Wearable tech

Is Wearable Technology Closing the Gender Gap?

“Digital fluency” – or the extent to which both men and women have embraced digital technologies to achieve a competitive advantage – is leveling the playing field for men and women in commercial real estate.

RE:Tech says that wearables and other emerging technologies have a positive impact on education and the creation of opportunities for women in commercial real estate. And the future looks promising as millennials mature and move into the ranks of leadership at work.

Results of a RE:Tech › Insight study of 200 Manhattan-based brokers show that women are five times more likely to use or experiment with early stage technology than men, citing technology’s boost in making them more agile and connected on social media.

Across industries, body-worn devices are becoming mainstream and replacing the function of the traditional clipboard and pen. This is particularly beneficial for workers in distribution centers, where freeing up handheld clutter is a valuable time-saver. Employees at a Tesco distribution center wear armbands that track goods being moved through nearly 10 miles of shelving, helping the U.K. supermarket chain streamline logistics by eliminating paper checklists and allowing managers to monitor completion times.

Deloitte’s Tech Trends 2016 says wearable technologies for augmented reality and virtual reality solutions have “potential to recast long-standing business processes and tasks while opening a door to fundamentally new experiences” by making it possible to depict actual places. Think of the application to CRE development. Care to see the view from the 65th floor of a new (unbuilt) skyscraper, or want to fly through a massive distribution center to see the breadth of the project and technologies within?

Smart glasses are just one of the tools making that happen, says Realcomm. Leading innovators are creating smart glasses on Google’s Android platform that integrate with CRE apps. “[…] architects can visualize plans and 3D models at the proposed building site, maintenance personnel can see visual alerts from building sensors, and repair personnel can view step-by-step instructions and consult a remote expert for the task at hand,” said Ketan Joshi, vice president with Atheer Labs, one developer of smart glasses.

With any technology comes controversy. Are employees being monitored beyond performance? What privacies might be violated, if any? Wearable gadgets collect personal and valuable information, connect to the internet, take photos and track movement. What threats does this pose for employees – and even for employers who risk infringement of intellectual property?

Do you personally use wearable technology for your work? Is your company using virtual reality to showcase property? Do you perceive differences in the use and rate of adoption of this technology by men and women? Sound off in the comments and share your experiences with Market Share readers.

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