Technology had evolved, and what was once amazing, untouchable technology is now mainstream. Here’s a look at some video technologies that are evolving.

by Travis Saxton, vice president of technology

Remember when you first heard about drones and what they could do for the industry? It took a while, but eventually, laws were made and clarified. Then, photographers and virtual tour companies that possessed the proper FAA license, equipment and skillset necessary to get high-quality drone video started promoting it for real estate. Rules have changed again, making it easier for photographers to get licensed or certified to use drones.This will again change the landscape. Using drones in real estate photography isn’t quite mainstream just yet. After all, it is costly and not easy to use to market properties under $500,000. But, it soon will be and eventually the majority of real estate professionals will be using drones to market properties.

Such as it is with new technology, a product launches and is out of reach for many until suddenly it’s accessible and mainstream. What’s amazing is how quickly technllogies are developing in the area of photography. Here are our thoughts on the frontier of video:

Digital Photography: It was invented in 1975 but didn’t become mainstream until the 1990s. /by 2004-2005, digital cameras had widely replaced film cameras. It took 30 years for digital photography to become mainstream!

HDR Photography: After digital camera HDR (high dynamic range Imaging) photography, which was invented in 1985. However, it wasn’t used for commercial purposes until 1993 (medical field) and then, in 1997 for motion pictures. HDR didn’t hit real estate until 2006-2007 and was mainly used to market luxury properties. In 2010-2011, it started to become more mainstream. Now, many listings get this treatment, and its adoption is widespread. This also took 30 years from invention to being widely adopted.

Digital Video: Digital video was invented in the late 1970s and became commercialized by Sony in 1986. It didn’t hit personal computing until the early ’90s. This also didn’t become mainstream in real estate until the mid-2000s, with widespread usage by approximately 2010 – another 30-year period from commercialization until mainstream.

Now, let’s look at the cutting-edge tactics that our industry is seeing. One might argue that these are just evolutions of their predecessors or variations. That is a valid argument. What can’t be ignored is how fast these technologies are proliferating through our industry.

Drones: They first hit the scene in a commercial format in 2010 and by 2014 were used to market some luxury properties. Now, in 2016, it’s becoming more mainstream, particularly in the luxury market. All this in a six-year period!

3D Modeling: Used primarily for floorplans and, eventually, layouts, it now is used to present full, #D models. This was invented around 2010-2011 when Matterport burst onto the scene. It is now relatively mainstream in real estate. In May 2015, Zillow announced they would be serving up Matterport tours. This was a short four to five-year period from inception to mainstream.

Virtual Reality (VR): From a commercial and personal use, virtual reality was invented in 2013 by Oculus Rift (which was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion.) Google joined the fun in 2014 with the launch of Google Cardboard and turned it into an affordable and practical way to consume content. We saw this creep into our industry in mid-2014. By early 2015, some companies were adopting VR technology for luxury listings. By late 2015, some luxury firms had adopted VR across our country. While this isn’t mainstream yet, we anticipate a three-year window from inception to mainstream – expect it by late 2016 to 2017.

360-degree Video (aka Immersive Video): The newest kid on the block is 360-degree video. It didn’t become on option until YouTube started working with the format in March 2015. Now, many companies such as Ricoh, Alliecam, 360 Fly are producing consumer products for under $500. This isn’t close to mainstream yet, but we have seen early adopters using it in real estate. In less than one year, we already are using this in real estate.

Technology is moving fast and 360-degree video, drones and 3D modeling have now hit our industry. They are transforming the way we market real estate listings. REAL Trends thinks all of these technologies are amazing and will eventually become mainstream. What’s next? Think something futuristic like holograms and projected content. It will take the place of video as we know it!^

This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright 2016.

The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.


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