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Augmented Reality For Commercial Real Estate What’s That?

Augmented reality has come a long way, and with Layar, it’s about to help commercial real estate innovate in new ways.

Augmented reality has come a long way, and with Layar, it's about to help commercial real estate innovate in new ways.

augmented reality

Augmented Reality and innovation

Just look at this, sure it’s cool and mobile and tech geeky.  Beyond the cool apps that are already emerging.  Why would a commercial real estate broker need to pay any attention to this?  Probably, most are not.  Big Mistake.

Everywhere you look Mobile is the next big thing in real estate. Commercial Real Estate on the other hand seems to not be part of the Mobil equation.  I’ve been looking pretty hard and I haven’t really found much, but maybe I have found one possible solution. 

It’s called Layar.

Here is what I think the technology can do for the Commercial Real Estate business.  Just imagine walking past a downtown office building or any building for that matter holding up your phone and the address pops up.  Tap your phone on the building availability button and scroll to:

  1. What space is available? Is it 2500 sq ft or 10,000 divisible into four two thousand square foot sections?
  2. What type of space or class of space is available Class A, totally tricked out and ready Class B a little older but with some improvements still be quality.  Class C probably needs some major work but the location and terms may warrant a look?  Maybe it is a Flex space with dock access.
  3. Cost of space.  Is it 5-10-20 50 dollars a square foot?
  4. What type of lease terms?  Is that per month, per year.  Triple Net or Total Gross?
  5. Building owner incentives.  Is the owner providing a prospective tenant any dollars or allowances, such as, a $3 dollar allowance for carpet  or interior finish with a $20,000 cap?
  6. What are the costs of utilitie, the utility providers and who are the vendors that service the building?
  7. Is the building Green or LEED certified and are the documents available to see the points earned?
  8. What is the present zoning and what are the allowable uses.  Is there potential for a variance with multi uses?
  9. What are the incentives from Local government for business to relocate to the area?
  10. What type of businesses are in the building now?  Is it predominantly a medical building or is it more diversified, with possible clients or alliances partners?
  11. How does this building compare to the building I occupy now?
  12. How does this property compare to other similar properties in neighborhood?
  13. What are neighborhood amenities-restaurants, parks, etc?
  14. Last and certainly not least.  How about the name contact info and ability to instantly get feed back from or communicate with a leasing representative?

Does this sound a little far fetched Take a look at Paris, France. It is already in use.  Turn off the volume if you want and watch.  The demonstration shows it all.

Why would this not work here?  Is there an invasion of property owner privacy rights?  Are Commercial Real Estate Broker’s reluctant to give the information out because of FEAR?  Is there no need for this in the Commercial Real Estate market place?   Maybe Google thinks there is!

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Written By

Broker/Owner in Lafayette, IN, whose passion is Commercial Real Estate with focus on Technology, Social Media, and Networking.



  1. frank cocilovo

    December 10, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Duke, “Dude” very cool ,informative & relative for todays markets, i think your right on the fear factor after all “MLS” will be gobbled by google lol, thanks for your insight.

    • Duke Long

      December 10, 2009 at 12:03 pm

      CRE is soooo behind in TECH. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Rob Tomlinson

    December 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    I think a lot of the problem, as it always has been with CRE and MLS, is that there is a lot of information that we just don’t want out in the marketplace. FEAR is also the apprehension that the information would be disseminated too widely- letting other tenants in a given building know how low you are willing to go on lease rates nowadays or, more importantly, opening the door a little too wide and inviting a lot of inexperienced agents (hacks) come in and waste our time on bad deals. When it all comes down to it, the most efficient use of our time is exposure of the product to the people that are best able to make deals happen rather than taking a wide open, scatter gun, approach.
    I am a technophile myself, but I can see where the push back comes from….

    • Duke Long

      December 10, 2009 at 6:22 pm

      HMMMMM. I see your point, but I think anyone not seriously interested may not inquire anyway. If everyone has access to the info I still think it’s a win for the building owner. Let the building compete in the market place.If the owner signs two tenants for different terms is the owner suppose to hide that info or just giggle that he screwed the one paying the higher term? As a broker I completely agree with your points from the real estate side. Thanks for your comments and point of view.

  3. Christina B Holmes

    December 10, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Love the article. Just investigating google wave last night. CRE tech is not hitting yet, but ok by me. Case in point showing buyer today Industrial, listing agent mentions alternative property – with iPhone & google earth street view I show buyer that building immediately – great tools. thanks Duke! P.s. Would love the direct link for the Paris example.

  4. Duke Long

    December 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Why is it that the ladies are always on the cutting edge? Great Example!!! The link is

  5. Paula Henry

    December 10, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Duke – I missed your announcement as a member of AG. Welcome! I don’t know a thing about commercial, but can not believe that side of the real estate industry could not benefit from a tech savvy agent/broker. I can’t imagine working without technology. See you at the next BarCamp in January!

  6. Duke Long

    December 10, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    I am soooo much prettier in person.See you there.

  7. Todd Waller

    December 11, 2009 at 8:51 am


    Too cool to see this being touted with regards to CRE! In a CCIM class 3-4 years ago, the instructors were talking about just this kind of thing coming to CRE and how it had the possibility of revolutionizing the industry.

    With regards to the FEAR CRE brokers may have, it feels an awful lot like the period of time where residential listing agents realized that their listing information could be had nearly anywhere there was a computer and internet connection. With the lack of agency in CRE, there is little accountability for the broker to push the information outside their own brokerage, unless the client states/demands a certain marketing campaign.

    Many residential agents’ businesses were built on the foundation of holding the listing information “close to the vest.” And it worked until Al Gore invented the internet… 😉 We all know the rest of the story…this blog is an example of the continuing evolution of technology within real estate.

    The forward thinking CRE owner and broker should be able to see the lessons learned in residential RE and apply them to their own properties and businesses.

    The CRE industry is in a similar cross-roads right now: uniquely positioned with a lack of technological utilization and crumbling credit markets. Smells to me like a shift is about to happen in a big way!

  8. Duke Long

    December 11, 2009 at 8:59 am

    DEEP……. Would like to make some snappy remark,but I just happen to agree with everything you said.

  9. Garrett Krueger

    December 11, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Great post Duke. This sounds like a great app that Costar could build for brokers for all their mobile activities. We havent built a mobile element of our site mainly just because consumers search so infrequently for commercial real estate and when they do, they mainly leverage the web as a information tool before they drive by availabilities. I think it would be really interesting to know how home buyers are using Zillow and Trulia’s mobile apps? Have you heard if they are being used more by the brokerage community or by consumers?

  10. Duke Long

    December 11, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    My feeble attempts at developing this app for CRE is another post altogether.The mobile apps for Zillow have approached 800k downloads according to a Drew Meyers conversation. Consumer or Broker uses are not defined.You would think Co-Star or a similar service would jump at this.Talk about value added.HMMMMM maybe NAR?

  11. Portland Condo Auctions

    December 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    The information wave is coming, and in the future we will be able to walk down a neighborhood and check which homes are for sale (without looking for the tell-tale sign outside) and compare them, all on the clients iPhone. Agents are going to have to keep on the cutting edge, or we are going to be left behind with our clients finding more of their information for themselves.


  12. Duke Long

    December 11, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Adapt or starve. I think your vision will come true!

  13. Joe Loomer

    December 12, 2009 at 8:12 am

    Sent this on to our commercial guys here in Augusta – just so you know, Duke – got a “this video contained a malformed url” message when I tried to check out your Paris example…. Couldn’t open it.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  14. Duke Long

    December 12, 2009 at 9:03 am

  15. Jim Tucker, CCIM

    December 14, 2009 at 4:14 pm


    I think we may share many similar interests in technology and the CRE biz. Google Goggles is clearly a coming technology and will change the way our business is processed. Unique url’s on signs will allow someone to instantly access info on a property, etc. BUT, my concern is that it begins to eliminate a foundational opportunity we as brokers have always relied on….the belly-to-belly interaction that very often leads to business we never imagined when we answered the phone or made the appointment. If someone doesn’t need to call you up for the info, there is the lost opportunity for “contact” that is so important.

    How do we embrace the coming technology in a way that is not counter-intuitive to the way our business operates?

  16. John Hunter

    January 3, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Cool stuff. People have to understand that change is coming whether they like it or not (not just with this data but lots of data). Information is more and more available to those outside of those that previously tightly controlled it. You can hope to frustrate people’s desire to be presented more information or you can adapt to the new realities. I think those that choose to adapt early are going to prosper and those hoping things don’t change are going to suffer.

  17. John

    January 13, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    This isn’t Augmented Reality but check out LoopNet’s new commercial real estate search iPhone app:

  18. CREguy

    February 18, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    If you are interested in mobile access to CRE information, you should check out the LoopNet iPhone app. It has much of what you were listing above – ability to have it show you nearby available for sale properties or for lease spaces, etc.

    – CREGuy

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