The adoption of virtual reality in commercial real estate is changing the way buildings/units are designed, marketed, leased and sold.

International Data Corporation reports worldwide revenues for the augmented reality and virtual reality market will grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020.

Rami Kalla, founder of Point in Time Studios, a local video production studio with a focus on virtual reality, predicts the use of virtual reality will become more normalized and expected within the industry.

AZRE: When did virtual reality start to make its presence known in the CRE industry?

Rami Kalla: In 2015, the commercial real estate industry took a leap forward and started using virtual reality to show off different projects. This year, the use of VR has become more widespread in commercial real estate as more companies have started to adopt VR into their practices.

AZRE: How is VR being used in CRE?

RK: Virtual reality is a great tool that lets the stakeholders experience what it would be like to occupy that real estate, especially if the building is still under construction. Another important tool of VR is its ability to transport a viewer anywhere in the world. This is especially useful to parties who are out of state or overseas, expanding the buildings’ potential market.

AZRE: Why is VR worth keeping an eye on?

RK: The industry may see a shift in their go-to marketing materials, from sketches and miniature 3-D models to complete VR experiences.

AZRE: Who are prominent VR users today? 

RK: Two leading figures using VR for commercial real estate are Sage Realty Corporation and developer Macerich. They have primarily been using VR through virtual tours to enhance a building’s impact for stakeholders and to show off the early stages of their projects that are under construction.  

AZRE: How much does a standard VR experience cost?

RK: The cost for having VR as a commercial marketing tool can range from $20,000 to over hundreds of thousands of dollars. The scope of the work has the largest impact on the price.