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CRE Augmented Reality Users Must Beware Of Virtual Graffiti


There's a lot of buzz about augmented reality’s disruptive impact on commercial real estate—from the increased use of augmented reality by brick-and-mortar retailers to boost customer experience and foot traffic, to the visual and creative use of AR for office and residential properties. And though the benefits of AR are clear, what about the risks?

In a recent report, nonprofit information systems association ISACA addressed several risks facing companies and consumers that use augmented reality, such as data privacy violations and public safety. But the most common threat is what ISACA board director Rob Clyde calls virtual graffiti.

Virtual graffiti occurs when AR is used to virtually deface a building, landmark, signage or workplace with negative and oftentimes unauthorized imagery that can be shared with others using IoT devices—computers, smartphones, smart glasses, mobile handsets, you name it.

“There are tools out there that can automatically show you things that have been posted about that particular business and location—it could be negative things said on Trip Advisor or Yelp, or could be pictures posted to social media,” Rob tells Bisnow. “If owners of locations in real estate or retailers are not making an effort to keep track of their social media and posts targeting their geographic location or company name, they could find themselves blindsided with negative things being said about them.”

Businesses fall prey to virtual graffiti when negative content shows up through AR apps from social media posts, pictures or videos that are tagged to a business’ location or even advertisements.

“Whenever someone uses an AR app it will automatically link those things,” Rob says. He recommends property owners review social media and accounts like Yelp to ensure that the information linked to their geographic location or the name of their business does not defame their brand.