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You’d have to have been living under a rock for the last ten years to not notice the rise of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). It seems to be everywhere we look. To the point where now, we can turn our mobile devices into a VR unit and go explore what feels like another dimension.

Years ago, I was at a tradeshow in Munich, Germany, where I was drawn to an exhibition that was showcasing a VR as a tool for the trades. At the time I’d only really seen VR in the movies and I’d never heard of AR (I’ll explain the difference shortly).

I don’t know if it was the technology that captivated me, or staring at the people in a zombie-like trance while they were using it. Either way, it looked cool. Ever since I saw that, I have pondered where the VR/AR world may end up.

The guy I was speaking with at the exhibit was telling me about how they can create environments off a drawing so it can be experienced prior to it actually being developed. It sounded a little far-fetched to be honest, but it was there in front of my eyes. I was more curious as to who’d use it. And back then, who’d pay for it, as it cost a bomb!

What’s the difference between Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)?

Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Unlike traditional user interfaces, VR places the user inside an experience. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them, users are immersed and able to interact with 3D worlds.

If you’ve ever tried VR, you basically step into another world, the minute you place your mask on. Everything you see is a computer-rendered reality and yes, it’s kind of trippy. 

Augmented Reality is an enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (such as a smartphone camera).

A classic example of AR that most of us would be familiar with is a fad that captured the world a few years ago, called Pokemon Go. It’s where you take an actual existing environment and overlay it with a digital render to make it look like it’s there. 

VR Applications

VR is a very effective tool for casting vision. If they say a picture tells a thousand words, then I’d have to say that a VR experience tells a thousand pictures. 

  • Imagine being able to view a home before it’s built
  • What if you could sit in a car that didn’t exist?
  • What if you could go ‘in-store’ shopping from the comfort of your home?

Some of these things might sound creepy, but most of them exist already and we’re only scratching the iceberg. 

AR Applications

AR is extremely useful for things like:

  • Placing virtual furniture into a room
  • Showing what a kitchen bench might look like in a kitchen renovation
  • Adding features to buildings, or homes, etc.

I feel like the trades will benefit a lot for AR. Having the ability to, for example, overlay a set of hydraulic drawings onto an existing building shell would be amazing. 

Imagine how cool it would be if you could show up to the room that you’re supposed to be installing your plumbing stack-work and instead of pulling out the A3 plans and trying to join the dots, you slip on a set of glasses and view it in real time. 

These sorts of things are not too far off. In fact, the technology is there, it’s just a matter now of making it available to everyday consumers. 

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In this podcast

In this podcast, I’m joined by Brooke from Champagne Soda in Melbourne, Australia. 

Champagne Soda uses virtual reality to exhibit and showcase properties that are still in the planning stages to potential investors and the like. They use their amazing technology to design apartments and homes so that people can put a headset on and actually walk through a property that doesn’t even exist yet. 

Why is that useful?

Well, for a developer, or a real estate company, VR is an amazing tool that can help them sell properties off-plan. That cash flow could help self fund the developments which could potentially lower their lending exposure with banks and the like. It’s genius.

It was great having Brooke on the show to shed some light on where this technology is currently at and where it’s heading. We’ll be seeing a lot more VR and AR emerge in the years to come. It would be fair to say that as tradespeople, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes part of our everyday tool kit. 

Enjoy the podcast. 

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Matt Jones
Founder at The Site Shed
I'm the facilitator here at The Site Shed. My passion lies in doing anything that helps trade based organisations grow. My other company, Tradie Web Guys, helps tradespeople stand out online, while The Site Shed is all about education and resources.
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