2. Architecture emerges as early market segment for virtual re…

Architecture emerges as early market segment for virtual reality

Several small companies are seeking a niche; many look to Oculus Rift as the game-changer.

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.