The long anticipated Apple Watch has been released along with the first round of real estate apps for this new wearable platform. Real estate buyers will soon be able to access home information on their wrist through apps from Trulia, Zillow, Redfin and others using the watch’s GPS signal. Here is a video of how Trulia’s app should work:
But the real game-changer could come in the form of Apple’s iBeacon technology. Here is a brief description of the iBeacon from ZDNet.com:
What is iBeacon?
iBeacon is Apple’s implementation of Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) wireless technology to create a different way of providing location-based information and services to iPhones and other iOS devices. iBeacon arrived in iOS7, which means it works with iPhone 4s or later, iPad (third generation and onwards) iPad mini and iPod touch (fifth generation or later). It’s worth noting the same BLE technology is also compatible with Android 4.3. and above.
How does it work?
The beacons themselves are small, cheap Bluetooth transmitters. Apps installed on your iPhone listen out for the signal transmitted by these beacons and respond accordingly when the phone comes into range.
For example, if you pass a beacon in a shop, the retailer’s app (assuming you have it installed) could display a special offer alert for you. On a visit to a museum, the museum’s app would provide information about the closest display, using your distance from beacons placed near exhibits to work out your position. As such iBeacon could be a much better option for in-door mapping – which GPS struggles with.
What real world iBeacon examples are there?
It’s early days for iBeacon – Apple has only been testing it since December last year in its US retail stores . Virgin Atlantic is also conducting trial of iBeacon at Heathrow airport , so that passengers heading towards the security checkpoint will find their phone automatically pulling up their mobile boarding pass ready for inspection. In the London area retail giant Tesco has been testing it in a store, as is Waitrose, while Regents Street is working with retailers to test the technology too.
With this technology, the flyer box era of real estate could be completely over. Once a buyer walks within bluetooth range of the iBeacon you have installed at your listing they will automatically receive a notification on their phone or smart watch with all of the property details and your contact information. Using the iBeacon real estate agents will be able to transform the experience of viewing a home to suit the modern technology of today’s buyers. With multiple iBeacons, you could create a custom guided tour sent to the buyer’s phone as they walk from room to room (iBeacon to iBeacon).
Photo by Flickr user Jonathan Nalder