers to scan their homes using the LiDAR sensors on their phones or tablets. Previously, that capability was only possible with expensive camera equipment. According to Redfin, a real estate brokerage, 63 percent of buyers who viewed virtual walk-throughs in late 2020 made offers on homes they hadn’t visited in person. Monthly views of 3D walk-throughs via the app were up over 500 percent from February 2020.