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How Screen Culture Touches the Multifamily Industry

We’ve all heard the expression, “Life can turn on a dime,” which is used to describe something that changes direction quickly in a very small space. Today, it would be fitting to substitute “technology” for “life” when using this expression with the way advancements are whizzing around our personal stratospheres daily.


These technological advancements have created a change in the way people behave, one of which has been dubbed “screen culture.” In 2012, Trendwatching.comone of the world’s leading consumer trends firms, identified screen culture as less of a trend in itself, but more the medium through which so many trends will manifest themselves. Specifically, the website says that 2012 will see three mega-tech currents converge: screens will be (even more): ubiquitous / mobile / cheap / always on; interactive and intuitive (via touch screens, tablets and so on); and an interface to everything and anything that lies beyond the screen (via the mobile web and, increasingly and finally mainstream in 2012, ‘the cloud’). 


According to PC Magazine, the touch screen that is the “screen” portion of this culture is, “…a display screen that is sensitive to the touch of a finger or stylus. Widely used on ATM machines, retail point-of-sale terminals, car navigation systems, medical monitors and industrial control panels, the touch screen became wildly popular on handhelds after Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007.”



The future for most devices will be one where consumers will care less about the devices themselves and more about the screen, or rather what’s being accessed through it.



You’re a professional working in the multifamily housing industry. You understand the prevalence of screen culture in our society, and while it may affect you on a personal level, you’re wondering how it affects you on a professional level.



How does this information impact your work day and your industry?

  • Augmented RealityApartment hunters on-the-go can browse listings by zip code, price, size, etc, and view them on a map with directions from your location.
  • Mobile renters use their smartphones and tablets for everything from downloading apartment search apps, inquiring about rentals, looking at pictures and watching videos to viewing floor plans, availability, pricing and forwarding any or all of this information on to family and friends through social media like Facebook and Twitter.
  • Using Augmented Reality, apartment seekers can view apartments for rent through the camera of their phone through an app. An augmented reality system generates a composite view for the user that is the combination of the real scene viewed by the user and a virtual scene generated by the computer that augments the scene with additional information.
  • Print advertisers can include a property-specific scan tag on their ad. Apartment shoppers can then simply take a picture of the tag using their smartphone and the tag reader sends them directly to the property information on the mobile website. 
  • iPad’s Leasing app allows leasing agents and property managers to be more productive than ever and convert more tours into leases. The bulky three-ring binder is quickly being replaced by iPads that prospective renters can use to browse the location’s available units based on the amount of bedrooms, bathrooms and amenities.  They can view pictures, floor plans, local neighborhood information and even take a virtual walk-thru. Prospects can get a quote and even apply right then and there using the application. 

The evidence of the prevalence of a screen culture is most apparent in children. This little person’s leanings and learning’s are quite evident in the cute video below that perfectly personifies that screen culture is more than a trend and already has become a way of life for the next generation. 


[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXV-yaFmQNk 433x300]



And screen culture examples (will) keep coming. In 2012, keep an eye on the iPhone5 and the new iPad. And on the Kindle Fire. And on the Aakash tablet. Large screens will see an overhaul too: from Apple iTV and Samsung’s SmartTV, to a whole host of apps available with GoogleTV to LG’s 3D projector to Sony’s future TV plans. 



Looking further ahead, how about the OmniTouch, a wearable prototype device (from Microsoft Research Redmond) which transforms any surface into a touch screen via projection? Or Samsung’s flexible screens and screen-embedded windows? 



As that dime continues spinning faster and faster, professionals working in the multifamily housing will benefit greatly from not just keeping an eye on it but also bearing its proclivity in mind as they budget for technological advancements for 2013.



What technical advancements will you budget for in 2013? Leave us a comment and let us know!

By: Brenda Welch, marketing manager at For Rent Media Solutions


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