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Real estate agents use smartphones to open homes

POSTED: July 1, 2013 12:44 a.m.
NAT GURLEY/The Times

Kim Waters holds in her right hand the older ActiveKey infrared transceiver that opened lockboxes on properties. It is being replaced by the new, much smaller IR fob that plugs into a smartphone - the white dongle and dark phone in her left hand.

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Area real estate agents have been using a new technology to open houses.

Several agents at Norton North Georgia Real Estate have been using the Supra eKey app on their smartphones to open lockboxes that contain house keys.

While Norton agents have used cellular radio transceivers for approximately 10 years, the advent of the smartphone app and accompanying key fob have made the process more convenient, agent Kim Waters said.

“It’s a convenience and a security feature,” she said. “When a lockbox is opened, it notifies the agent so they know who opened the box and when they did it.

“The fob, which is required to use the app, attaches to your keyring so it’s something less that we have to keep track of.”

The Supra eKey works through the use of an infrared-capable key fob, which connects to a smartphone. Using a smartphone app, real estate agents can then enter a key code to open the Supra iBox, a lockbox that agents commonly use to secure house keys.

The app also allows agents to manage who can open their lockboxes, when they can be opened, and what codes are required to remove them. It tracks the boxes by serial codes and adds a number of business features.

Not every agent is using the technology, though. Only three Norton agents regularly use the eKeys, Waters said.

“It’s not exactly dependable yet. A few people have said that there are still a lot of bugs with the smartphone app,” she said. “Some agents are waiting for better reports of reliability.”



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