Virtual Reality, or VR, allows users to experience an immersive 360-degree experience, within a computer-generated 3D simulation. Many people have heard of the technology in relation to gaming, with providers such as Oculus, PlayStation and Google all vying for space in an exciting market.
Through a headset, gamers can access a stunning fantasy world, controlling the direction they explore and what they focus on. Whilst this technology is no longer new, we are just starting to unearth its potential. VR is now used by doctors, architects, designers, planners and estate agents (the list goes on) to gain and present a greater understanding of the world we live in.
For those in the property industry, VR offers unprecedented opportunities to explore designs with clients and stakeholders all over the world – before a single brick has been laid.
What is a Virtual Property tour?
A “standard” virtual tour usually consists of several panoramic images, which are edited into a single 360° experience. This technology is commonly used for insights into houses, public buildings and business that already exist, to give the public a sneak-peak into these spaces.
Virtual reality property tours work differently.
Virtual Reality property tours create a 3D rendering of what a property or development could (or does) look like. This gives clients a realistic impression of how a space will feel when complete, visualising changes to layouts, wall colours, furniture and fittings in real time. This flexibility allows for faster and more collaborative work across design, construction, planning and architectural processes.
What are the uses for Virtual Property tours?
Industries as diverse as health, education, design, and even the military have found incredible uses for virtual technologies. Psychologists have used VR in the treatment of anxiety and PTSD, estate agents have quickly adopted the technology for virtual viewings (enabling the sale of multi-million pound mansions to clients across the globe), and building contractors can even train new members in complex tasks before attempting the real thing.
For professionals in the world of architecture, design and planning, the possibilities are just as exciting.
Architectural firms have particularly adopted the technology, as it offers the potential to revolutionise workflows and create better, more efficient design. Virtual property tours mean that clients can view proposals and feedback on designs, negating the need for costly site visits and potential misunderstandings over 2D plans.
Virtual property tours are even used by those working in the regulatory side of construction. For instance, VR programmes can be used to test fire escape routes, allowing someone to virtually inhabit a large housing block and locate emergency exits.
This provides invaluable insights for health and safety regulators and designers, all conducted in a safe and controlled manner. For complex developments seeking planning consent, virtual tours can also situate the proposed designs in a pre-existing (or planned) context, allowing for better and more informed decision making. Whether you are a developer, marketer, architect, hotelier, interior designer or builder, investing in virtual tour technology has truly transformative potential.
What are the benefits of Virtual Property Tours?
Investing in virtual property tours (whether standard or simulated) can certainly be expensive and may not be within the reach of every architectural firm or design agency. Despite this, as the technology becomes more prevalent, costs are decreasing. This has allowed more and more businesses to experience the benefits. These include:
Virtual property tours allow users to interact and experiment with new spaces in real time – changing colours of materials, walls, floors and furniture at the click of a button. Some 3D programmes are even able to render various lighting scenarios (dawn, dusk, sunshine, cloud etc.), which can further help clients understand their new building.
One of the biggest benefits to virtual tours is the ability to engage public and planners in immersive, contextualised experiences during the consultation process. When concerns arise, for instance how a building impacts existing views or works within a neighbourhood, virtual tours provide precise, navigable renderings which remove fear of the unknown.
Aside from saving time on multiple site visits in the early planning stages, the technology also allows for greater insight and identification of potential design and logistical errors. From tweaking the size of a window, to the angle of a wall or the layout of a kitchen, virtual tours give flexibility to both designers and clients assessing multiple design choices.
Virtual property tours are becoming more and more sophisticated, allowing clients to instantly understand proposals and design intent. These realistic, detailed representations bridge the gap between imagination and reality, and eliminate guesswork for those who may not be familiar with interpreting 2D drawings.
By investing in virtual property tours, businesses can position themselves as industry leaders. Second only to stepping inside a finished building (impossible in the planning stages), virtual tours allow clients to enter a new environment, building trust and credibility. Firms can also use the technology to showcase previous projects – giving customers a valuable insight into their work.
Planners, architects and those involved in the hospitality, design and construction industries have all utilised digital tools for many years. These industries are often early adopters of new technology, and virtual property tours offer unprecedented opportunities not only for improving understanding of buildings and public spaces, but also for revolutionising workflows and client engagement. Is it time to take the next step, and explore how virtual property tours could transform your work?
About EV Architects.
EV Architects is a London-based multidisciplinary Architectural Practice that is based in Highams Park, East London. We provide a Fully Managed Design, Plan and Building service for residential projects across London and the immediate surrounding Counties, including Essex, Hertfordshire.
We’re Virtual Reality experts!
EV Architects is one of the only Architectural Practices in the area that provides Virtual Reality experiences to residential customers. Visit our Virtual Reality page to find out more about our Virtual Property Tour services and interact with our online VR demonstrations today!
Would you like to experience your property design in VR?
Call 020 8531 4441 and speak directly to a member of our team to find out more about our Virtual Property tour services. Alternatively, you can click the “get in touch” button at the top of this page and provide us with more information about your requirements online.