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There’s mobile technology.
And there’s automobile technology.
With agents tethered to tech to an extent few would have believed even a few years ago, it only makes sense that the next most important tool in their arsenal — their cars — would become so as well.
Last year, Chevrolet announced it would wheel out in-car Wi-Fi in its family-friendly Malibu. From there, every GM model would leave the garage connected, via monthly or daily fees, to OnStar’s 4G LTE service — even its economy models.
Just like that, your car is now an internally combusted hot spot with a spare tire.
Audi was actually first to include in-car connectivity as an option. GM’s adoption will do much more for the market, however.
Real estate agents may like to know that yet again, millennials are heavy contributors to a major industry movement.
According to a May 2014 Techhive.com report, in the heavy Midwest winter of 2013-2014, the car most often started remotely via OnStar’s RemoteLink phone app was the Chevy Cruz, an entry-level, youth-focused model.
It’s easy to connect this level of use directly to the “always-on” mentality of our homebuying market’s most tech-savvy milieu, a concept real estate agents need to ensure they completely grasp if they plan on getting them to buy houses.
So, are there ways for real estate agents to benefit from this emerging mobile tech? I think so.
1. Truly mobile office
Outside your client’s home, before your buyer shows up or just before the listing appointment, grab every file or document you need or tweak the presentation on a much more work-friendly-sized screen. Not psyched about your CRM’s mobile version? Problem solved.
2. Connected clients
Home tours can take all day. Often all weekend. Don’t let your clients blow up their monthly data plan browsing for reasons to see a home not on the tour — let them blow up yours. Offer your in-car connectivity for buyers to access school data, nearby restaurant menus, listing pictures and any other form of useful buying knowledge.
3. Fast mobile marketing
Empower your mobile marketing by capturing on-the-go pictures, video or market data for your social media feeds. Yes, social software is already super mobile-friendly. However, creative tools like Canva or WordPress are much more efficient on larger, more powerful systems like your Surface or MacBook Air. Plus, Bluetooth tends to struggle with video and large file transfers.
4. Out-power portable hotspots
Many agents might already be using cellular network cards to access a signal, the lowest-hanging retort from skeptics of in-car networks. Car companies contend their external antennas provide faster, more reliable service, and reduce users’ dependence on additional accessories to remain connected, such as extra cords, chargers, batteries and the like.
All major car manufacturers are rolling out in-car Wi-Fi services, using every carrier in the marketplace to power them. Cost models range from annual subscriptions to daily access. In GM cars, OnStar subscribers will pay less. Up to seven devices can access the network simultaneously.
You can also install your own router using Autonet’s CarFi service.
I want to hear from you. Do you see in-car Internet access as a future staple technology for the real estate industry?
What other uses will emerge? Car-only apps? Dashboard CRMs?
Do you use in-car Wi-Fi — and what do you think? Leave a comment and let us know!
Do you have a product for our tech expert to review? Email Craig Rowe.
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