Technological advances often affect daily life in ways that would be hard to predict. Who would have thought that Velcro, or hand-held vacuum cleaners would result from the race to put a man into orbit? Yet both of them were developed by NASA to facilitate life in space.


We use technology every day in ways a developer would never have intended. And Silicon Valley’s stated aim to ‘disrupt’ staid, stuck-in-the-past fields has resulted in major innovations in nearly every industry. Housing is no exception. In recent years, the industry has embraced a number of high-tech innovations that help renters, owners, and construction companies. Here are a few of the most exciting advances in housing over the past few years.


3-D Printing

When it comes to construction, you don’t need 3D glasses to see the benefits of 3D printing. It’s a real boon for designers and architects, who will be able to exert more creative control over their buildings. Because additive manufacturing allows designers to print materials only as needed, it cuts down on waste, and since designers can print structures with fewer connecting points, those structures have the potential to be sturdier than traditional lumber and concrete. 


But the real benefit of 3D printing is its speed. Already, companies have 3D-printed entire homes in as little as 24 hours, and sections of mansions for assembly in just 45 days.


Drones

It’s easy to see how drones would be useful on a construction site. They’re useful surveying tools and can give a construction crew an “eye in the sky” to view progress and guide heavy equipment. 


But drones also have uses when it comes to determining rent prices. According to the CNBC, a commercial real estate information agency is now using military-grade drones to monitor new construction. Currently, construction is mainly tracked through building permits, which can change a lot by the project’s end. With drones, real estate agencies can gain access to real-time information about where new multifamily residences are popping up and when they’re likely to affect the surrounding rental market. 


Virtual & Augmented Reality

Virtual and augmented reality is an obvious fit for the housing market. It’s an advantage for architects, who can use it to see their designs in 3D without having to build (or even 3D print) a model. They can also use technologies like the Hololens to collaborate with off-site teams, every member of which can experience a 3D environment. That makes it easy to communicate with construction sites in real time.  


VR is already a prominent part of the consumer experience, offering the ability to experience a potential apartment or home without ever setting foot inside. Apartment listing website ABODO, for example, uses Matterport technology to allow prospective tenants to take 3D tours of apartments and properties — no headset necessary. 


Smart Devices (IoT)

Smart devices are an easy selling point for consumers, who appreciate the control and customization that such technology has to offer. Smart devices can adjust your lighting, change your air temperature, check your home for intruders, and monitor your home’s energy usage — all with minimum input from you. That’s good news not only for consumers, but owners and property managers who can better predict and monitor their buildings’ security and energy consumption. 


This article was provided by Sam Radbil, a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO. ABODO Austin apartments was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin.