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Q&A: AR and digital twins’ impact on real estate (Includes interview)

Both commercial and retail sides of real estate are being transformed by new technologies. As an example, Resonai’s computer vision platform, Vera, takes an understanding of a building’s 3D structure to become the foundation for an entirely new class of augmented reality (AR) applications for the whole building lifecycle.

In terms of why this matters, from indoor navigation and concierge to interactive ads and games – the next decade is set to be impacted with AR and VR in the same way smartphones drastically altered the way people interact with the world. Furthermore, building owners now have access to a powerful AR tool that can be used for maintenance and operations, smart ticketing systems, advertising, among other applications.

Digital Journal caught up with Resonai’s CEO, Emil Alon to learn more.

Digital Journal: How sophisticated is augmented reality becoming?

Emil Alon: Like many emerging technologies, augmented reality (AR) has gone through a cycle. The earliest solutions were not sophisticated and required teams of developers to create a custom application for one specific use case. We saw many examples of this over the last decade as retailers created games and seasonal promotions for consumers, but often, this didn’t present a strong ROI or a long-term solution for larger business issues.

We’re now starting to see AR platforms that are fully-productized and come standard with core features. These solutions offer a range of apps that include front-end consumer experiences, employee training apps, and other tools to make business processes more efficient. .Some of the most sophisticated AR platforms today also employ advanced AI and real-time data analytics to help provide more personalized experiences.

DJ: How is AR disrupting real estate?

Alon: AR is disrupting the way buildings are being designed, built, managed and operated today. Examples of this include smarter maintenance and operations for large commercial spaces to service the variety of issues tenants experience, from a broken light or electrical outlet, to the operation of equipment in a conference room. Through automation and AR navigation, we are seeing significant process improvements in how tenants report technical issues and how technicians are able to repair them. As a result, technicians are more productive, fewer need to be employed to service the issue, and tenant satisfaction ultimately increases.

AR is also being used in the development and management of Smart Buildings, from digital concierges that helps visitors navigate to specific floors and conference rooms, to apps that manage IoT devices such as screens, lighting, HVAC, etc. from a single mobile AR app., The tech is changing the game for the overall operation of buildings today

DJ: What is meant by digital twins in your own words?

Alon:Companies today can create a digital twin, or a 3D representation of a physical space. But there are very few AR platforms on the market that can generate an “intelligent” digital twin, which provides a much higher level of embedded intelligence so that devices and apps can navigate through it, apply logic, and continuously learn from surroundings.

This technology allows building owners and operators to leverage the computing power of the AR cloud to create new user experiences that were previously impossible, gain access to a whole new level of user analytics, and even identify new monetization models from the digital real estate that is created. This high level of accuracy is needed to solve real business issues today.

DJ: What impact is the digital twins concept having on property management?

Alon:Today when we talk about property management, we typically refer to physical real estate. But a paradigm shift is occurring with a new set of technologies, such as AI and AR, that are disrupting the way physical real estate is designed, built, operated and managed. Property owners and operators can use AR to develop an intelligent digital twin, and populate the digital space with engaging and immersive user experiences. They can even collect advanced analytics, control user permissions, and convert their digital assets into new monetization channels that have the potential to outpace those of their physical real estate in the near future.

DJ: What is special about Resonai’s solution, Vera?

Alon:Vera is a fully-productized AR computer vision platform that transforms physical spaces into intelligent digital assets. Its technology imbeds intelligence into a physical space so that any device can navigate through it, apply logic, and continuously learn from the surroundings.

Vera employs very precise and real-time localization and tracking of users within these environments, without the use of any markers. This provides the ability to inject content remotely and access analytics that can be used to personalize content and improve building efficiencies.

Vera is a scalable software platform that leverages existing hardware, and offers a flexible SaaS business model. With Vera, an intelligent digital twin is created once, and then multiple AR applications can be leveraged. Today, companies are using the technology for a range of use cases:

Vera Smart Ticketing & Navigation: increases productivity of repair technicians and lowers cost of building maintenance.
Vera Digital Concierge & Navigation – Streamlines building access controls and gives employees, building tenants and visitors AR navigation to anywhere in a building.

Vera IoT controller- Automatically recognizes, brings up the correct interface, and helps manage and control any IoT device, all from one app.

Vera AR Employee Training & Tutorials – Connects quickly with teams to provide and updated learning & educational content and engaging training experiences at a lower cost.

Vera Analytics & Insights – Collects analytics from interactions in a physical space and photo streams to feed into business systems for greater automation, efficiences, and cost savings.

DJ: How have you tested out the technology?

Alon:Vera has been tested by a range of global companies that use the technology to manage millions of square meters of commercial space today. Clients often run a 30-90 day pilot phase to try one specific Vera application and then quickly move to full deployment to address a variety of business issues they’re experiencing.

Examples of client types include:One of the largest retail wholesale markets in Europe, currently using Vera Smart Ticketing & Navigation to manage repairs and maintenance for millions of square meters of space. Another is one of the largest providers of multi-sensory cinema experiences, using Vera to provide AR gaming and lobby entertainment to engage with consumers, keep them at venues longer and increase sales.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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