Editor’s note: Downloading deals and uploading investment

Is Bitcoin getting a little played out?

In our cover story this issue, we look at the new technology that has the potential to revolutionize real estate — way beyond the get-rich-quick cryptocurrency fad that has received so much attention.

While Bitcoin has been used in the occasional property deal, reporter Konrad Putzier breaks down the real game-changing technologies with the greatest potential to uproot the industry’s bottom line: namely, artificial intelligence, smart buildings, virtual and augmented reality, construction robotics, beacons and 3D printing.

It’s amazing how far real estate has come from the days when brokers would fax listings back and forth between offices. As we detail in the story, for example, a growing number of companies are looking to rewire the sales and brokerage markets through artificial intelligence — making investment decisions based on algorithms.

There are the remote-controlled demolition robots that helped Related Companies clear the way for an office skyscraper at Hudson Yards. There are tiny beacons that can be used to provide GPS inside a property, not just outdoors. And the next wave of virtual reality technology could transform real estate sales and leasing, as well as architecture and design.

Maybe one day we’ll all have microchips hardwired into our brains that will provide instant access to the internet, so all information can be retrieved immediately and shared with others without uttering a word, creating a kind of “hive mind.” But until then, these advances are pretty impressive.

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You’ll also see some digital innovation in this issue as well.

Our “At the Desk of” feature this month includes a QR code that you can scan with your phone or computer to play a special video. The story takes you inside the office of Alfa Development’s Mary Louise Perlman; the video gives you a chance to watch her perform her music — she played in an electro-pop-punk band called Spalding Rockwell for nearly a decade (Perlman describes the music as “proto-Lady Gaga”).

Expect much more of that in the future — access to slideshows and short documentary-style videos, links to downloadable databases and extended interviews — as you peruse or skim through our issues. The print magazine is a portal to the online, bringing you the best of both worlds. (If you don’t know how this all works, go to the app store on your device and download QR Reader or any other similarly named program. Then open up the app and place your phone over the bar code image on page 26, and voilà — it will automatically load the video.)

Elsewhere in the issue, we’ve got our annual ranking of the top residential brokerages. It was a tougher year, as the majority of firms posted lower sales volumes. Meanwhile, on the commercial side, our investment sales brokerage ranking  showed a big reshuffling among the top firms following the move of Doug Harmon and Adam Spies from Eastdil to Cushman in late 2016.

We also take a look at the increasing number of condo developers turning to lenders to modify their loans — as secretly as possible — amid a weaker sales climate and examine the fast-expanding Brooklyn MLS and the challenges it faces in a fast-changing environment for real estate listings.

On top of our February issue, there’s a lot more essential real estate intel to chew on this month with The Real Deal’s annual Data Book. Now in its 13th edition and clocking in at 148 pages, it’s the most comprehensive almanac of New York City real estate — with more industry rankings than ever before, as well as all the essential facts and figures on the market.

Check it out and enjoy the issue!