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Technology has profoundly impacted daily society in ways humans never thought possible. We are now able to communicate with strangers and friends from around the world at a moment’s notice, our cars drive themselves and we can consume almost any form of media anywhere at any time. Technology is a wonderful thing. Many industries have felt the impact of technology, from medicine to construction to entertainment and everything in between. One industry in particular that is feeling a heavy influx of tech is real estate. How exactly is this centuries-old industry getting a dose of the 21st century? Through augmented reality.


Before I go any further, it may be helpful to explain what augmented reality is. In short, augmented reality is a specific technology that can superimpose a computer-generated image on real world surfaces. While the technology is not necessarily new, it is being advanced to create some compelling visual effects and implemented in new and astounding ways. One of the most popular examples of augmented reality (also known as AR) is from the wildly successful mobile app Pokemon GO. The app superimposed characters from the popular franchise into the real world in an attempt to get players to move around their towns to “catch them all.”


AR is now being implemented in much more productive and practical ways. For real estate, there is no shortage of ways it can be used. The most common use for AR in real estate is for staging a property. For brokers, agents and developers, the end goal is to sell the property in order to earn a profit. In the past, the best way to sell a property is to stage it, or to place various furnishings and items to create a sense of what the space could be in the future. This assists in giving the buyer a better idea of what he or she can do with the space. It is a fantastic method for real estate agents to use when selling homes and apartments.


When selling large office buildings or commercial spaces, the challenge becomes much more difficult. It is one thing to stage a small house or apartment with a few furnishings, but it is quite another to completely stage an office building or department store unit; the costs of such an endeavor would be astronomical. With the use of AR, brokers and agents can superimpose three-dimensional images onto these blank spaces to give buyers a better sense of what they are buying. Developers can also use this technology to gain a sense of what a finished property will look like during the design and blueprinting phases of creation. Using powerful AR programs and three-dimensional blueprints, they can scale it appropriately and take virtual tours of properties that haven’t even been built yet.


As AR becomes more mainstream and the technology advances, it is very likely that we will see more uses in the future. I am very excited for the possibilities that AR can provide down the road.