Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 Tech Trends That Will Transform the Way You Work
From bendable smartphones to driverless cars, these upcoming technological advances will change your daily routine on the job.
March 19, 2014
This could be your future: You’re driving hands-free, taking your clients around for a day of showings. While you’re behind the wheel (remember, you’re not actually steering the car), you pull from your pocket a bendable smartphone or tablet and bring up a home’s specs. (Apps display the home’s energy use and maintenance status.) As you’re approaching a home, the lights in the house automatically turn on. Sound far-fetched? Well, brace yourself: Some of these capabilities are already here—or are coming soon. Here’s at peek at the latest tech from the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show that should be on your radar.
The technology may serve as a discreet way to keep an eye on your business. Real estate tech expert and author Chris Smith says that in order for smartwatches to catch on, they will need to have voice-control capability and connect to all your smartphone apps so that you don’t ever have to take out your phone.
The offerings for greater home connectivity are growing:
- Energy-efficient “smart lightbulbs”: You can control these lightbulbs with your phone and program them with mood-light settings for relaxation and energy.
- The ability to text appliances: Programs such as LG’s -HomeChat allow you to text your washer, for example, and ask it, “What are you doing?” You’ll receive a text response telling you where the washer is in the washing cycle.
- Single integrated systems: These will allow you to connect appliances, thermostats, security systems, and more from one device. Lowe’s Iris Management System and Samsung’s Smart Home App are examples of these systems, and they also send alerts to your phone when an appliance is malfunctioning.
View a slideshow of the latest mobile gear to leverage in your business.
For example, drone manufacturing company Parrot offered a sneak peek at its upcoming MiniDrone, which can be controlled by a smartphone or tablet to shoot photos and video while flying up to 160 feet high. It also has wheels to climb walls or move across ceilings. It is slated to debut later this year, and while the price has not yet been announced, it is expected to be cheaper than the company’s upgraded $300 A.R. Drone. Also, global drone manufacturer DJI’s Phantom 2 Vision, retailing for about $1,200, can snap 14-megapixel images and record high-definition video.
While NAR recommends that REALTORS® avoid using drones until the FAA issues rules on commercial drone use, as directed by Congress, next year, some practitioners are taking their chances. Brandon Doyle, a sales associate with Edina Realty in Maple Grove, Minn., has experimented with using DJI’s F550 drone since October 2012. He said drones will be particularly helpful for showing off high-acreage property. “It’s very difficult to show what 40 acres looks like in a photo, but with a drone, you can get a feel for the topography and where the boundaries are on a property,” he says.
The implications for real estate? Instead of chauffeuring clients to showings, the car will do it for you. That means you can focus on your client instead of the road. The cars use 360--degree sensors without human intervention for accelerating, braking, maneuvering turns, and parking. Driverless cars have been approved by lawmakers for experimentation in several states, such as California, Nevada, and Florida.
Smith says bendable glass helps protect devices from shattering. “We [practitioners] take out our devices from our pockets about 80 times a day and are always dropping our phones,” he says. “[Bendable glass] offers a way to keep the devices looking the way they were built as well as some protection.”