Augmented Reality's Impact On Commercial Real Estate

Jennifer Horowitz

Pokemon Go may be all the rage with gamers, but what does Nintendo’s popular game have to do with commercial real estate?

Pokemon Go is a location-based augmented reality (AR) game. This year, a completely new impact coming from AR has hit the commercial real estate industry.

The combination of augmented and virtual reality gives Pokemon Go the ability to trigger a new commercial real estate trend: driving potential consumers to actual locations. Pokemon Go is a strong tool for businesses and retail that could drive engagement and benefit other areas of commercial real estate.

The emerging area of augmented realtiy is predicted to develop into a $80 billion market by 2025, according to the CBRE’s July report. “Augmented reality has the ability to merge the consumer’s current experience of online and in-store shopping,” explained Julie Whelan, head of occupier research for CBRE. “Both on their own have limitations, but blending them together gives the consumer a powerful in-store experience that could continue to sustain the bricks-and-mortar segment of retail.” 

Whelan added, “Someday it is not beyond the realm of possibility to see sophisticated augmented reality used to replace window displays and store signage; perhaps even tailored to passing-by consumers.”

According to CBRE, real estate companies can also add elements of augmented reality to their marketing, bringing otherwise static flat brochures to life and creating a virtual pop-up book that allows the user to interact with the property through 3D images and simply click a virtual button to contact the company.

Pokémon GO has doubled the value of Nintendo (which developed the game together with the Pokémon Company and Niantic) since it was released on July 6, adding $20 billion to the company’s market cap in less than a month, and has far outpaced other mobile-device games in terms of active users, retention rates, and revenue.

CBRE said, “DHL and Ricoh recently carried out a successful augmented reality pilot in a warehouse in the Netherlands that proved successful in enhancing time efficiency and error reduction.” With AR usage growing, it is also likely data centers will be able to benefit.

“With this technology, an architect or designer can bring their vision to life and share it with consumers,” Whelan noted. “The power that this will give to marketing of development and construction firms is immense.” 

Still, cautionary tales remain associated with Pokemon Go and AR technology. For example, building owners and managers must consider safety concerns and ensure that security measures are in place. “A common concern about Pokémon GO is physical security, as the game may encourage players to trespass on private property, thus posing a risk not only to property and business owners that don’t welcome the general public, but to the players themselves,” Whelan said.

For more insight on AR technology, see Concrete Steps Toward Virtual And Augmented Reality In The Enterprise.


Jennifer Horowitz

About Jennifer Horowitz

Jennifer Horowitz is a management consultant and journalist with over 15 years of experience working in the technology, financial, hospitality, real estate, healthcare, manufacturing, not for profit, and retail sectors. She specializes in the field of analytics, offering management consulting serving global clients from midsize to large-scale organizations. Within the field of analytics, she helps higher-level organizations define their metrics strategies, create concepts, define problems, conduct analysis, problem solve, and execute.