COVID-19 Can’t Get You in VR

If person sneezes in VR and no one's there to hear do you get COVID19?

March 20, 2020

To go outside or to not go outside… that is an irrelevant question now. VR is here and viable through the Oculus, Samsung Gear, and Google Daydream headsets. People are stuck home for the next few weeks and for the next few months people will be resistant to meet in person. This is good and bad news. Good news because we need to slow down COVID-19’s spread so our hospitals don’t become overrun. Bad news because real estate agents can’t show apartments, resorts can’t host guests, and business partners can’t sit next to each other without the risk of spreading the virus. These physical barriers can be overcome through Virtual Technology.

The most simple use case is the real estate industry. Virtual tours have been in use in the industry for years, but real estate agents have been resistant to adopt the technology. Outside of the cost associated with producing the virtual tours, real estate agents want to shake the hands of potential buyers. Each buyer is a potential seller. This is one of the basic channels for agents to find their next customer as well as secure their current commission. At least for the next few months this channel will be disrupted by the current outbreak so we can try to fill in these needed interactions virtually.

Right now I’m all about Aframe! It’s technically a HTML VR framework but I’ve adopted it to produce tours. Similar to React 360 it allows you to add HTML elements to your 360 content to make it interactive. With its asset management system and integration with three.js’s cache, content delivery has become really simple. You can load your content at the beginning. By customizing your timeouts and loading screens, you can make the experience feel a little more comfortable. After everything has loaded, your interactions feel seamless. The added benefit of this framework is that building interactive elements is relatively simple. Check out this walking tour I made for Tampere Finland as a demo. You can insert custom text, images, videos and audio to make your tour a true VR experience when opened with a VR Headset.

Thanks for Reading!

Wes


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