Cuff. Apple Watch. Ringly. Pebble Time. Samsung Gear VR.
What do all these have in common? They’re all wearables, and they’re all available now. With the constant stream of new wearable technology being released, this order will surely happen:
More people will begin adopting and wearing the technology —-> more companies will start making and/or supporting the technology —> prices will continue to drop —–> more people will be able to afford wearable technology —–> more people will use wearables. This means your real estate clients and fellow agents will be using this technology in the near future if they aren’t already.
Wearable technology in the form of a watch or glasses may seem a little far-fetched – “Dick Tracy,” anyone? – but how many of you currently use some sort of fitness tracker (pedometer, FitBit, Jawbone, Garmin, etc.)? A fitness tracker was really the entry technology to help people get comfortable with recording, sending and sharing their data. With further advances, those devices are now able to receive and send email, notify you about calls and messages, connect to the Internet and even make and take phone calls.
But what does any of this have to do with real estate? More than you might realize. Wearables can take many forms, but here’s the basics of what you need to know about them and how much attention you should be paying each of them:
Fitness Trackers: Currently, used to mostly track activity, sleep patterns and other aspects of one’s health, in the future these could also be used to alert someone of a medical condition or situation. These are the most commonly seen wearables on people today.
Your Attention Level: LOW. Except for being able to humblebrag about how many steps you took showing clients houses the other day, fitness trackers don’t currently have much to do with the daily business of real estate.
Your Attention Level: MEDIUM. If you’re a man, smart jewelry may not yet be for you (there are fewer menswear items out there on the market at the moment). As a female real estate agent, however, smart jewelry may be useful, especially from a safety standpoint. One of Cuff’s features is the ability to send out a “SOS” to predetermined people when activated. They receive your SOS along with your location and live audio.
Watches: You’ve probably seen an Apple Watch commercial already or maybe even seen one out ‘in the wild.’ You may have also seen chunkier-than-normal watches in the form of Motorola’s Moto Smartwatch for Android or someone sporting a Pebble smartwatch (newest variation, the color screen Pebble Time, ships some time this month). Watches now have the ability to deliver notifications, fitness track, and send messages (and in the case of the Apple Watch, make phone calls). The key with smartwatches, though, is that they have opened up the technology to work with 3rd party apps. Now you can do almost everything – from managing a home’s security system or light network to controlling KITT, er, your car to receiving timely updates – from your wrist.
Your Attention Level: HIGH. There’s a great chance you’re going to be seeing more of these on the wrists of both your clients and your fellow agents in the very near future. What does that mean for you? Clients will be able to receive information more quickly, with companies like Trulia already developing apps for the Apple Watch that notify the user when they’re close to a home on the market that’s within their desired parameters. You’ll have to not only understand the technology that’s being used, but how you fit into this new world of ‘instant gratification.’ Also, be aware that a lot of the information you’re sending out may now be viewed on a smaller watch screen – think about that before overloading your messages with a lot of graphics, large signature blocks or sending long missives to your clients. Think about what sites you’ll be pointing them to, and how accessible those are in this increasingly mobile world.
Glasses: While Google Glass may technically be ‘gone’, it’s certainly not ‘forgotten.’ Google Glass technology is still being developed and improved upon by other companies, as well as Google, for use in glasses that look a little more like regular eyewear all the way to screens for your car’s windshield. Glasses have gone even more high-tech in the form of goggles and virtual reality, with Samsung Gear VR currently on the market.
Attention Level: MEDIUM. In the future, you may be able to use glasses or similar devices to capture an entire walk-through of a house with a home inspector…without your clients having to physically be present. You can take them on home tours while they’re deployed overseas. You can search for information for someone that they ask you for at an open house without having to look at a tablet or computer. Virtual reality is also opening the door for a number of possible uses in the real estate world. Imagine being able to walk a client through their fully-finished new construction home or condo before the foundation is even laid. Imagine being able to conduct a virtual open house. As the technology develops and becomes more accessible, these kinds of tools could become expectations from clients.
Wherever you look these days, there’s a great chance that someone is using wearable technology. The real estate world is going to continue to change with its clients and the technology that’s available to them – are you going to change with it? What will you be wearing?