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  • Chris Seher

Different “Realities” for CRE, Part 1

With the rapid adoption and expansion of virtual reality (VR) in the real estate market, the influx of new terms corresponding to today’s technology have some of our heads spinning (e.g. VR, 360, AR, MR, and now XR). Today we will clarify what these acronyms stand for and how they relate to each other. Our next post will discuss how each of them can be used in commercial real estate.

Virtual Reality (VR)

In a VR experience the user can freely look and move around in a completely computer-generated scene. This is referred to as 6 Degrees of Freedom (6 DOF). Computer-generated scenes allow the viewer to explore and interact with properties that are in the design or construction phases (before photos can be taken) and can be dynamically customized… which is ideal for pre-leasing or pre-sales.


Based on 360-degree photos, rendered images, and videos, these experiences are a subset of VR but is not true VR. These experiences allow the user to look in any direction, but not freely move in any direction or interact with anything. Due to its low cost to create, ease to distribute, and viewability on all devices it has become the most commonly used form of “VR” in the real estate market.

Augmented Reality (AR)

Provides the user with an experience of viewing the real-world around them with a “layer” of “augmented” (or added) content placed on top of their view. An example of this would be the ability to look at a building through a tablet or smartphone and have information about it and the surrounding area dynamically display on the screen.

Although Pokémon Go is the predominate user experience that brought AR to the masses, Apple, Google, and others are rapidly developing hardware and software technologies that allows the cost effective creation of AR content and applications. For example, see this video for a demonstration of Apple’s latest “iPad and iPhone” based AR Kit 2 technology and experience.

Mixed Reality (MR)

MR greatly extends the level of integration of virtual content and the real-world to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact with each other in real-time. In the scenes depicted below, the virtual beach ball in the MR scene not only looks like it is part of the real world (with appropriate lighting and shadows), but also follows the laws of physics… and when “kicked” it would bounce off the walls and furniture as if the ball was in the real world.

​​Extended Reality (XR)

You can think of this latest classification as an over-arching umbrella that simply includes all forms of “Extended Reality” (VR, 360, AR, and MR).

To learn how to best apply each form of “Extended Reality” (XR) for CRE, see the upcoming Part 2 of this topic.

Try a risk-free demonstration to see how Pix-VR can give your business the edge it needs to compete in the modern market.

The Pix VR Team

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