Real Estate Tech Trends for 2014

If you’re one of those folks that uses technology only when absolutely necessary maybe these tech trends will help you overcome your fear of technology. Here are ten tech trends to look out for in the New Year.

1. Big data
Big data is a nebulous term to many real estate pros. It is simply a term utilized to describe various data sets that can be accessed quickly and efficiently — for example, housing trends, census data or demographic information.
Big data is going to have a significant impact on technology in 2014, particularly in the real estate industry. NAR recently hired Todd Carpenter to build a new predictive analytics department.

Carpenter said NAR hired him to create a new department that focuses on listening to members and consumers.

2. Internet of Things
The “Internet of Things” could be the most disruptive tech trend of 2014. It also has the potential to be a multibillion-dollar movement. In fact, it could be substantially more . IT research and advisory company Gartner predicts that “the total economic value add for the Internet of Things will be $1.9 trillion in 2020, benefiting a wide range of industries such as health care, retail and transportation.”

3. Wearable technology
New tech products are often met with apprehension. Wearable tech (Pebble, Fitbit, Galaxy Gear) will continue to gain momentum in 2014 and will most definitely find its way into the office, further challenging the IT infrastructure of a BYOD work culture.

4. Drones
Earlier this year, I purchased a DJI Phantom Quadcopter and mounted my GoPro camera to the device. Needless to say, it was a learning experience. Drones and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) are a polarizing topic. However, the positive attributes they present will have an impact on the real estate industry.

How will drones be used in real estate in 2014? The most immediate positive result for the real estate industry is that camera-equipped UAVs will allow people to tell stories about listings in ways that they could not previously do.

5. 3-D environments
Joel Burslem of 1000watt recently wrote that 3-D environments are online real estate’s next dimension, and I tend to agree with him. In the article, Burslem describes the immersive 3-D experience that platforms such as Floored deliver.

Burslem noted: “Technologies like Floored, Photosynth or movies like ‘Frozen’ show us that a truly virtual reality, whether presented on screen as entertainment or as experienced when marketing real estate, is no longer the stuff of science fiction.”

6. The maker movement
The maker movement, entrenched with a strong DIY mentality, will have a major impact on the tech scene in 2014. Some consider 3-D printing nothing less than the reinvention of manufacturing. As “additive manufacturing” technology improves and becomes more affordable, it cannot be ignored. Within the next few years, I envision every office sporting a 3-D printer, and that includes the real estate industry.

7. App store optimization
Here’s another acronym to add to the growing list of industry buzz terms: ASO. ASO stands for App Store Optimization and is the practice of increasing the visibility of apps in stores such as iTunes and Google Play.

8. Beacon-based sensors
Beacon-based sensors such as Apple’s iBeacon enable hardware to send notifications to mobile devices in close proximity. The technology integrates Bluetooth low energy and presents marketers with a huge opportunity if the platform can be executed properly. TechCrunch recently reported that Apple could have up to 250 million units rolled out in 2014. Google and Microsoft are making strides in the space as well. Look for a major breakthrough in 2014.

9. Mobile video
Every year I find myself writing, “This will be the year video tips in real estate.” Not this year. I believe it’s already tipped. In 2014, mobile video makes a big dent and the technology positions itself as an effective mobile marketing strategy.

10. BYOD (bring your own device)
The launch of the iPhone forever changed mobile computing and ignited the BYOD revolution. Information technology (IT) departments are now expected to seamlessly support a plethora of devices brought into the workplace by employees. While not as sexy as other tech items on this list, the bring-your-own-device culture will nevertheless continue to grow in 2014, and wearable technology will be thrown into the mix.

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