Have We Reached Push-back?

Shooting video as you peer through a window with Google Glass

Watching the Google I/O keynote speech last week I half-heartedly expected a repeat of last years action packed Google Glass introduction. Honestly it was sort of a let down when it didn’t happen. Instead, Google focused more on other technologies like their new music offering. This got me thinking…was the downplay of Google Glass a direct result of push-back we have seen from people who think they are somehow being secretly video taped or wonder if the wearer is secretly viewing information about them like their financial state or whether they have been arrested?

Lately we are seeing more and more push-back from people worried about giving up too much of their privacy in exchange for new technology. We are seeing push-back in technology from many different segments. Even Google has had push-back from Google Streetview mapping where people didn’t want houses, addresses, or themselves photographed. Or take the smart grid technology space for example. One key component of smart grid is smart meters. These intelligent meters can provide anonymous (or not) feedback to power companies about your power usage and habits to help both you and the power company better plan for power needs and help be more conservative about using power. Unfortunately the power companies forgot one thing. They forgot to get consumer buy in. Without this, many felt smart meters were another way for both big business or big government to spy on them and use that information to the company or government’s advantage against consumers. All over the world, we are seeing community after community rethinking their smart meter roll out plans or scrapping them altogether. At least until we have consumer buy in or safeguards and privacy policies against misuse that clearly make the consumer feel more at ease.

So what can Google learn from this? People are starting to value privacy more and more. But is the cat already out of the bag with regard to Google. We already give up our email, photos, and web search history to Google. What else doesn’t Google already know about us? Was making Google Glass available to developers before you had won over consumers the right thing to do? I mean, without the developers we wouldn’t have all those cool “free” apps we have downloaded on our Android phones. Humm, just how does that “free” app get paid for anyway? I wonder if anyone thought of putting code in those free apps that could track users and collect data about them. I bet that data would be worth it to someone like…Google. Could the same type of thing be used with Google Glasses, like say face recognition software that could ID you and geocode the photo of you at a certain place and time? Or other information about traffic, what people wear,…think about the information we can now glean from a single photo or video.

I personally don’t think Google has anything like this mind. But I still think Google, or any other company for that matter must win over consumers first

So have we reached the point of consumer pushback where we are no longer willing to give up more privacy in exchange for the latest technology? What do you think?

What Am I Doing Here?

DSCF0006

After promising myself I would finish working on my new WordPress websites (all 3), I decided to spend a little time today working on additional content.

First, the purpose of the site was to try and bring together my experience, ideas, and projects on one space.  The one thing I can honestly say is I probably try to do to much.  But who doesn’t.  Besides, do what you enjoy and when you have the chance, share what you know with others.

If you want to get a little background on me, go here and read my About section.  For the most part I have always been involved in sales and business development in the technology sector.  This is true except for the 8 year stint I have been involved in Real-Estate.  Now I have to split my time with the two professions I really love;  technology and real-estate.

I have always asked myself what it was about these two that makes them so interesting.  I think it is the fact that no two days are the same, no two opportunities are the same, and both require you to put together a solution for that particular client.  The challenge and the variety must be the things that appeal most.  Either way they are what I do.

Real Estate

From a real estate perspective, I enjoy working with rural properties you typically find in areas like Chatham County.  They offer the convenience of living in a larger area like Raleigh, Chapel Hill, or Cary, but typically without the traffic and you have a little more room to stretch your legs.  There are things that come with buying or selling property in a rural area, like the fact you have septic tanks instead of municipal sewer and you have wells instead of city water.  But if you understand these and a few other rural related things you will find the rewards can be substantial in terms of quality of life.

Rural real estate can mean large acreage residential living, or a farm.  But it can also be living in your typical gated community, subdivision, or golf community.  The only difference living in one of these in a rural area and living in one in the city is what you find when you turn right or left out of your development.  Instead of a gas station, your likely to find farmland, lakes, and lots of trees.  Your also likely to notice more stars at night and hear a lot more crickets.

Rural can also mean large tracts of land, lots and other undeveloped properties.  Like anything else there is a certain amount of knowledge requied to navigate these transactions.  I like to think that over the years of doing many of these I have developed a unique knowledge most Realtors don’t possess.  This knowledge has allowed me to work on some of the largest land deals in the region and meet some very interesting people.

There are also quite a few commercial properties in rural area like Pittsboro.  The largest single commercial transaction in the area was in fact done by me.  I listed the property and I sold the property.  It was the 34,000 sq. ft building known locally as the Pittstop building.  It was constructed by a NASCAR team and housed their entire corporation, including a racing themed restaurant called “The Pittstop”.  The team decided to close and relocate and I contacted the owner about selling the building.  I listed the building and then sold it to an investment group in less than 30 days.  This was quite a feat given the building was totally empty.  It required me to work with the buyer group and put together a plan for leasing the building, which I did.  Once the building closed, I had the building leased to various tenants such as the YMCA, a pharmesutical company, and others in less than one year.  This sale is still the largest single commercial transaction in the area.

Technology

When I left IBM to start my own company and get involved in real estate, I was working on some pretty interesting technologies.  Even during my time as a Realtor I always kept one foot in technology, as evident from the technology section here and my technology website.

My experience in technology early on was mostly in CAD/CAM/and CAE systems and their associated technologies like Product Data Management (PDM) and later Product Life Cycle Management (PLM).  These technologies offered the first glimps into Document Management and Web Collaboration, the precursor to technologies like WebEx and GoToMeeting.  Because of this, I became a content expert in these areas and began to use a phrase I called Web Interaction (Interactive Commerce).  I wrote an article for a National Web Commerce magazine that led to a number of interviews and other activities, including development projects and even a patent for an Interactive TV solution that was presented at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Most recently the technologies I have been involved with were leveraging open source software to solve some verticle market challenges.  The first application I tackled was a contact management system for use in real estate or similar industries.  There were key features that these industries need that are not being met with commercially available solutions today.  The result was a system I called the “Agent Portal”.  It was based on an open source technology called SugarCRM.  The demo video I posted on YouTube has resulted in overwhelming request for the application.  I am working with various partners to bring the system to market at a hosted per month solution.

The next application I tackled was for handling contracts and documents.  I was contacted by a friend of mine that owns his own real estate firm.  He was looking for some way to put all his client contracts and documents online.  He was tired of having rooms full of file cabinets and when he needed to locate a clients contracts it would take too long to try and find.  He wanted something that would store the documents online, offer automatic backups, and allow him to search for documents based on some basic information like client name, property address, or date.  The result was a real estate document management system based on an open source technology called KnowledgeTree.  Again a video demo was posted on YouTube that resulted in many request for the technology.

Other things I have worked on and currently working on include a WordPress solution for service industries like real estate that operate in the Business to Consumer arena.  The solution leverages the benefits of WordPress in Google searches and the knowledge of the business owner to provide Search Engine Optimization organically and free.  The system integrates with Social Media to maximize visibility and their pressence on the web.

There are too many other projects to mention here, like the GIS to GPS system that downloads property lines from local government GIS websites to a handheld GPS to allow someone to walk the property and know where they area and where the property lines are.  You can read more about these and other things I’m working on, or read one my syndicated technology columns on the web at sites like NewsGeni.us.