The Chicago Association of REALTORS®, the “Voice for Real Estate” in Chicago since 1883, represents over 17,000 members from all real estate specialties including commercial sales, development, property management, appraisal, auctions and residential sales.
REALTORS® must take steps to ensure their safety. A topic of national discussion following last fall’s kidnapping and murder of an Arkansas agent, the industry’s typical practices — working alone, meeting prospective clients at empty homes, and revealing personal details in online bios – have come under great scrutiny. And those who brush off safety concerns are making themselves easier targets.
To help members better understand the risks they face, NAR has expanded their REALTOR® Safety Program, with a toolkit for homeowner safety and security, as well as a series of videos, webinars, and a new REALTOR® safety course. They’ll also be sharing safety tips to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram every Monday, which can easily be shared by members and clients.
But there are other tools, too, that can help you stay safe on the job. Several wearables are tapping into existing technology to make your security the priority.
Apple’s hottest new toy also has practical safety applications. Using Siri, you can send messages to update contacts on your status or share your location on the map. And, developers are now releasing safety apps to supplement what you can upload to your iPhone. MrGabriel combines the Watch’s wearable sensor technology with machine learning and real-time data to keep you out of harm’s way. Two modes, “Run” and “Walk with Me,” monitor any sudden moves or changes of pace that could be interpreted as signs of danger. Before any message is sent out to your chosen “angels” (emergency contacts), the app sends you a message asking if you’re ok. If you don’t dismiss the message, the alert is then triggered, with your exact location and phone number.
Soon, you’ll be able to upload safety apps like Watch Over Me, a streamlined alternative to the standard panic button apps which tracks your location via GPS for a predefined journey time until you check in safely. If you fail to check in once the time is up, it’ll automatically notify your emergency contact list via email, Facebook or text. If using the app on your iPhone, you can shake your phone to trigger an emergency alert, and also turn on the camera to record what’s happening around you.
Another great app is bSafe, which allows you to set up your own personal safety social network of friends, family and coworkers to easily share locations and follow along on Follow Me’s live GPS trace. It also includes a fake call feature, so you can make the phone ring when you want it to.
CUFF is a small device that can fit in several styles of specially-designed jewelry. If you’re ever in trouble, simply press the CUFF to send an alert of your GPS coordinates to your emergency contacts. Beyond the safety function, it’s highly useful for receiving notifications; using Bluetooth technology, it notifies you of important calls and texts, and in the next model, will also track your fitness and movements. It doesn’t require any charging, maintaining its battery for up to a year before it needs to be replaced. And, the jewelry is actually stylish (and therefore, discreet), which places it ahead of its counterparts in terms of aesthetics.
V.ALRT is an ergonomically-designed wearable help button that can be carried in a pocket or bag, worn on the wrist or around your neck. It functions similarly to the CUFF and Guardian Angel, in that it works through Bluetooth at the press of the button to trigger a message with your GPS coordinates. Its major benefit is its size, roughly that of a quarter, as well as its unisex design. CR readers can use the code “crmag” to get $20 off.
For more products and apps, and to access the REALTOR® Safety Program, click here.
13% of REALTORS® use a smart phone safety app
Commonly Used Apps