SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE
Stepping into a personal virtual reality house tour at any time of day from the comfort of your own living room is the holy grail of tech integration with real estate. We’ve already talked about video tours in our review of Google Glass, but a fully immersive VR tour is miles past even the highest quality video streaming. With VR tech continuing to develop it’s almost time to make that vision a reality.
So far the tools of realizing our VR dreams, such as the Oculus Rift, carry price tags heavy enough to make them about as feasible as the Star Trek holodeck. To be truly workable in real estate, VR needs to be cheap to use, easy to integrate, and quick to set up. In this new realm of ultra high-tech convenience-based VR, Google has decided to take a radical step in the low-tech direction with Google Cardboard. Yes… cardboard. For as little as 15$ for a set of lenses and a bit of cardboard Google is aiming to let anyone turn their smartphone into a virtual reality headset. A variety of producers from DODOCase, Zaak, and even Mattel have come out with a wide variety of Cardboard options which all integrate any smartphone with screens up to 6”.
On paper (or cardboard rather) Google Cardboard sounds far from the norm for us tech junkies. We want aluminum processors, HD screens, and sexy cutting edge hardware. Not the box we get oranges in. However, a closer look shows that Google is aiming Cardboard directly at us by integrating our smartphones effortlessly into approachable virtual reality. Rather than having an entirely new device that takes familiarization and a long-term integration process, Google Cardboard can be used right away. This is the complete opposite of Google’s last feature on this blog, Google Glass, and solves a lot of the gripes I had with that product. Google Cardboard hits all my big "YES!" boxes for customization, scalability, and easy integration. This is an inspired piece for reminding me as an innovation lover that great technology isn't limited to hi-tech.
WHY DO I CARE?
With Google’s full support and YouTube already on board, Google Cardboard is already a big leap ahead of competitors. Google has also launched this product alongside Google Jump a 16-camera VR recording tool that is another tool for recording true VR for use with Google Cardboard. A simple integration of Skype, Facetime, or any other (preferably all) popular video chat program with Google Cardboard would make virtual reality open houses and tours a practical reality overnight. The sky is the limit when it comes to possibilities for this technology. Anything from walking tours around neighborhoods, guided home tours, drop-in VR open houses and more. When it comes to delivering high-quality convenient remote real estate services to clients this technology has incredible potential. I certainly had a great time trying out Google Cardboard and can't wait to see it adopted!
As always, please reach out at any time to chat about our tech explorations and, of course, all things real estate.