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4 useful consumer technologies for CRE professionals

Jan 28, 2016


Let’s face it, every year technology gets a little smarter. Sometimes I think my smart phone is smarter than me. And we can evolve with these changes or get left behind.

Last week we talked about some important tech trends from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Vegas, but there were also some interesting innovations on consumer products and technologies that can enhance your business practices.

1. Time-lapse cameras

Visual displays are huge selling points in commercial real estate. Not only do photos need to be crisp and clean but they need to accurately capture a property’s attributes and potential. New time-lapse cameras have taken that idea to a whole new level for commercial brokers to use in creating compelling marketing assets for their listings. These cameras can capture thousands of photos and convert them into a time-lapse video that can be shown to potential buyers, tenants, property managers or developer clients.

These devices are often weather-proof and can perform well in dim light. These features also make this kind of camera an ideal tool for marketing pieces as they can capture the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets from any balcony or angle. There’s no better way to show off a property’s appeal than with a genuine time capture that shows the sun at each point during the day--or the flow of pedestrian traffic over the course of a weekend.

2. Device protection

The free smartphone case that you picked up at the latest industry convention may not be tough enough if you’re an obsessive device useror a bit clumsy. Hey, it happens. One minute you’re carrying your briefcase and coffee, the next minute, your phone rings and – bam! – it hits the floor at just the perfect angle.

Many of the latest smartphone and tablet cases offer multi-layered protection that extends to drops, dust, scrapes and scratches. The newest formats not only protect the perimeter of the device, but the screen and ports as well. A headset hole doesn’t do a lot of good if dust prevents us from taking a hands-free call, after all.

3. Portable GPS tracking

Cameras, briefcases, even wallets are of no use to our businesses if they go missing, which is probably why portable GPS tracking devices are becoming more popular. These small accessories mostly look like dog tags or stickers, and can fit on almost any essential item. You simply place the accessory on (or in) the item of value, download the corresponding app and then hope you never have to use it.

If you do have to use it, most apps will inform you of the items last known whereabouts, while its beacon-like technology can assist in your reunion. You can even sync multiple items to one account, as long as each item has its own tracker. Many of the advanced trackers will also send an alert if a particular item moves too far away from its “home base,” which is usually the device that runs the app.

4. Secure payments

Business theft doesn’t just occur in physical offices. It happens online, too. Thankfully, many of today’s leading cyber security companies are aware of this, and they’re creating solutions to stop it.

Aside from intellectual property and information pertaining to a transaction or confidentiality agreement, one of the biggest threats to our business is the sharing of credit card information. In addition to platforms like Samsung Pay and Apple Pay, companies are now making it possible to make secure online purchases where a physical credit card is not present. This “smart wallet” technology sits on a chip integrated into what looks like a physical key you would carry on your keychain. It stores all of your payment data and PINs on an encrypted platform that also allows you to list your most-used shopping sites and your shipping address.

A transaction is completed by inserting the “key” portion of the accessory into your computer’s USB port. A personal universal password is then entered, and your credit card of choice is selected. The key will then send an alert to your phone to confirm you authorized this transaction (so it knows it’s you).

The product also acts as a backup storage unit where you can keep private documents outside of the cloud. Its secure web browsers ensure the information accessed is never stored online, and therefore never allowed to enter the hands of unwelcome cyber thieves.

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Topics: Industry News

The Apto Team

Written by The Apto Team

Apto, the commercial real estate software company, is the #1 CRM and deal management platform for commercial real estate brokers, with more paid users than any other service. Apto was built by and for brokers to help them manage contacts, properties, listings and deals from anywhere, on any device. Apto customers include thousands of independent brokers around the world, as well as multinational brokerages CBRE, JLL, NKF, Cushman & Wakefield and others. Headquartered in Denver, Apto is one of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., as ranked by Inc. magazine three years in a row.

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