How that Facebook Guy Will Change Our Industry…And More

Imagine driving up to a building, holding up your phone and being able to see the stacking plan, ownership information, asking rental rates and any other information typically available. The owner could even put a sign on the building with a tenant’s logo or name before a space tour.

Next, imagine when you walk into that building, a “note” on the directory welcoming you to the building that only you can see. Then, you walk into the available space and you would see exactly what your space could look like, with your furniture, color scheme and branding. Except none of it exists outside of your phone!

Once your lease is signed, the architect would then design the space as usual, but instead of handing over just a typical set of plans to the contractor, an augmented reality version would be created so they could see what they are building before it actually exists.

According to Mark Zuckerberg, this could happen sooner than you might think.  Earlier this week, Zuckerberg gave us an important message at Facebook’s F8 conference for developers. I am sure not anyone in our industry was paying attention and even those who tuned in might have stopped listening during his opening slew of jokes comparing his F8 conference to The Fast and the Furious 8.

Zuckerberg said, if you take one thing away from his talk, it’s “We’re making the camera the first augmented reality platform.”

His 21-minute speech focused solely on augmented reality and bad jokes notwithstanding, was fascinating. He explained that there are three important use cases:

-          Display information

-          Add digital objects

-          Enhance existing objects

I can think of countless ways this can be implemented in real estate in addition to the scenario at the beginning of this post.

Zuckerberg showed a blank wall in Facebook’s headquarters where they designed a 3-D art installation that only exists in augmented reality. Employees can stand in front of the wall and see the art through the cameras on their phones. Apparently, it looks a bit funny to see people standing in front of a blank wall staring, but in the future, the art can be customized based on the person’s tastes.

The possibilities are truly endless and we are just getting started. Augmented reality can help us connect and share experiences with people who aren’t in the same place. You can play chess with someone, both seeing the same board as if it was in front of you. He mentioned watching TV with a $1 app, rather than a $500 piece of hardware.   

Zuckerberg stated that some people think we are using primitive tools because we prefer them, but he challenged that notion stating what can also be said about CRE tech:

We are early in the game to create better tools.

Facebook starts the closed beta this week for AR. Soon, they will open up to all programmers to create a universe that will match anyone’s imagination. Do you think he’s wrong? If you do, did you also disagree with my last post about driverless cars?

In my opinion, the two biggest disruptors of the real estate industry in the next ten years will be virtual/augmented reality and driverless cars, and I will take bets from anyone who thinks I’m wrong.

Imagine a world where you can provide your clients with a full building tour without leaving the office.  It’s coming….sooner than you might think.