As the office Christmas party approaches, I can look forward to several agents shoving their cell phones in my face asking me to fix something. (Just for the record, 99 times out of 100 it’s either user error or an OS upgrade that caused the problem.)
Welcome to the real world of CRE tech. Unlike the online world where new apps are greeted with excitement and people write about the future of CRE and other weighty tech topics, offline it’s a daily grind of making sure things work and that the brokerage and agents have what they need.
That’s not to say that even though most agents I know spend little to no time online networking or reading CRE tech blogs, there hasn’t been some interest in new technology. Here’s my list of tech that piqued the interest of off-line agents.
360 Degree Videos
Agents really like the idea of a video walk-through so I’ve been researching 360 degree cameras for them. There are basically two methods of creating these types of videos – single or multi-lens camera that stitch together panoramic/stereoscopic images or cameras that rotate, capture and map the space to a mesh on which images are overlaid. The latter allows for some sophisticated uses including virtual walk-throughs. But the former method isn’t half bad in part because it’s much less expensive, less time consuming to produce and you can upload the video to YouTube. Users move around the video image with their mouse or finger to view the whole space. We’ll be testing those out next year once our Ricoh Theta S gets here…
For large properties, aerial views are a must but drone videos are even better. And, they impress clients helping agents to win listings. Unfortunately, there aren’t many drone videographers in the area so agents are relying on friends to get the footage for them. How long that will last is up in the air (ha…) since drone registration requirements and regulations are on the horizon. Plus, there’s already a 4 mile radius ban around airports – a location where large industrial buildings or office parks are often found. For CRE, drone videos may have peaked – way too soon for the agents here.
Property/Lease Management Software
There has definitely been an interest in some of the new property or lease transaction platforms. But agents are facing a dilemma when they present these tools to clients. Most feel it’s in the owner’s best interest to own the data and therefore purchase the subscription and give agents access. Those who lean towards the brokerage buying the subscription find that the built in reporting isn’t what or how the client wants it. And both owners and brokerages balk at the price. So for the most part, spreadsheets still rule.
Cell Phone Tools
Agents really want to use their cell phones as measuring tools and sensors. They haven’t had much luck finding reliable apps for these purposes but they’re always checking them out. Like one that supposedly measured air quality or room dimension apps like MagicPlan (they gave both a thumbs down). Developers – are you listening?