8 REALTOR® MARCH/APRIL 2015 REALTORMAG.REALTOR.ORG
Intriguing Business Solutions
At the Consumer Electronics Show, companies introduced an
array of products to keep you at the top of your game.
Super-sized TVs, self-driving cars, and
Web-based home appliances got most of
the attention during January’s International Consumer Electronic Show. But a
host of less flashy devices at the annual
Las Vegas technology showcase stand to
have a far bigger impact on the business
practices of real estate pros. Here are a
few breakthroughs worth noting.
Clients Never Out of Reach
Take mobile communications. Problems
arise quickly when you’re in an area where
cellular coverage is poor or even nonexistent. Utah-based weBoost LLC (weboost.
com) showed off a line of devices that
boost cell signals belonging to any cell-phone network, allowing you to use your
phone in places where you might otherwise find no service. Real estate agents
may especially appreciate weBoost’s
car-based products, which strengthen
weak cellular signals for either a single
phone or every mobile device in a vehicle.
The company also sells equipment that
can be installed in a fixed location, such
as a home or office. Signal boosters start
at $130 for 3G and $200 for 4G signals.
For those who travel beyond the
reach of cellular coverage—where even
weBoost’s equipment doesn’t work—a
startup called go Tenna ( gotenna.com)
has developed a device ($150 per pair)
that allows mobile phones to communicate using long-range radio links that
can traverse several miles or more. The
Brooklyn, N. Y.–based company’s app
connects a smartphone to the lightweight
transmission gear via Bluetooth.
Scanning for Home and Business
Demand for 3-D home tours is escalating.
French firm Snapkin ( snapkin.fr/en/) is
developing a specialized room scanner
that can generate floor plans and detailed, three-dimensional tours of rooms,
although it is not designed to offer precise
square footage measurements. The
company hopes to make the scanners
available for rent at retail outlets, just as
carpet-cleaning machines are today, says
cofounder and CEO Jérémy Guillaume.
FLIR Systems ( flir.com), meanwhile,
You’ve Got Mail
showed off a different kind of scanner
that may appeal to buyers. The com-
pany’s $249 smartphone-based infrared
camera, the FLIR One, uses thermal
imaging technology to pinpoint potential
trouble spots in homes, such as water
leaks in walls and drafty windows, that
might otherwise go unnoticed.
The U. S. Postal Service was at CES to
promote a new era of digitally enhanced
mail. The possibilities include adding
multimedia presentations to printed
marketing materials using augmented
reality technology. Such mailings have
been commercially available for a year
and include a scannable code that users
access on smartphones and tablets.
Doing More for Less
Some CES exhibitors highlighted cost-effectiveness. Plustek Inc. of Taiwan
( plustek.com) unveiled a document
scanner priced below $1,000 that rapidly
sends pages to a computer or smartphone and includes a touch screen for
editing. The unit features a 50-page
feeder and doesn’t need to be connected
to a computer.
By Sam Silverstein