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Virtual Reality Puts Residents in Apartments ... Sort of

Digested From “Virtual Reality Ready to Revolutionize Residential Sales Market
Real Estate Weekly (11/21/14) Putzier, Konrad

A growing number of tech firms are venturing into virtual-reality real estate marketing. Recent advances in interactive technology are providing potential residents with a vivid "walk-through" that they can take on their TV and computer screens. Quite possibly the biggest game changer for new development marketing is Oculus Rift, a virtual-reality display that is worn like a pair of goggles. Developed by California-based Oculus VR, the product is set for release in 2015. Real estate tech firms, though, are already working with prototypes to produce what are in essence walkable, 3D renderings of homes. ArX Solutions, for instance, has developed its interactive software for Oculus Rift, which offers tremendous opportunities. So much so that numerous firms are now trying to harness the technology for real estate sales. Among them is New York-based Rubicon Media, which is also developing virtual apartment tours for Oculus Rift.  

Beyond virtual reality, less eye-popping technology has been embraced across the multifamily housing industry in recent years. Sales offices now often feature touch screens with information on available units and virtual renderings. Meanwhile, phone and tablet apps allow potential residents to scope out apartments from anywhere. Technology is increasingly integrating all aspects of a sales center. Tech firm DBOX, for instance, has outfitted the sales center for a luxury condo building by Francis Greenburger's Time Equities in Lower Manhattan. Once prospective residents select an apartment on a touch screen, the designated unit lights up in a model of the tower, while the views from its windows are projected on the surrounding walls. While it is not exactly virtual reality, it's pretty close and the technology has made it easier for people to visualize the apartments.

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