Why Apple’s VR Headset Won’t Change the Real Estate Industry

The images shows an illustration of a human being wearing a vr headset.

The rumors around the Apple of our tech eye and their first ever VR headset have been circulating for years. But even if they manage to revolutionize the way we use VR/AR headsets, we won’t be buying apartments with a product on our head anytime soon. At least according to Andreas Landgren, founder of the visualization company TMRW.

There’s a saying coined by the Stanford computer scientist, Roy Amara, that goes: “We tend to overestimate the impact of a new technology in the short-term and underestimate the effect in the long run”. A classic example of this is the internet, one in which the early dreams led to the dot-com bubble, when in fact we now see these crazy visions actually come true.

Another case of this phenomenon is VR headsets. When they were launched a few years ago, the visionaries eagerly painted scenarios of people ”walking” around in virtual homes with a smile on their face. This is the future of property showcases, bring it on! If you do a Google image search and type in ”real estate VR headset”, you’ll see what I mean.

A few years wiser and a few perspectives richer, we’re bound to say that the VR revolution did not take place — at least not the one based on everyone having a VR headset lying around in their living room.

It’s reasonable to assume that ultimately virtual reality and augmented reality technologies will have a major impact on how we live our lives, but for the time being there’s another innovation that’s more urgent for us to relate to, namely the mobile.

We live in a world in which the most important technological gadget in our lives is our mobile phone. This is surely a statement many would agree on, but unfortunately not everyone has a digital strategy based upon this very reality. All too often, I come across digital products that technically do work on mobile, but have primarily been designed with another user in mind: one in front of a computer. The result, accordingly, is bad mobile UX.

To optimize the user experience for multiple types of technical devices and different screen sizes requires a considerable investment, which is why it’s of even greater importance to carefully think through which user experience should be the prioritized one.

Even though the VR headset didn’t become the success for the real estate industry that many predicted, it doesn’t mean that virtual home tours are a flop. Quite the opposite, property developers around the world now allow potential buyers to virtually visit real estates without even leaving their homes. A highly appreciated service that I believe is here to stay.

As a true techie, I’m always looking forward to Apple’s next product launch. This time it’ll be especially interesting to see if they accomplish the impressive feat of revolutionizing VR/AR headsets and disrupting the existing market. However, if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that 2022 is not the year we buy homes with an Apple product on our heads.

Andreas Landgren — Founder of TMRW
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