Commercial Real Estate Embraces Immersive Technology



Many new forms of technology help buyers and sellers to connect, as well as streamlining the real estate transaction process.  Aggressive selling techniques fall out of favor as more soft touch social media enters into the business arena.  Selling with someone you know, who is active on blogs and posting on Facebook, makes them more real and more personable in the residential market. However, some commercial real estate brokerages have also upped their game in high tech marketing centers, collateral materials and selling tactics.

© alisonhancock - Fotolia.com

© alisonhancock – Fotolia.com

Using Space

Landing big name clients for commercial space isn’t about glossy photos and fold out brochures anymore.  Commercial clients want to be surrounded by the builder’s ideas, immersed in the viewpoint of what it will really look like from the inside, as well as see what the exterior looks like.  Brokerages are pulling out all the stops and using virtual exhibits that can be viewed on an iPad, with all the changes simulated via the tablet as they wander through the space.  There will be no more cost intensive build-outs or long construction timetables lingering in a hot real estate market for todays’ brokerages.

Some offices also integrate 3D headgear like the Google Glass or the Oculus Rift helmet, taking virtual reality from the gaming environment to the real world like never before.  Imagine walking through the entire space of your new office without leaving your home.  Mixing virtual reality with a person’s body movements as well offers an intuitive format that users greatly enjoy exploring.  Changing a single element or alternating an entire floor plan is simple and convenient with a hand gesture, putting both buyers and builders on the exact same page.  Better still, inviting the buyer to directly interact with the VR helps encourage the sense of personal involvement and aids in making buyers more comfortable with making the decision on a big project.  Just as much as a retailer understands a buyer will more likely buy an expensive item they are holding than one they see through the glass, so does VR assist the broker in closing more deals.

Larger than life

When you’ve been working with large buildings, you need to think outside the box, or in this case, outside the building. Bold new marketing techniques have some brokerages use the exterior walls of an entire building to market on for night time promotions.  Called projection mapping, the building itself is used like a big screen and can be placed right in the space being mapped.  Not only does it serve to gain a focal point at night, it also offers a unique way to showcase a possible space with a photographic overlay of what it could be used for.  The possibilities are endless for a potential space with this mapping system.

Go Mobile

A whopping 60% of Americans now own smartphones, with growth expected to reach 80% in 2014. Using mobile devices, many new ideas involve apps that turn on beacons, geo-targets, and deploying content on sensing a target.  For iOS 7 from Apple, for example, iBeacon works as a sensor that notifies mobile devices when they are close to a certain place or special item.   Similar to the Retail Me Not app, which notes when a person is near shopping malls or stores and gives them coupons, the iBeacon notes a person’s location and pushes content to it.  This content can be a short film for an interior walk through, a note of availability, or a shot of a 360 degree panoramic view.  In addition, the app can offer to send all the images in a separate email, gaining a hot lead for the brokerage.

Brokerages continue to advance the technology they use in their daily business.  Beacons, 3D virtual walk-throughs and giant projections are all part of the new emerging technology that can have commercial buyers ready to move forward on previously difficult to envision projects.  Commercial clients and eventually residential clients will have more tools to select from, enhancing the buying experience in ways never before realized.

Jennifer Kinzle is a Realty Biz News Contributor