As the Digital Revolution (or the Third Industrial Revolution) gives way to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, all sectors are opening their arms to usher in new waves of technological breakthroughs, revolutionizing their modus operandi, engendering novel and innovative ways of getting things done. Even a traditional and ancient sector like real estate is not left behind in these disruptive changes as the Internet of Things (IoT), one of the most remarkable fields in this new age, utilizes its immense power of interconnectivity to shape the way and manner realtors and their clients interact with one another. Beacons, smart homes, smart buildings, smart cities — IoT is changing the real estate industry in many ways.
What is IoT?
In an average home in the US, there will certainly be at least one object that turns the home smart. The Internet of things is that ubiquitous. The IoT is a network of devices, which are internet-enabled and can talk to one other. The Internet of Things, also called the Physical Web, when defined from a general perspective, is the networking of physical objects, including mobile devices, vehicles, as well as buildings, that are embedded with software, electronics, and Internet connectivity for collecting, sharing, and applying data. Irrefutably, the IoT is producing powerful changes in the real estate sector. How?
IoT Enhances the Connectivity of Our Physical World
Today, buildings now serve as a host for various applications based on the Internet of Things. Sensors are increasingly getting installed inside and outside of buildings to collect large amounts of data that can be analyzed and judiciously made use of in a bid to optimize the manner of occupation and operation of a building and its entire infrastructure. Summarized below are some examples of the way the Internet of Things is changing the real estate sector:
- Systems, as well as buildings, can learn and react to the occupants’ behavior, both concerning the building as a whole unit and also the individual rooms. Rather than having heating and lighting controls manually operated, HVAC systems now have the capability of adjusting the heat, air conditioning and lighting, responding to the presence/absence of occupants. As an occupant uses these systems over time and more extensively, in the same proportion, they are also able to learn usage patterns and, as a result, the best way to maximize performance and cut down energy costs.
- Smartphone applications, integrated with the systems in a building, are able to guide occupants to desks that are vacant or show them directions on how to get to their next meeting via the fastest possible route. In the same vein, soon, connected cars will be able to recognize traffic jams and offer faster alternative routes to drivers automatically before spotting the closest car park with free spaces.
- Establishing a link from security systems to smartphones, wearables, or security passes to enable management of facilities in a property, and emergency services for identifying whether a building is clear or determining areas those people trapped can be found.
- Sensors in dustbins help local authorities with sending refuse collection lorries to places with full bins, thus, preventing wasted journeys and creating a healthier environment for the general public.
As could be seen in the examples highlighted above, the IoT is producing revolutionary changes in the real estate industry and has the potential to provide great benefits to realtors and customers alike. As in other sectors, however, any realtor who does not embrace modern technology and adapt appropriately faces the risk of being left behind, losing new clients, and, in turn, suffering a drop in revenue streams.
In this day and age, tenants (who are now accustomed to modern ways of doing things) consider connectivity and technology as primary factors when they are deciding on the area to relocate to and the cost of rent they could pay. And the natural course of action for any ambitious player in the real estate sector to take is moving with the tide.
Use of Beacons in Real Estate
These are small devices, which are Bluetooth enabled, used for emitting a URL. When you are within range of a beacon, your smartphone will detect the Bluetooth signal automatically and send you a notification that a beacon is available in a nearby place. You can then decide to interact with the beacon, and the activity will take you to the URL that has been programmed into it. Beacon technology, though new, is fast gaining popularity.
How are beacons of any benefit to the real estate industry? Connecting with clients in today’s digital and information age is among the primary challenges faced in modern real estate practice. This is where these gadgets come in: Beacons allow the property to talk to people. With the aid of the device, information about a house is sent to anyone that is nearby holding a mobile phone. With a beacon, you needn’t initiate contact, it does that for you. It actively engages any person detected within range, any time of the day and night, throughout the whole year.
Users of mobile devices get a notification on their gadget, and with just a simple click, you can view information about the house, together with how you can contact the listing agent. To passersby, it would seem that they were notified by the property itself. Beacons can be of immense benefit both to the buyer and the real estate agent.
In a Nutshell
Take a look at your surroundings and find an older, historic building; what do you observe in its entrance doors, elevators, lobby, parking lobby, and its entire structure? You would probably notice nothing? Why so? This is because the building is not modern. It’s just there and does not inspire the kind of confidence that modern buildings impart in their users.
Conversely, imagine that the building was connected. What if it can communicate with your business and help you in realizing your goals? This is what the Internet of Things does to your property: It gives life to both private and commercial buildings, connecting real estate brokers to potential customers, helping tenants and businesses now carry out a range of building management activities and maintenance with ease.