A Glimpse into the (not so distant) Future? [UPDATED]

A few week ago Jeremiah Owyang (@jowyang) tweeted a photo from inside the Hyatt Hotel in Santa Clara, CA. The photo, as you can see below shows how the hotel manager rolls around the hotel while remaining stationary.

As you can see, this rolling stand with an iPad mounted on top allows the hotel manager to tour the hotel without leaving his office (or wherever else he may be). The fact that the manager’s face is on the iPad makes sure this doesn’t feel like a Star Wars recon droid, and the onboard camera and mic actually allow him to have a conversation with the “real life” people he encounters.

So, as expected, I saw this and immediately thought about what a great tool this could be for a model home. Imagine having one or two these on each floor of your model home (versions that climbs steps would be great). Your prospects visit your website and then provide a valid email address to take a “live walkthrough” of the model. Your prospects actually pilot the iPads through the model, looking at the rooms or their choice. Salespeople are in the model, as usual, and available to demonstrate the model to the propsects on the other side of the iPad camera.

Boom. Virtual model demonstration.

Please. Someone make this happen. Now.

UPDATE 2/27/13: I spoke to Jay from Double Robotics, the maker of the robot in the photo. These units are still in prototype phase, with pre-orders shipping beginning in March 2013. The pre-order price is $1,999; $2499 later. He also told me that Double was recently invited to the Inman Connect conference in July, so apparently I wasn’t the only one who saw real estate application for their invention.

UPDATE 2/28/13: Jay from Double Robotics kindly left a comment below and pointed out that I incorrectly referred to the Double as a “prototype.”  Plus… 900 pre-orders. Very impressive.

Dennis O'Neil

Dennis O'Neil


Dennis has spent over 22 years using the internet to sell and market new homes. He blogs about internet marketing for home builders here, wrote a book about technology's impact on the sales process, and is a respected speaker on advanced internet marketing and the online sales process.

  • http://twitter.com/RobWinters01 Rob Winters

    Dennis, this is a brilliant idea, thanks for sharing it. This would cut a huge step out of the online sales process: getting buyers into the show home. nnIt would convert seekers into prospects, and engage them in real-time conversation – bringing them closer to a sale in a shorter time. I wish I thought of this!

    • http://www.dennisoneil.com Dennis O’Neil

      Thanks for your comment Rob. I’m with you. It would take the online experience one step closer to actually being there. And, of course, provide a completely unique experience for the shopper.nnWhat I think I like most though is that it would provide a new opportunity for salespeople to speak with website shoppers that would otherwise go uncontacted. The shoppers get to interact with the model from the convenience of their own chair and builders get more feedback than they ever would measuring anonymous website traffic.

  • http://jayliew.com/ Jay Liew

    Thanks Dennis! I didn’t even know @jowyang tweeted this. Every day we hear new stories and ideas from customers on how they plan on using the Double, and it’s stuff that we never would have thought of 🙂 Please feel free to share any thoughts with me: jay@doublerobotics.com It’s not just a prototype, we’re going to ship our 1st customer a unit in a month or two (we have a backlog of over 900 pre-orders). We’ve made improvements in hardware & software since that picture was taken at the Hyatt just a few weeks ago – including having a downward facing camera!

    • http://www.dennisoneil.com Dennis O’Neil

      Thanks for the additional clarification Jay! Congratulations on the buzz. It seems your team has really put together a product with many applications and tons of potential. I look forward to your updates.