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Maskot, Getty Images
Maskot, Getty Images

Expansion of 5G Will Reshape Communities and Real Estate

5G – the next generation of internet connecting – will change the way we collect data, drive cars, pay for devices, buy homes and make real estate marketing decisions.

CHICAGO – Speakers at the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) conference looked at the ways the nation’s upgrade to 5G – the next and extra-fast generation of internet connecting – will impact the real estate industry and discussed the importance of high-speed internet for effective applications of augmented and virtual reality.

“Although we don’t necessarily see the direct impact of 5G on real estate yet, there are ancillary applications that will rely heavily on 5G, such as IoT (Internet of Things) sensors, autonomous vehicles, smart cities and others that will potentially change where and how people live,” said Dan Weisman, NAR’s director of emerging technology.

“I look at 5G as a rebuild of our mobile network, “said Doug Zimmers, AT&T’s lead of 5G business development. “5G is driven really by the environment that we’re in today. Everyone is connected and everyone has a mobile device. And, taken a step further, we have IoT devices in the field where machines are communicating with other machines.”

Zimmers gave an example: when you use a mobile device to scan a QVR code on a parking meter to pay a parking fee.

“This is where the network is being rebuilt,” he said. “5G isn’t so much about bandwidth and speeds, it’s about providing an environment in which we can support immersive and advanced technologies … to handle what could be millions of connected devices in a small geographic area.”

Weisman asked a representative from Lutron, a global leader in smart lighting and shading control systems, to explain how smart device technology will continue to change in the near future.

“Over the last couple of years, the evolution of smart home technology has been tremendous,” said Melissa Andresko, Lutron’s chief corporate brand ambassador. “When we started hearing a lot more about IoT three or four years ago and people started talking about putting these devices in your home, you would hear two questions from people most often. The first was ‘Is it complex?’ And the second was, ‘Why do I need it?” And I think manufacturers have done a tremendous job addressing both of those issues.”

Andresko noted that smart home technologies had not long ago begun to develop a reputation as being “gadget-y.”

“I remember walking the halls at trade shows and seeing things that shouldn’t be connected to the internet,” she recalled. “Just because you can connect it doesn’t mean you should. You need to be connecting practical things and you need to give people practical reasons to have these products.

“What I think is most fascinating is that we’ve evolved from having this cache of being gadget-y to today with smart home technology solving real-world problems. And manufacturers have done a great job simplifying the installation process and improving the connectivity with other devices.”

Lutron recently announced an alliance with Ring, which allows inside or outside lights to come on when any specified actions are detected by a Ring camera or device.

Weisman then asked Dan Swan, co-founder of RealAR, to explain the difference between augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

“VR is all about immersive experiences and headsets, whereas AR tends to be more focused on other devices – which for us is the smart phone,” said Swan, who is also the CEO of RealAR, an augmented real estate app that helps people see property in a life-size scale on a smart phone. “We want to make our experiences super simple and super streamlined, and as you’re going through the real estate buying or selling process, we want to make it accessible for everyone as quickly as possible without them having to really even think about it.

“Now, in the time of the pandemic, we’re seeing much higher, deeper demand for things like remote viewings. So, you could be on-site with a customer and walk them around a property and look at a different configuration of furniture, or you could also be on the other side of that world and have that same conversation using augmented reality,” Swan said.

“For us, that’s where we’re seeing 5G as a really exciting, enabling, emerging technology.”

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