With VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and films like “Ready Player One” hitting the pop culture landscape, there’s been a lot of buzz around virtual reality lately. But if you’ve been following tech trends, there’s another buzzword you’ve probably heard floating around that maybe you’re not so sure about—and that’s “augmented reality.”
Augmented reality has some serious potential for builders to help drive sales and fill their communities—but only if you can figure out how to properly integrate AR into your business model and use it effectively.
So what, exactly, is AR? And more importantly, how can builders use augmented reality to drive sales in their communities in the real world?
AR Explained
Before we dive into how AR can support your building business, let’s talk about what, exactly, AR is.
According to the Google Dictionary, augmented reality is “a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.” In other words, it’s any technology that allows you to overlay computer generated effects (including visual and auditory effects) onto a natural environment to create a hybrid virtual/real-world experience for users.
There are a few different types of augmented reality, with the main categories being marker based AR (which uses a camera and image recognition software to trigger an AR experience when you point the camera at a specific object, or “marker”), markerless AR (which uses GPS or location-based services to create an AR experience), and superimposition based AR (which replaces a person’s original view of an object or location with an augmented view of the same object or location).
AR in Action
Understanding AR as a concept can be challenging, so let’s look at some of the most popular (and successful!) examples of augmented reality in action.
Perhaps the most widely known example of AR in action is Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go is a wildly popular mobile game (at its peak, the game had a whopping 45 million active users per day) that leverages markerless AR to place Pokemon in the players’ immediate environment. Players hold up their phones to a specific location, where the game imposes a Pokemon onto the environment that they can then battle and “catch” for their collection.
Another (and perhaps more practical) example of AR in action is Google Glass. Google Glass are smart glasses that, when worn, display computer generated images over the eye. While the consumer facing product originally struggled, the launch of Glass Enterprise Edition brought huge success to the project. The Enterprise Edition, which is used in factories and warehouses across the country, imposes real-time data (like assembly instructions and product information) through the glasses so workers on the assembly line don’t have to stop what they’re doing in order to access the information. Companies using Google Glass have had promising results, with many reporting increased productivity and improved workflow.
How You Can Use AR To Drive Sales and Fill Your Communities
Ok, so now that we know what AR is and how it works, let’s talk about how it can work for you as a builder.
AR can be an incredible tool to help drive sales and fill your communities. One of the best ways builders can use augmented reality is through AR home staging apps like Curate. With an AR home staging app, potential buyers can point their phone at an empty space in your model home and see a variety of different staging options, including furniture, lighting, and decor. Not only does this help you save money on staging your properties, but the personalized staging options make it easier for each buyer to imagine the home with their own taste and style—which can help move them forward in the buying cycle.
As a builder, you can also use marker based AR technology to attach sales messaging to specific areas of your model home, addressing buyer’s questions and pushing them further in the sales cycle. So, for example, let’s say you have a unique lighting installation that you notice a lot of potential buyers have questions about. Instead of needing to have a sales person on hand to address the same questions for every tour, you could attach a QR code to the fixture which buyers could scan on their phone and see a video demo, sales information, or other details superimposed next to the actual lighting fixture. Or maybe you notice potential buyers having questions about the layout of the home. You could attach a QR code next to the front door which, when scanned, pulls up an augmented reality demonstration of traffic flow and how to effectively manage the space.
Wrapping things up
Augmented reality is here to stay. And as the technology continues to advance, it will only present more opportunities for builders to use AR to drive sales and fill their communities. If you want to get the most out of this new technology, it’s in your best interest to get ahead of the trend and start implementing AR now; the sooner you can create AR experiences for your potential buyers, the sooner you can start using it to sell properties and fill your communities—and the more likely you’ll be to get a head start on the competition.