New in Tech: “Virtual Twin” Buildings Take 3D Models to the Next Level

Web3 (Web 3.0), the next-generation internet, is already keen on houses. Let’s consider a home’s digital twin in the 3D internet world known as the metaverse.

Three-dimensional models of homes are among the real estate world’s leading-edge tools. According to the Web3 tech firm Matterport, “Digital twin technology has found a natural home in the real estate industry. Residential agents are using virtual models to promote listings and more easily find motivated buyers…”

What’s the point of coming up with a digital twin, you ask? Here are several:

1. Because Virtual Open Houses and Walk-Throughs Are So Useful and Convenient.

Imagine being able to just walk into a listed house, townhome, or condo any time you want. Day or night. From any place in the world. No matter if it is under construction or renovations.

Your real estate pro gives you the online link. Click, and be transported to the digital twin — a perfectly scanned replica of the real space.

To start, as Matterport explains, you can zoom out to view the space as though it were a desktop model of the home.

Next, zoom in. You’re inside. You have a 360-degree view of every nook and cranny. You move through halls, rooms, and closet spaces. You can even check out what kind of appliances and heating/cooling systems are in the home, or click to measure any given surface. You can look at faucets, tiling…any aspect of the interior design and amenities. And any time you wish, you can go right back in and refresh your memory of the details.

2. Because Touring a Virtual Replica Is a Trip!

We all know staging homes for sale is tedious and costly work.  But with virtual staging in a digital twin, sellers and their agents can slash costs, and have fun with easily edited virtual staging. This also releases the seller from having to open the home to a string of in-person tours.  

Then there are the more exotic experiences. Remember when ONE Sotheby’s International Realty marketed a house and its digital twin? Blockchain technology enables metaverse homeowners to host virtual get-togethers, performances, and tours. And ONE Sotheby’s real-life Miami mansion could bring people from any corner of the world into the home for virtual gatherings.

So, for people who are really excited to show off their homes, creating a metaverse copy could be fun. No wonder luxury companies are excited to advance this trend.

Are your workmates and boss fun, too? That’s another matter. But digital twin touring even keeps you in touch with your workplace if you plan to work at home. Offices are starting to create digital twins on the leading metaverse platforms. This allows for a digital style of a hybrid experience of connections to colleagues. Some work-from home people do crave these interactions, and a digital twin fit the need.

3. Because Making a Building’s Virtual Twin Is Such a Cool Process.

People are creating digital twins by hiring a professional service to scan their interiors with special, high-tech 3D cameras. Pro teams can create digital twins, and easily describe and label them for viewers. When an upgrade is done, that area can be rescanned so the digital twin is updated.

Some people want a more DIY approach. So they subscribe to a platform and scan their own spaces — using their own smartphones.

Either way, once the scanning is done, anyone with the link can go through the home or office, and feel like they are physically there.  

4. To Empower Planners and Managers and Even Make Buildings More Climate-Friendly

For building planners and managers, a digital twin takes the 3D model to the next level. Digital twins can even link smart-home technology to give managers continuing insight into a building’s routine or extra upkeep needs.

Platforms like Matterport offer any-time access to buildings. People can now inspect, measure, and oversee their properties with precision from remote locations.

We can now predict the time and cost of replacing any system in the building. We can sense the presence of people and the times they’re active. Digital building twins can help us plan the best use of home energy — resulting in lower emissions.

Expect to Hear More About Digital Twins as Web3 Builds Out.

Remember last year when we talked about Habitat for Humanity’s 3D building methods for affordable housing? Now, this famously helpful building group is using digital twins. And no wonder. The new tech lets planners market properties efficiently, ensure ADA compliance, and lower building costs.

We’ll be hearing a lot more about this technology as the Web3 — home of 3D realities and the metaverse — builds out.  

Supporting References

Raymond Fang for In the Press – Virtual Realty; Tokenisation, Blockchain, Metaverse and Digital Twins (IPE Real Assets) (Mar. 1, 2023).

Kristi Waterworth for The Motley Fool via Three Reasons Real Estate Investors Should Build Digital Twins in the Metaverse (Apr. 25, 2022). 

And as linked.

Photo credit: Alena Darmel and Shvets Production, via Pexels.