Research suggests that by 2020, the virtual reality (VR) industry will be worth more than $150 billion. Once considered a fad technology only relevant to the gaming industry, VR is infiltrating a wide variety of sectors including health, automotive, retail, and science.
The construction and real estate industries are also seeing a burgeoning use of VR in Australia. As constriction puts high emphasis on visual experience, VR is well-placed to shake-up an industry that often relies on human imagination or old-fashioned 2-Dimensional artist mock ups for buildings that are in their construction phase.
The use of VR benefits everyone, it is just as useful from a project manager or architect perspective, as it it for real-estate purchasers. It comes as no surprise then that the use of VR in Australian construction is increasing at a fast-clip.
Getting Better all the Time
Jobsite spoke exclusively with Dexter Eugenio, CEO and Co-Founder of Kasa Digital, a Melbourne-based digital production studio specialising in ultra-realistic, fully interactive, and highly immersive virtual reality environments.
It comes as no surprise then that the use of VR in Australian construction is increasing at a fast-clip.
According to Eugenio, the construction industry is at the forefront of VR use in Australia, and a bulk of the work commissioned at Kasa Digital is from the building and real-estate sectors.
“In two to five years, VR will become a staple for every new building project in terms of sales, marketing, and design. The quality of the content is extremely high, and it is getting better all the time,” Eugenio notes.
Alongside huge improvements in the technology and experience, VR is also becoming far more accessible, with major brands such as Google, Samsung, and Apple all throwing their hat into the ring when it comes to new and better VR experiences.
Constructing New Worlds
In construction specifically, Kasa Digital works closely with architects who are looking to get an accurate feel for a place, as a way to visualise a project.
“VR has been welcomed by the construction industry. This is because construction is in a turning phase as technology becomes a bigger and bigger part of it."
“For example, if constructing a room or a visual space, the builder and architect can show their client the progress of a floorplan. It’s an extension for people to see what it will look like without it being built,” he says. “People actually are able to pace out the size of a room and plot where doors, windows, or other implements should go. For a consumer, they’re able to plot out where their furniture will go.”
Colour schemes can also be interchanged easily, according to Eugenio, with different materials and colour boards playing their role in the seamless visualisation of an unbuilt space.
“VR has been welcomed by the construction industry. This is because construction is in a turning phase as technology becomes a bigger and bigger part of it. Project managers used to come to a jobsite with a notebook, and now they come with a Surface Pro. They know they have technology to hand that can close sales and improve efficiencies,” Eugenio says.
Marketing the Market
Within real estate, the role of VR is somewhat different.It cements the position as one of the savviest and most interesting ways to market new properties. Not only is it fun and compelling for buyers, it also adds huge cost-effectiveness to a project campaign.
“You could spend ten times as much on a display suite when compared to VR, and the experience is just as enriching for a buyer,”
“You could spend ten times as much on a display suite when compared to VR, and the experience is just as enriching for a buyer,” Eugenio notes. “Not only that, it increases the reach of a project. It enables marketing to extend beyond display suites – multiple people can technically be in one ‘place’ at any one time. It opens up possibilities to buy overseas from your own living room.”
Kasa Digital has recently had a client that moved from display suite to VR technology, setting up the experience in a local shopping centre. It estimated that out of every ten people going through the experience, two or three were genuine buyers, and the rest were interested in the technology.
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