Over the past couple of years, you’ve no doubt seen some pretty cool applications and predictions for virtual reality (VR) technology. But if you’re looking for one that hits close to home, consider that VR is now being used as part of the initial consultation phase on residential designs and renovations.
Virtual Reality Applications In Home Design
There have been many advancements over the years in the architecture and interior design spaces, but a disconnect has always remained between designer and homeowner. Designers have a way of seeing something and can make sense of basic two- and three-dimensional drawings. However, someone with an untrained eye might find it challenging to visualize how a design will actually look when it comes to fruition.
But what if homeowners could actually see what architects and designers are visualizing in their heads? What if a homeowner could look around and experience a room as it would appear upon completion? Imagine how many issues could be avoided ahead of time.
Enter VR. [pullquote]There’s a growing trend in home design and it involves the use of virtual reality technology to view renovations and architectural designs as part of the initial consultation phase.[/pullquote] This is something Tony Younan, Founder of Crystal Bathrooms, is seeing more and more in his niche.
“There’s just something natural about being able to look around and focus in on specific elements in a three-dimensional environment,” says Carlene Duffy. “It’s something that can’t be mimicked by a picture, software, or even a video walkthrough on a computer.”
But it’s not just luxury designers who are starting to use VR. Even big box retailers, such as Lowe’s, are getting in on the action. In March of this year, the home improvement company launched a virtual reality experience in one of its Massachusetts stores. Customers were allowed to put on a VR headset, hold an HTC Vive hand controller, and simulate the mixing of mortar and placing tile.
“Virtual reality just happens to be the best way to give people what they want, when they want it,” says Kyle Nel, director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs. “This is meant to be available to the entire country and Canada, not just those on the bleeding, cutting edge of tech.”
While this was just a temporary experiment, Lowe’s believes that VR could eventually be used in a variety of ways – from helping people learn how to do their own home improvement projects to viewing different designs in their own living spaces.
VR is also being used in property management and real estate sales. In Seattle, a developer recently opened a showroom where interested buyers could take a virtual tour of the 24-story condo building months before it was completed. Many people even purchased before touring.
“It allows people to get a better feel for the building and whether it’s a good fit for them,” says Stephen Fina of Red Propeller, a real estate marketing firm.
The cost of using virtual reality is actually fairly affordable, especially considering that the expense is often passed along to the client. For a designer or builder to start using VR, the cost usually starts at $4,000 for the software and hardware and another $600 for a good quality pair of goggles.
Rapid Advancements Expected
We’re still in the early years of VR technology and you can expect to see rapid advancements in the months to come. As issues are ironed out and consumers become more familiar with the technology, it’s likely that VR will become more commonplace – and that’s good news for everyone involved.
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