January brings a time of reassessment, and then a renewed look toward the future. While we talked about and did some amazing things last year, some of which you can read about here, at Century 21 Redwood Realty we like to keep moving forward. We strive to be a brokerage that embraces time-tested principles and work habits, while constantly testing and adapting new practices and technology. Looking forward at 2014 technology trends, these are the things we here at Century 21 Redwood Realty think will affect the real estate world through the coming year and beyond.
You may already use a Fitbit, or some other similar fitness tracker. That’s just the beginning of wearable electronics, however. With rampant rumors of an Apple watch and a competing Google watch sniffing around the edges, wearable electronics are bound to be the next wave of technology to adapt to. Already, you can buy the Pebble SmartWatch or the Galaxy Gear – watches that connect to your phone and deliver updates about incoming messages, calls and other information. What does this trend mean for the real estate world? Not only will clients’ need for instant gratification increase, it also will allow you as an agent to be even further connected to your clients and their messages. It will be difficult to escape your messages, although this method of delivery may be less disruptive than the ubiquitous phone beep or ring. How to prepare? Start learning how to manage your email now. If you’re going to be continuously connected to your email, you’re going to want to have filters set into place so that every buzz on your wrist is something important, not another advertisement.
Although it’s been discussed in-depth in the past couple of years, mobile technology is gaining more and more traction as people increasingly rely on their smartphones and tablets for everything. Encased in a phone or tablet is the ability to surf the internet, take pictures, call and text people, email, and use one of the myriad of apps available to conduct personal and professional business wherever you are in the world. For real estate agents and companies, this means not only understanding the technology that’s out there for smartphones and tablets, but also being aware of and creating optimized sites and apps that allow the client to access information wherever they want. In 2014, there really will always be an app for that!
Smart Home Technology
At the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2014, some of the biggest draws were the smart home components. Nest was the company that first drew headlines for its smart home thermostat, which quickly led to their smart home smoke detector. Now, almost everyone offers something for a smart home – mobile-controlled light bulbs, video cameras for the front door, smart door locks, refrigerators that keep a running tally on expiration dates and grocery lists. The trend in 2014 is for smart home technology to extend to every facet of the house, from your home “knowing” when you’re coming home and turning on lights and even the stove, to being able to turn your coffee maker on from your bed. For real estate agents, this means an increased knowledge not only about how all of these gadgets work, but also about what to look for in a home inspector. While acting as great marketing features, home inspections will become increasingly complicated, as smart home components start being included as part of the home being sold.
One of the trends that’s slowly been happening over the years, and really ramped up with the fitness tracking devices, is individualized technology. More and more technology is being released that is customizable and tailored specifically for an individual, instead of the masses. From ringtones and apps, to earbuds shaped for specific ears, to devices that tell us information specific to us (Google Now), individualized technology is becoming the norm instead of the exception. For real estate, this means that clients will expect the same from you, in both your marketing and your approach to them. Real estate agents will have to collect and glean information for each client, and tailor their approach and marketing specifically for each of them. Mass email marketing techniques will no longer work for the smart consumer – they’ll want something that speaks specifically to them. Generic ads won’t cut it; advertising will be precisely focused to distinct groups. Individualized technology will change the habits and expectations of the consumer, and force those who market to and for them to change too.