We like to change up our social media weekly every now and again to keep things spicy, like we did with our holiday edition. This week we thought another special edition was in order to expand our focus beyond just social media and take you for a ride through some of the best innovations from this year’s CES – aka the Las Vegas-set Consumer Electronics Show.

CES is probably the Mad Max-iest nerd-fest of all time – I mean, it’s futuristic tech in a desert. Like Burning Man, but with businesspeople and virtual reality. Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s indoors, and has convention carpeting and fluorescent lighting – but, as Dan Seifert of The Verge notes, “We come to CES because we want to see some glimpse of the future.” Sounds great, right?

There are always a few standout trends at CES. This year, it was notable that Alexa (Amazon’s virtual personal assistant) was integrated into (what felt like) everything. TVs are still getting thinner, but that’s kind of boring – especially as there were a lot of other CES products that made having a TV seem increasingly silly. Developers and product designers are focusing on making distinctions between the IRL world and the virtual world essentially seamless. That includes a whole lot more virtual reality and augmented reality in 2017. Frankly, we’re all for it.


1. Alexa Was Everywhere

Alexa has had a pretty wild year. Alexa is Amazon’s integration-friendly and highly robust voice-activated AI personal assistant that basically everyone at CES has integrated into their own products. In addition to being the star of CES, she has had a startling developmental rate.

You’ve definitely only seen the beginning of Alexa.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

Alexa is pretty much everywhere, and she’s not going anywhere. As real estate moves deeper into the realm of VR and smart homes, agents’ eyes should be trained on Alexa. In fact, this New Jersey real estate agent has already created a real estate bot with Alexa.


2. Touchy-Feely: The Touchscreen That Touches Back

Have you ever tried to describe something to someone and wished they could really feel what it was like to be there? Empathy only goes so far (same with your storytelling skills). A tech company has just made digital experiences a much touchier subject – in the form of a haptic computer screen. It’s like an iPad, but the surface mimics sensations like “heavy or light, stretchy or stiff, sticky or slick” (Tanvas). You heard me. The boundaries between real and virtual are thinning at a crazy speed.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

Selling a house to a remote client is a whole different story when they can touch the granite countertops, and run their fingers along the exposed brick. And you’ll stand out as head and shoulders more innovative than your competition.


3. Beam Me Up, LG – There’s No Use For My TV Down Here

Traditional screens are out, and (you guessed it) immersive, borderless screens are in. Technology developers seem to want consumers as close to inside whatever we’re watching as possible, and, honestly, we’re pretty okay with that.Razer’s Project Ariana (a VR-like video game experience) and LG’s ProBeam projector are the best examples of this. The idea behind Project Ariana is that it transforms the area in your room around the monitor you’re using to play video games into an extension of your screen. It’s kind of like in horror movies when the monsters climb out of TV sets, except way cooler and (potentially) less scary. LG ProBeam is a super high-definition, ultra portable projector with streaming capabilities that’s small enough to hold in your palm.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

Both of these technologies stretch the limits of the screen in innovative ways. This kind of innovation is exactly what real estate needs – to move beyond the physical, IRL ways of selling and buying houses, and start leveraging the immersive tech on offer to stand out from the crowd. That listing presentation of yours will never before have looked this good, promise. And winning every listing presentation you give is the goal, right?


4. Augmented Reality Comes To A Pant Pocket Near You

It’s not exactly the catchiest name in the world, but the

The gist of the product is that it’s the first phone able to support Google’s Tango 3D-mapping technology and Daydream VR. Essentially, this is where virtual reality and augmented reality start coming to your jeans pocket. Easy to use and comfortable to hold, Engadget calls the Zenfore “a solid introduction to the world of mixed reality.” In short, Android takes another leap ahead of Apple iOS.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

Soon agents will be taking buyer leads on home tours using only their smartphone. With augmented reality, you’ll be able to take a client for lunch and show him his future home right there in the restaurant, or take her on a tour before the house is even built.


5. Ever Wish Your Laptop Could Work More Like An iPad?

The Neonode Air Bar lets you use your Macbook screen like you would a touchscreen – pinching to zoom, swiping to scroll, etc. Basically you attach the bar to the bottom of your laptop screen and it emits an invisible light field over the screen, which is how you do your touch screen-ing. Pretty sci-fi if you ask me.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

The great thing about the Air Bar is that it will get clients interacting with the screen/whatever you’re showing them in meetings. Interactivity is key to getting clients involved in and attached to the buying or selling process. We’d also love to see Facebook Canvas move to desktop so it could be used through an Air Bar – more on how great Canvas is for real estate here.


6. This Smartphone Knows The Chemical Makeup Of Your Granola Bar

This one might be the craziest and most sci-fi of all. The Changhong H2 created a smartphone with a built-in spectrometer so you can determine the exact material composition of an object. This means you’ll be able to point your phone at a pill, a piece of garbage, a food item – and have it tell you its chemical composition. Digital Trends suggests that some of its many uses include: “Athletes could use it to scan themselves to figure out body fat percentage, while concerned individuals could use it to scan for the nutritional content in food and drink.” It might even be able to help with cancer detection.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

Imagine real estate buyers conducting their own DIY home inspections with this clever device – no more getting fooled by laminate disguised as hardwood!


7. This Remote Might Be Smarter Than You

You’ve certainly heard of smart remotes, but the CES-debuted Sevenhugs Remote might just be the smartest. The Sevenhugs Remote works with 25,000 connected devices, so when you point the remote at a lamp for instance, it will turn up or down the light. We see this as pretty clever technology for making a smart home system more integrated and intuitive (and inherently easier for the lazy).

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

Smart homes, as we’ll get to again below, are the future. If you’re giving a home tour, being able to impress your potential buyers with something as easy to use but high tech as the Sevenhugs Remote will help you and the home stand out from others.


8. These Smart Fridges Won’t Let You Forget to Buy Milk

On that note, smart fridges now let you check on the contents of your fridge when you’re at the grocery store (assuming you have a very well-organized fridge), knowing exactly what you need. They’ve integrated a massive screen on the outside door that serves as a kind of family whiteboard, which (of course) even takes voice commands.

What This Means For Real Estate Marketing

Selling a home with a smart fridge may become that new luxury that raises a kitchen above all others. It certainly makes Sub-Zero look, well, kinda dumb.

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