Arguably the craziest piece of innovation I’ve seen come across my news feed is Google Glass. Google was kind enough to put together a short video clip to help us imagine how life might look in a year or so when these glasses are slated to be released into the wild. For now, Google Glass is being tested by a select few in Silicon Valley.
It’s safe to assume that if you rank each significant innovation on the scale of 1-10, 10 being a Television and 1 being Sliced Bread, Google Glass would rank in the 8-10 range, depending on user experience. Think back to when the iPad was introduced. Did property managers immediately jump onto this innovation? No. A few were sporting iPads as a fashion statement, until around a year ago, when the mighty iPad was integrated into the daily life of some of the more innovative property managers.
The iPad was a significant innovation; however, it would still rank around 6 on my scale. Essentially, it’s a genius concept of slightly enlarged phone with no phone service. On the other hand, Google Glass take us a step closer to the singularity, the term Ray Kurzweil coined and defined as humans transcending biology.
I believe Google Glass and similar innovations will have an immense impact on a number of industries, including ours – Property Management.
Inspections are time consuming and unless you are doing a full video, your owners have little insight into the real condition of their property. Probably the most significant impact will come from the ability to record/dictate the inspection as you see it and share it with your owner via email, Facebook, Google, or whatever other digital means of communications you prefer.
How much time can you save? An incredible amount! Record the video and voice-over as you walk the property, upload to your company’s Facebook page and link it to the vacancy ad. Or how about live webinar-style showings to potential renters? Virtual investment property walkthroughs, anyone?
The possibilities for time savings are great. Write up the owner’s contract, have it signed and scan and email just by looking at it. Send and file a digital copy of a lease agreement in a blink of an eye. Digitize paper documents just by looking at them.
How many tenants will pay with a paper check in 2013? My guess is, for most Property Managers, 20% will still be checks/money orders. How about depositing your checks just by looking at them? Sure, Chase already does this with mobile deposits. Google Glass will make it even more efficient. Open the envelope, log the check into your software, and blink to deposit – sweet!
Virtual staff meetings, sharing documents between employees, and total connectivity with your social networks.
I don’t even have to say anything for this section to make total sense. Can you even imagine helping someone with a problem while seeing it through their eyes? Literally?
Innovations like Google Glass have the power to completely re-shape the way we do things. Unless companies learn to manage change and internalize innovation, no other competitive advantage will matter. The only way to thrive in our fast paced world is to instill the culture of innovation, embrace cloud technologies, grow your social networks, use video technologies to communicate with your constituencies and embrace your office geek. After all, she is the one who’ll save your company.