The big news of the week is that Facebook has bought the Virtual Reality headset maker Oculus Rift. It’s a bit of a surprising move but many are saying it could turn out to be similar to when Google bought Android. There certainly seems to be possible synergies between a VR device and a company that knows all about our virtual presence.
But the part that interests me is what this deal could mean to CRE as Facebook moves Oculus away from pure gaming. Facebook is big into understanding where people go and how they interact. They have been really pushing the location focused data forward to better understand how geography plays a role in people’s lives.
Think of what can happen if you are a broker looking to explore your market – think of standing on a virtual street corner with a Google Street View layer with 3D buildings but instant logos on the floors that are occupied, stars on top of buildings with less than 50% occupancy, flip your hand and receive a heat map showing rental rates around you, make most of the buildings disappear and suddenly see only 4 star restaurants as judged on Yelp.
Talk about taking market tours to the next level! You can show a client what Boise looks like from the comfort of their Atlanta offices.
Now take that concept and apply it to 3D space planning of new buildings. Want to give a client a real sense of what their new office could look like? Don’t just show them a video of their potential space – let them walk through it, see the textures, walk up to the window and REALLY see the view, let them meander in their own future office. Think that could help close a deal?
Facebook has the incentive to move Oculus in those directions and away from a pure gaming environment. Love em or not, Facebook is a data and services company not unlike Google. They don’t have the best platform today to make this a reality yet, but it’s certainly where they want to go. Facebook wants to be Google and this gives them the ability to do that.