Veterans United Offers Homebuyers Tours With Google Glass

Sarah Hill wears the first generation of Google Glass. | Courtesy of Veterans United
Sarah Hill has helped spearhead Verterans United's efforts to utilize Google Glass. | Courtesy of Veterans United

Here’s another use that early testers of Google Glass have found for the wearable technology: virtual home tours.

Veterans United Home Loans, a Columbia-based business providing home loans for veterans, service members and military families, has started using Google Glass to provide potential homebuyers with interactive, real-time tours of houses.

Sarah Hill, Chief Digital Storyteller for Veterans United, brought the augmented-reality device to her company.

“It’s a hands-free piece of technology for your face,” Hill said.

She was accepted into Google’s Glass Explorer program, which gave a limited number of testers first access to the technology. Her selection was based on her idea that Veterans United could use Google Glass to assist terminally ill and aging World War II veterans. With the help of a virtual tour guide wearing the device, veterans were able to experience the Pearl Harbor memorial without having to hop on a plane to Hawaii.

It soon became clear Glass could be used to address other challenges, according to Wendy Wiederhold, Veterans United’s director of agent relations. “The limitation didn’t just exist to see the (Pearl Harbor) memorial; the limitation could exist when they were in the process of homebuying,” Widerhold said.

That’s why the mortgage company’s next step was to teach real estate agents about the technology. In effect, the futuristic eyewear turns an agent into the virtual eyes of the person shopping for a home.

“It gives the military homebuyer a tour live, in real time,” Hill said. “Real time means they can ask questions and interact during the broadcast.”

Hill said the plan is to use Glass for several purposes: “To teach our real estate agents, to educate the public, to help military home buyers, and to bridge the physical space with the agent and the service member overseas.”

Updates  for Google Glass will continue to enhance the technology and its possibilities, Hill said, and Veterans United hopes to find more ways the device can add to the company’s array of services.

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