Some tech just isn’t working – or was over-hyped or much anticipated but never arrived… Whatever happened, here are my tech picks for CRE that were a big disappointment.
2011 was supposed to be the year of the QR code. So was 2010… Maybe it’s just in the mid-sized/smaller markets, but we’ve tested them out at conventions, on flyers – no traffic whatsoever.
They may be working for someone, but they’re not working for CRE. And even though “point and know” is an emerging trend for 2012 (QR codes mentioned yet again…), there are other technologies that will better address this. Still, I’m not sure that there are that many people want to “point and know” about commercial buildings.
Tablets, especially the iPad are great for media consumption and light business duty. And with apps from LoopNet, Costar and others, CRE agents had a lot to choose and use on their new toy. Where tablets flopped was as a presentation tool. The idea that you could get away without paper handouts by sharing a screen with your client didn’t work out too well. And running a slide presentation from an iPad isn’t all that easy.
And even with the apps and larger form factor, plenty of agents skipped tablets entirely saying they could do everything they needed with a smartphone. Admittedly, there isn’t much difference – except for the larger screen – which definitely has appeal for the forty plus set.
Tablets, Part 2
How long does it take to develop a decent tablet, especially when you’ve got a decent mobile operating system to begin with? Apparently it takes more than a year. Other than some modest success for Android tablets, Blackberry/RIM and HP/Palm crashed and burned. Part of the problem was a too early release (Blackberry’s Playbook with no email…were they kidding??) or stuffing a perfectly good OS in crummy hardware (HP TouchPad). So much for alternatives to Apple’s silo…
While we’ve all been waiting to see what happens with LoopNet and Costar, we’ve also been waiting for some competition in the property/listing data department. Maybe a few new CIEs were born in 2011. And there was an early push from some of the alternative aggregators to pump up their offerings. But nothing happened in the data realm that anyone would call a game changer. (Yeah, I said game changer…).
The CRE Cloud
Cloud apps were everywhere, though few are specific to CRE. Most promising were a handful of CRE specific CRM and financial apps. And the generic file storage apps like DropBox. And document signing apps, LoopNet’s and CoStar’s apps. And of course, Google Apps and Zoho…
Well…I guess there are quite a few useful cloud apps but apparently they’re not what CRE agents were looking for. Maybe it’s not the lack of apps. Maybe the apps are just too hard to figure out or don’t play nice together. Agents have to cobble something that works from all the choices to get all the features they want. And with the different operating systems for computers, phones and tablets, it’s a real challenge, especially for the not too tech savvy. Maybe some relief next year?
Photo credit: rileyroxx