Technologies used in gaming find new life in CRE.
Virtual—the wrong term. Augmented is more like it. Vision, that is. Respectively known as VR and AR, the idea is often associated with games and other light uses, but it has potential in many industries, including commercial real estate, through such applications as navigation, enhanced information for maintenance personnel, space planning, or instructions for people on how to use facilities.
“One of the first applications that get deployed off our platform are those that help [buildings] save money in operations by automating maintenance and repairs with more data to inform their maintenance plan,” Gloria Gavin, chief business officer of AI and computer vision vendor Resonai, tells GlobeSt.com. For example, the company product lines have the ability to let landlords remotely identify maintenance requirements and determine the actions to be taken without having to first send someone to the location. Users can generate maintenance requests along with a photo. The technician then gets directions to and documentation for that spot.
More broadly in AR, a mobile device or specialty headwear can in some applications superimpose maintenance documentation while someone is undertaking a repair. The right instructions and diagrams can appear in their field of vision without having to refer to paper, making for more efficient work.
Gavin points to office worker applications, like how to book and then use services and amenities. “Maybe you’re new to the building or haven’t used the coffee machine,” she offers as an example. “When they get off the train stations, they know about the retail and food changes.”
Another possibility is contactless experiences. “Instead of having to interact with reception and security staff, you can send someone a code” that validates them and gets them to where they’re supposed to go, Gavin adds.
There are also direct benefits for the building owner or operator. One is data collection. A user application “sets you up to engage with your tenant and get feedback from them,” Gavin says. “Once you have this app, we’re collecting aggregate data. We understand how office workers are engaging with the traffic flow and heat maps, and what entrances they’re using.” That can help strategic planning of amenities placement, building security, and more.
Getting CRE to take up new technologies, especially in this area, can be a challenge. “In the early days of AR and VR and mixed reality, there were a lot of kind of expensive one-off experiences out there, a lot of them in the retail space or entertainment space,” Gavin explains. “They didn’t all show ROI. People got a little gun shy. More recently, though, AR and computer vision have come a long way.” The way for CRE professionals to approach it is to start small, perhaps with one building or even one part of a building and find a concrete application that can not only promise a return on investment but provide data for analysis that makes it possible to see if the benefit actually is delivered, then expand as makes economic and strategic sense.
Source: “Reality Goes Virtual in CRE“