DIRTT – Doing It Right This Time

We investigate all sorts of real estate technologies here in CRT Labs, and recently we were able to stop by the Chicago offices of DIRTT Environmental Solutions. DIRTT, an acronym meaning “Doing It Right This Time,” is a company that is trying to revolutionize how we solve interior environmental solutions. DIRTT’s sophisticated technology turns 2D architectural drawings into 3D models as well as AR/VR landscapes, allowing clients to really visualize themselves in their newly designed spaces.

Before we check out DIRTT’s technology (presented in a Facebook Live Office Hours tour of their Chicago space), let’s talk a bit about AR, VR, and what they bring to the real estate field. First, we need to define the terms and talk about how they are the same – and how they are different. Augmented Reality (AR) is a live view (usually through a phone) of the world around you with overlays of digital information. This can take many forms, from the playful way Pokémon Go uses the phone camera to allow you to “catch” Pokémon in the real world, or in a more serious way through digital information displayed about a location while you’re there. Think of the second example as a digital visual version of the old school museum tour headsets you might rent while you’re at an art gallery. In real estate, AR can be used to not only enhance interior and exterior design choices in the building and remodeling process, but offers a fresh way to display listing information while at the home itself. There are dozens of applications for augmented real estate-specific apps (as showcased late last year in the New York Times), with more popping up every day. Augmented reality apps could become vital to the real estate market, especially as computer rendering techniques begin to get more sophisticated and start to look more like “real” furniture. Virtual reality (VR), unlike its augmented counterpart, creates (and/or recreates) entire environments with completely digital techniques. It often requires specialized hardware, which has grown and changed over the past two decades. Recently, a company called Oculus has become the frontrunner in the space, most notably due to their acquisition by Facebook. VR’s main output has been in the video gaming sphere, but just like augmented reality, the possibilities for real estate are currently endless, especially in the design/construction fields. Having a hard time envisioning a space after a remodel? Strap on an Oculus Rift and immerse yourself in the redesign.

VR and AR are very similar – and can even work together, as seen in our Facebook Live at DIRTT. Using augmented reality’s focus on overlapping information over real world images, and VR’s creation of entire environments, DIRTT is rethinking how we look at the built environment. To learn more about how AR/VR blend together at DIRTT, check out our Facebook Live Office Hours below.

CRT Labs Office Hours: DIRTT from CRTLabs on Vimeo.

To find out more about companies making waves in real estate technology, like our Facebook page and stay tuned for more Facebook Live Office Hours. Is there a tech company you’d be interested in learning more about? Contact us and let us know about them – and we might even feature them on a future Facebook Live!

Updated for 2018: Smart Home Glossary (and how you can help us with our FAQ!)

The smart home market is an ever-evolving field, and part of our job at CRT Labs is to keep pace with technology in order to get REALTORS® and consumers up-to-date information about what’s latest, what’s greatest – and even what might be outdated. Two of our resources, a Smart Home Glossary and Smart Home/IoT FAQ, serve as one-stop shops with quick information about smart products, how they work, and some buzzwords you might hear in the industry. I recently updated the glossary to reflect the changing smart home market, adding entries for sensors (which are becoming ubiquitous in the field) and voice assistants.

With that in mind, I wanted to reach out to everyone when it comes to updating our Smart Home/IoT FAQ. This will be updated over the coming weeks, but I wanted to extend the opportunity for everyone to ask their burning smart home questions – some might even be included in the FAQ! What questions do you, or your clients, have about smart homes, and how can CRT Labs answer them for you? Comment on this post, shoot us an email, or tweet us with any of your smart home questions. And for lots more smart home information, check out our Smart Home Simplified series, which breaks down the different types of smart home devices you’re likely to encounter in the wild and discusses the pros and cons of each. You can even print out the Simplified pamphlets to use as educational handouts in your own business!