12 Upgrades for Your Car, Office, Marketing

Technology companies are focusing on making your business run faster and reducing distractions while you’re out with clients.

From automating smart offices to hiring robots to conduct home showings, the biggest technology advancements to emerge from CES 2018, the largest consumer electronics trade show in the country, have plenty of practical applications for your real estate business.

The latest in virtual reality was among the top-of-the-line items at the Las Vegas show, and that matters to real estate professionals, since 62 percent of consumers say they’d prefer to work with an agent who offers VR home tours as a marketing service, according to a recent Coldwell Banker survey. Other technologies to make a splash at CES 2018 included advancements in augmented reality, voice control, and mobile charging capabilities.

One way to improve your efficiency is to operate on the upcoming 5G network, the fifth-generation wireless technology that is expected to be 100 times faster and five times more responsive than 4G and 4G LTE systems when it’s available. AT&T and Verizon say they will be rolling out 5G networks in about a dozen cities by the end of the year, starting in Sacramento, Calif. “5G’s promise of greater speed and overall network performance brings huge opportunities not only for video but in the internet of things, 4K video, augmented and virtual reality, smart homes and cities, and autonomous vehicles,” says John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president of technology and operations at AT&T.

REALTOR® Magazine was at CES 2018, and we captured a few products you should keep your eye on that intend to help you run your business more efficiently.

For Your Car

Holographic navigation system: WayRay’s Navion is touted as the first holographic augmented reality car navigation system. A dashboard-mounted device displays directions, trip details, and real-time alerts about what’s happening on the road. It uses an augmented reality overlay so the information appears superimposed on the road. No special eyewear or headgear is needed. It also responds to voice commands and hand gestures. Price: TBD

Wi-Fi booster for your car: Keep your Wi-Fi signal strong no matter where you’re driving. SureCall’s FusionTrek is an easy-to-install cellular signal booster for cars. The company says the product improves cellular data speeds and reduces dropped calls. It installs discreetly to the inside of the vehicle. Your phone then attaches to a magnetic indoor antenna mount. Price: Starting at $199; available in March

Alexa as your passenger: Amazon’s Alexa, the voice-activated digital assistant, is becoming more useful in vehicles. Garmin Speak, a dash cam that mounts to your windshield, integrates with Alexa to give you voice control not only to operate GPS navigation but also to play music, news briefings, and weather alerts. It also offers warnings for forward collisions and lane departures, as well as “go alerts” to notify drivers when stopped traffic begins to move. The inch-and-a-half device has an LED light ring that displays lane guidance arrows to navigate you to your destination. Price: $199.99 for preorders until Feb. 10, $229.99 after that

For Your Office

A phone inside your laptop: Connect your devices with this Android-based Razer phone that can fit inside a 13.3-inch laptop. It’s a prototype being dubbed Razer’s Project Linda. Once inserted, the phone is then transformed into an Android laptop. The phone’s 5.7-inch display is able to function as a touchpad or second screen, and it charges while it’s docked. Price: TBD

The skinniest laptop available: The Acer Swift 7, the thinnest computer in the world, is just 8.98mm thick. It features a 14-inch touchscreen and an option for 4G LTE connectivity. It also boasts 256 GB of storage, 8 GB of RAM, and up to 10 hours of battery life, and has a built-in fingerprint reader to unlock Windows Hello. Price: $1,699; available in March

Mini scanner: PUP Scan is promoted as the world’s fastest connected mini scanner, small enough to fit in your pocket. The product from 7NEXT allows you to scan, store, and share all types of documents for your business in just one click. You can even scan large document formats, too. Price: $299

A case that keeps you charged: Incase’s IconConnected Power Sleeve is an all-in-one protection and power solution for your MacBook Pro laptop. The case features a built-in 14,000 mAh battery with a USB-C port. The Power Sleeve can also charge iPhones, iPads, and other USB devices via a USB-A port. It can provide more than one charge to a laptop and multiple charges for other devices. It’s compatible with the MacBook Pro 13 and 15. Price: $199.95; to be released in the third quarter of 2018

Added safety: The Silent Beacon is a discreet safety device that can be added to your keychain to call for help if you feel in danger. The Bluetooth-enabled device can place phone calls, send alerts, and enables GPS tracking in case you encounter a potential emergency situation—all with just a touch of a button. Send distress messages via text, email, or push notifications that include your GPS location. There are no monthly fees. Price: $89.99

For Your Marketing

Camera for VR tours: Capture your listings from multiple angles for a VR tour. Kodak’s PixPro Orbit360 4K camera may be compact, but it packs a lot of punch in its small camera body. It has two 4K fixed-focus lenses, one on each side of its body. The lenses work in tandem to capture and automatically stitch 360-degree 4K video. You can then easily upload the videos to Facebook and YouTube via the camera’s app. Price: $499

Low-cost VR headset: For those who want to provide VR headsets at showings and open houses, Oculus Go offers a model that’s less expensive. It’s an all-in-one VR headset and does not need to be plugged into a phone or computer. It features a high-resolution LCD screen and has audio built into the headset that can be used without headphones. It comes with a motion controller. Price: $199; available early 2018

Professional photos from a smartphone: LG wants to make your phone capable of shooting DSLR-grade photos. The LG V30, with a six-inch screen, boasts an HDR10 camera with cinematic features. It has two lenses, including a wide-angle lens, and you can zoom anywhere in the frame for ultrasharp close-ups. It has three mics for crisper audio and a variety of options for your recordings. The phone is water-resistant and military-tested for falls. LG is also offering two years of free protection in case you break the phone’s screen. Price: $799.99

Phone snap-on for 360-degree videos: Insta360’s Nano S snaps onto your phone, allowing you to shoot 4K video. The camera will automatically stitch images or video to create a 360-degree recording. Use it for live-streaming and video chat. Price: $239