When thinking about the real estate industry, gizmos and gadgets aren’t usually the first things that come to mind. (The last piece of tech I remember hearing about were electronic key boxes speeding access to home entry for agents.) So it may be surprising to learn about two of the newest technological wonders aiding real estate professionals in the battle to advertise properties most efficiently.
A new breed of technology rippling through many industries is a proximity system developed by Apple called iBeacon. These tiny transmitters are able to notify nearby devices of their presence and offer up all sorts of information. In the case of real estate properties, iBeacon can advertise and transmit an immediate, downloadable property info sheet to anyone in a 1500 foot radius.
Leveraging the 800 million iPhones and iPads in the wild, iBeacon technology promises to speed access to information for folks wandering around front yards everywhere. Using a small, battery-powered “beacon” attached to a yard sign, sellers can direct potential buyers to learn everything about their property. Realty Beacon (realtybeacon.com) is one vendor that has the whole setup ready to roll. At $29 per beacon it’s not terribly costly and allows an agent to skip the constant refilling of brochure boxes and insure an ever-present stream of digital flyers at a listing.
An even larger development with impact for the real estate market is a startup called Matterport. They provide a hardware/software/service combo that promises to digitally capture the interior of a property as a 3D explorable realm. Before you pass this off as just a fancy 360º spin in the middle of a living room, go take a peek: realestate.matterport.com. This tech surpasses all photo and video fly-throughs I’ve ever seen. Matterport creates a fully-immersive 3D environment ready to impact buyers with a space they can actually “wander” around inside.
It should be mentioned: this is bleeding-edge tech and is far from cheap. You start with their custom $4500 camera plus a subscription service ($49 to $149 per month) to process and host each of your listings. The good news is it requires zero technical skills to capture the 3D images. Matterport provides a custom iPad app that walks you through the process to place the camera in the exact location for each of the required shots. They claim a typical property takes under an hour to capture. The raw data is sent up to the Matterport Cloud where the 2D and 3D images are stitched together to create a complete, dimensionally accurate model of the space. Once complete the 3D showcase is hosted on the web for anyone with a modern web browser to enjoy.
Matterport promises future software upgrades as well. Coming soon are annotations, measuring tools and personalized enhancements allowing a potential buyer to virtually re-furnish, refresh or renovate a property — all within the live 3D space.
Lastly, Matterport asserts this technology has impact outside the real estate market. They provide use cases stretching from hospitality to construction management. One interesting use envisions an insurance adjuster capturing detailed loss data. Team members could then “walk” a damaged property without necessitating a site visit — a potentially useful feature if natural disasters make it difficult for many parties to travel to a particular locale.
In the end it’s clear no industry is outside the scope of technology impact. Real estate professionals finally have realistic methods to give up-to-the-minute property info and amazing virtual tours of their listings — all while never having to leave their own house.