She could see in the mirror that they were beautiful, empowering and nerdy-chic.
She was in love the moment she slipped into the Bluetooth-enabled, 4-inch LED heels.
Wearable technology and tech-cessories are here to stay. Not since the Sports Illustrated Sneaker Phone have clothing and technology been more interwoven.
What you wear not only can say a lot, it can photograph, record and tell you a lot.
Time for a change
With a Kickstarter-backed startup, Pebble sold 80,000 Bluetooth-connected wearable technology tools having only built a prototype. I jumped at the chance to support this startup, but I would wait a year to sync it the first time from my wrist.
It’s not just a watch. My Pebble helps me track conversations, remotely play music, relay text messages and tweets, and is a great golf-range finder. Sadly, it does nothing to help me locate lost balls in water hazards.
I’ve been riding my bicycle on trails this year and use the Pebble integration with the RunKeeper app to keep pace and track distance. But golf and biking have little to do with real estate.
Brian Copeland, chief of broker services for Village Real Estate Services, also wears a Pebble.
“Some view looking at your phone all the time as a business foul; however, checking the time on a watch is an acceptable behavior,” Brian said. “(With) Pebble’s integration with texting and emails, you can filter a lot of information quickly and discretely. With Google Voice providing transcriptions, you can look down quickly and see a voicemail that may warrant ‘a break’ or a ‘that can wait until later.’ ”
“One of the things every good buyer’s agent knows is to be fully present with the buyer when looking at homes. You can tie up an entire six- to eight-hour block with one buyer. Being away from your technology in this day and age of consumer expectations can be a business killer.”
This is cutting-edge technology. Pebble needs a better battery life, color screen and a microphone for voice to text. Still, for under $200, Pebble is a cool and unique gadget. It may have a useful place in the hectic lives of high-volume Realtors; however, entry-level agents won’t see much bottom-line value beyond the wow factor.
Keeping an eye on you
The eye-catching Google Glass launch followed with even greater fireworks. It’s easy to see why. Hands-free, location-based Web browsing and photography is very cool. So cool, that Trulia immediately announced Google Glass integration.
Google Glass was rumored to cost as little as $299 and to be sold out of Best Buys; Google has denied that this is true. Currently, there are 10,000 developers that have a pair, at $1,499 each.
Real estate agents will be able to call up information about listings, share photos and take customers on live virtual tours. All things you can do with your phone right now. The difference is, like Pebble, Google Glass will also offer a more discreet way to view messages while on the go.
A core iSsue
Apple made headlines early this year by hiring a team focused on building iWatch. They are behind the times now; however, I’m confident an iWatch will improve on Pebble’s issues.
It took Apple eight years to develop iPad before its launch, and iPad was nearly perfect when it flew off the shelf. Will they be able to innovate again? Will lines require crowd control for an Apple wristwatch? Time will tell.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away
The Samsung Galaxy Gear watch looks like an Apple killer at first glance. It has a beautiful color touch screen, high-end look and a wristband-incorporated HD camera and speaker that says “007 Sexy.” You may be able to hold a phone call on your wrist just like in the movies. It already has some big-name apps — including Pocket, Path, Evernote and RunKeeper — along with Samsung’s own S Voice technology.
Preorders in India went on sale Sept. 17, 2013, for $299, but its technical debut earlier this year was a bit of a familiar, first-generation Samsung dud.
Reported UI issues and slow processing make it a bit of a dog, albeit a very sexy dog. Also, Samsung is selling it only to those who buy the Galaxy Note 3, as that is the only device it works with. So, no thank you, Samsung — Galaxy Gear looks cool, but feels like a prequel.
Dress for success
Real estate still has plenty of bell-bottoms, turtlenecks and knee-high striped socks in its wardrobe. We have some work to do before 2014. From a technology standpoint, we need to remove all fax machines, file cabinets and paperclips before wearable technology will become mainstream.
However, I’m a big fan of new gadgets and thinking about new ideas. As with websites, advertising and the car you drive, tech-cessories will only compliment who you really are as a real estate agent. All alone, none of these will bring you more sales or change your world.
NAR’s recent report states that most business still comes from referrals than websites or social media. James Bond-type watches and headgear were not mentioned.
The recipe for success is still to interact with people, work hard for people and do the right thing every day; after you’ve done this, you ought to reward yourself with a cool, wearable gadget.