The new virtual reality (VR) devices coming to the market are products in search of an application. Sure, VR is undeniably cool, but the experience can get boring if there’s no purpose attached to it, and gaming is not a surefire way to make money. Neither is architecture, but companies drawn to the cool factor of VR and augmented reality (AR) are looking at creating virtual walk-throughs as a value-add for architectural design or for real estate.
Avant is a Sarasota startup founded by Frank Elge and Greg Oquera. Both have backgrounds in real estate and some technology experience. Elge is guiding development; Orquera is putting deals together. He was with Century 21 in France, where he used the Avant app to help put together a deal for 33 lots near Paris. The Avant system using the Oculus Rift will enable customers to stroll through a property without ever leaving their chair.
The Avant system uses CAD files to create a 3D model, so obviously, price for the service depends on whether CAD drawings are available for the house and, better yet, whether 3D models are available for the house. It’s still relatively rare for 3D models to be supplied with an architectural design. The company tells reporters the service for creating 3D models can run about $3,000 to $5,000 for a single-family house.
There are, in fact, plenty of applications looking at VR glasses to give a fairly common use of 3D models a little more pizzazz.
Arch Virtual is a team headed by Jon Brouchoud that creates real-time virtual experiences. Working with the Panoptic Group, Arch Virtual developed a 3D walk-through of a property in Chicago. The walk-through can be downloaded and played as a standalone app, or it enables a walk-through to be embedded in a website. Arch Virtual also developed a version compatible with the Oculus Rift system, which is downloaded as a standalone app.