This weekend, while reading the “paper” (i.e. Flipboard via an iPad), I came across an interesting TechCrunch article, titled “Real Estate Will Always Be The Best Investment: Time To Augment It”. The gist of this article is about answering the question, “what is the next dimension of real estate and how can it be most opportunistically exploited?” The answer laid out in this article is that Augmented Reality will be that real estate game changer enabling users to find and visualize what might be in the context of what is. However, I think the real answer goes a lot deeper than that. And I believe Infrastructure Modeler is the shovel, drill, or backhoe that will help us to dig deeper.
If you’ve ever seen a rendering of a real estate plan, you would recognize right away that A) these renderings are really NOT models at all but are simply 2D-ish artist renderings that do little to tell a story outside of the context of the immediate surroundings; and B) the renderings have NO geographic context other than to name more or less where something may exist on a map. Just take a look at a current example, like the planned development of the new 49ers stadium being developed in Santa Clara, California. Looking at some of the images here, can you really tell where this is going, what it’s going to look like within its surroundings, or how it’s going to be affected by the environment, like shadows? Nope. In other words, to get to something more realistic, maybe augmented reality is not the answer, but merely an outcome; maybe geospatially-correct/aware models are the answer and the means to get to augmented reality. In fact, I would venture a guess that even if there were a model available for something like this, given its size, complexity, and the possibility to truly explore it from the inside-out, it might be easier to simply do so from the web or 3D visualization on a tablet first.
Using this as an example (plus the need to put together a simple but flashy demo for another real estate focused group, here at Autodesk) I decided to show how Infrastructure Modeler could easily fit the bill as the “next dimension of real estate” tool, that would enable all of the other cool things, like augmented reality, to happen.
To create this video, I did what Infrastructure Modeler does best, I imported a model, in this case a model of a Starbucks coffee shop, and placed it in context of the city. While this is a super simple example, what seems to be compelling to the audience requesting this demo is that they can immediately see where the model is in context as well as how it will affect other stuff (technical term) around it and will be affected by other stuff. In other words, with this simple use case, Infrastructure Modeler has already proven that it’s time to change the game. Augmented reality might be part of the game, but the models and geography come first.