The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is always an interesting look into the future, no matter your line of work.
While commercial real estate brokers may not have a use for shoes that make you jump higher or robot maids that can cook you breakfast (or maybe they do!), the show nevertheless features many technologies with the potential to affect our industry.
1. Increased storage in the cloud
Laptops, smartphones and tablets are making it easier than ever to connect and share files through multiple devices and locations. This convenience is a moot point, however, if you can’t access items stored on your home iPad when you’re using your work laptop. Programs like Google Drive and Apple’s iCloud can make this process easy when it comes to documents, but property photos and video presentations can occupy an immense amount of storage, stretching these platforms thin.
Companies at CES debuted cloud storage systems that can hold more than 4 terabytes worth of media, in addition to connecting a variety of users in a private network. Other companies, such as Cisco, are working on cloud solutions solely for companies that produce large amounts of videos—a useful tool for accessing property marketing materials and video tours on the go.
There were also a variety of traditional and 3D printers that now let users print from the cloud, regardless of their device’s physical location. Rather than running back home for a forgotten document, you could have that contract printed and waiting at the office while you’re stuck in morning traffic.
2. Virtual reality
What was once a technology reserved for gaming and moviegoers is now making it’s way into the mainstream. Potential buyers may soon be given a 360-degree tour of a property, all from the comfort of their office or home. This technology would not only give great insight into the dimensions and layout of a property but could even provide a realistic sense of a unit’s sweeping city views.
This technological application will undoubtedly be popular with foreign buyers who can’t always jump on a plane to tour every potential investment. Many of these buyers currently rely on employee representatives or long-trusted brokers to tour the physical property and assist with decisions. What a boon it would be to offer them the next best thing!
Sony, Google and Microsoft were some of the big virtual and augmented reality displayers at this year’s show. It’s just a matter of time before this technology trickles down to us.
3. Autonomous cars
We’ve all heard of Google’s self-driving cars, but this year’s CES show sure made it seem like a robot driver may not be that far off for the masses. In addition to Google, both Tesla and Ford debuted self-driving models.
The benefits of these types of vehicles to the commercial real estate industry are obvious. It would eliminate multitasking, whether that involved taking a phone call, returning an email or reading a document while driving. It would also allow brokers to focus solely on their clients and their questions, while simultaneously pointing out a neighborhood’s or building’s assets on a ride along.
Many highly successful brokers can hire drivers to combat such problems, but these drivers can be extremely expensive, especially when a sale isn’t guaranteed. Many experts say self-driving cars are only four years away from debuting for the general public—no limo driver uniform required.
4. Wearable gadgets
Technology is penetrating every aspect of our lives, so it only makes sense that it’s tracking, analyzing and marking a variety of data points that affect said lives. From fitness tracking on the job to files you can wear around your wrist, there were tons of products at CES that can make your day more efficient.
These devices come in a variety of forms. While smartwatches and bracelets are still tethered to your wrist, many of the newest devices can monitor your every move from a shoe, hat or t-shirt. Some even have integrated distress signals, which would allow you to call for help should a health or safety emergency arise while on the job. This is not your grandma’s Life Alert, but it sure is a nice bonus feature!
Unmanned systems like drones were arguably the biggest and most popular trend of this year’s CES show. There were numerous companies showcasing their latest offerings, which focused on attributes like size, ease of use, capacity (speed, height), and video and photo resolution, to name a few.
Like augmented and virtual reality, drones are another highly sophisticated way brokers can blow the socks off potential buyers with their latest offerings. The aerial photos and videos drones can capture are unrivaled. Those are views and angles you’ll never be able to achieve by shooting from the ground or even a neighboring building. Though there are rules governing drones’ usage, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was on-site at CES to respond to any questions or concerns regarding these remote-controlled devices. A smart move if you ask us, considering drones are becoming exceedingly more affordable and easy to use.
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