This Virtual Reality Real Estate Experience Was Like Stepping Into an Episode of Netflix’s ‘Black Mirror’

Welcome to Real Estate Tech Watch, a monthly column that will explore how the latest technological developments will impact South Florida real estate. I’m Melea VanOstrand and you can reach me at [email protected]

The first thing I thought about after my augmented reality experience at a spacial computing tech company in Miami was, “How am I going to explain what I just experienced to my nearly 80-year-old mother who can barely send an email?”  

The technology that the company, Yupix, offers bridges the gap between how prospective buyers visualize pre-construction projects and completing the purchasing decision process. You don’t just see the blueprints or rendering of the potential luxury condo, you’re actually there.

Think Netflix’s “Black Mirror” episodes Playtest or Striking Vipers, where the characters are immersed inside life-like games. I could see, hear and tour what looked like an already-built luxury condominium.

The featured project at Yupix is a walkthrough of the nearly sold-out E11even Hotel & Residences Miami, a 65-story condominium that will have 375 fully-furnished residences with prices starting at $300,000. The condo will include studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as a limited penthouse collection and two presidential suites. 

After I was given a quick briefing on how to wear the headset that took me into the metareality, I was able to essentially teleport into a building of tomorrow. The entire experience was memorable, but the features that stood out most for me were being able to go inside a swimming pool. My vision was blurry while I was “underwater,” just as it would be if I’d jumped into a pool in real life. I also looked at a fireplace mantle in a bar inside E11even Hotel & Residences Miami, and peered closely at the detail in the woodwork. It looked real.

Rendering of E11even Hotel & Residences in Miami. Courtesy photo Rendering of E11even Hotel & Residences in Miami.

Inside the arena, I was a floating head with two floating hands, but I was able to wash my hands in one of the residence’s bathrooms and turn on the shower. In one of the residences, I walked through the doors onto the patio to see a beautiful view of the ocean while listening to crashing waves. I felt like I was in a scene from the movie “Inception.”

Switching Off the ‘Rational Part of the Brain’

That kind of “wow” factor is important to Alvaro Alesso, co-founder and chief operating officer at Yupix.

“It actually triggers your desire, and then the rational part of the brain is no longer involved. It’s “I want this, I need this,’” said Alesso. 

Alvaro Alesso, COO of YUPIX in Miami. Alvaro Alesso, COO of YUPIX in Miami.

Alesso said over 90% of prospective buyers who take a tour of the luxury condominium are sold by the time their virtual experience is complete.

Spatial computing is designed to eventually replace the internet, Alesso said. 

“With these experiences, you can create different goals. For the real estate industry, we are thinking of how you fix the problems the real estate industry has in the pre-construction industry, because we have the ability to use the technology for you to walk through projects that are yet to be built as if it has already been built,” said Alesso. 

Yupix’s technology is also used during the design stage to identify issues by real estate professionals, including designers, architects and developers, who go into the project to go through and see if any changes need to be made. 

“Sometimes we can surprise them and, in a 3D experience, show them something that wasn’t very clear on the blueprint at the 2D stage. It’s helpful for them to go through these. I believe that they will start using this more and more,” said Alesso. “Yupix is more focused on the end-user, the less-trained user to go through the project and identify if it’s something they’d believe in or not.” 

‘Disruptive’ Technology

Alesso said the biggest challenge is getting people on board with the advanced technology, as some may be slower than others to accept change. 

“It’s a new, disruptive way of communicating things. With something that is out of the ordinary, you have a learning curve,” said Alesso. “You have the early adopters, the people who say, ‘I want to be first,’ and they get to know us. They show up and say, ‘I know what you’re trying to do, I want to be first and I’m willing to pay the price on that.’ ” 

After the early adopters, Alesso said the rest usually start to come on board after a while.

“It just takes one early adopter, then a second and third, and then everybody will follow,” he said.

In the next five to 10 years, Alesso said he believes two-dimensional computing and screens will give way to a more universal version of what Yupix offers. My children are 2 and 6 years old, and Alesso said 3D technology will likely be the norm for them as they grow older.

“It’s going to happen, we don’t know the timeframe for that,” said Alesso. “The technology is there. We’re the cutting edge of this technology, and this is our goal to be there for the next evolution.”

E11EVEN Hotel & Residences Miami is expected to be completed in 2023. As for my mother, I had a tough time describing my tour at Yupix, but what I will tell everyone about my unforgettable experience is:” You absolutely have to experience it for yourself.”

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