VR and Realty

What about applying all we’re seeing with VR glasses to the realty trade? Not local realty, but long-distance realty. Really!

I have friends who are considering to move to a new city, several time zones away. They want to go to visit, to check all the neighborhoods, before choosing one in which to shop for a new home. Since they can’t afford to visit all the neighborhoods (it’s a good-sized city), they have to limit their search.

What if there were a local business in that city — an enterprising small businessperson — who had been engaged by a company to conduct tours around town? The tour guide would provide the transportation, and deliver a lovely soliloquy to one or more guests as he drove by house after house, strip mall after strip mall, elementary school after … Well, you get the idea? And what if that tour were conducted remotely, using a high-bandwidth, low-latency delivery audio-video system, to customers anywhere in the world?

The connections could be peer-to-peer, since the A/V content would be live to each guest. The 360′ cameras on the host’s actual vehicle could capture surround scenery, and deliver an appropriate view to each participant. As long as no one moved their head too quickly, the scene could be very realistic and no motion sickness. (The toughest computer challenge might be tracking all people’s views as the real vehicle rounded a corner, such as an intersection.)

As the tour progressed — along a predetermined route (guests would sign up online for one of a variety of scheduled tours) — there could be stops at points of interest. Historical points. Malls (maybe even a virtual mall tour… “Keep your hands and feet inside the bus at all times!”) Schools! Imagine each guest family filling in a form online: which schools are of interest to you? which grades? do you and your children have any special needs? The “tour bus” could stop outside, while individual cameras at the desks of various teachers or administrators could convey one-on-one meetings. These could give parents a chance to ask individual questions, all from their own homes. Of course, everything would have to be carefully choreographed, so no one would be left off the bus as it departs!

At the end of the tour, the bus stops and unloads all the guests at one of the local parks. Each guest chooses a virtual reality weapon (swords, bludgeons and the like piled onto tables in front of them). No sooner have they all put on armor and raised their blades when they are attacked by awe-inspiring but well-meaning dragons, ogres, orcs, etc. All guests get a 5 minute workout, then depart happily.

And so, with a ‘per-tour’ plan or a subscription plan, the tour company rakes in the cash. The local franchise driver gets a cut. And the schools (and realtors) get happy customers!