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Last week Forbes put out their annual report on technology trends to watch in the coming year.  We pulled those trends into real estate to see how they might impact our industry.

1. The Internet-of-Things

The idea of connecting smart home technology is seeing more progress since larger corporations like Google and Amazon have gotten into the fray.  Now that they are pushing forward, 2017 should bring “The Internet-of-Things” (IoT  for short) into the homes of many Americans.  Soon, asking the air for a weather report, shipping confirmation, or to turn on the lights in another room will be commonplace. How will this impact real estate? This is another advancement in how consumers find the information they need.  Certainly, there will come a point where home search enters this realm as well.  The practice of consumers going online and pecking their way to their perfect home might be replaced with something more sophisticated.


2. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Pokémon Go launched this year using Augmented Reality (AR) and it was a huge phenomenon.  A year ago, the New York Times and Google shipped a million disposable virtual reality headsets to their subscribers so they could view content using Virtual Reality (VR).  While there’s been some movement in 2016, next year these technologies will progress. How will this impact real estate? Soon, home tours will be conducted virtually.  While this trend has already started with sites like YouVisit, virtual reality home tours will be available without gear or special equipment.  Google has started down this path with an instant street view.  You can tour a street by simply moving your cursor. In the future, consumers will tour homes the same way.


3. Machine Learning

We spoke of machine learning at length a previous blog entitled Artificial Intelligence Real Estate: Today, Tomorrow and the Future. Machine learning has already impacted consumer behavior by offering better-recommended products online to creating better search results through Google.  This type of technology will become more mainstream in 2017 and further raise consumer expectations about personal online experiences. How will this impact real estate? Real estate search will continue to try and catch up with the search experiences in other industries, mainly consumer products and media.   Today, the search experience on many real estate sites is cumbersome.  Consumers must enter and re-enter several fields to start their search, and the homes are based on a finite set of data.  Future real estate search will put the consumer in the center of the conversation, rather than the property.  Sites will understand each unique consumer and make recommendations based on preferences that go beyond beds, baths, and price range.    Similar to experiences on sites like Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon, real estate search will be more custom and consumer-friendly than ever before.


4. Automation

More tasks that require the human touch today will be automated in the coming year.  There have been some strides in automated content creation, including with ATTOM Data’s own AddressReport, and that trend will continue.  Automation will make individuals more productive and efficient than ever before. How will this impact real estate? 91% of realtors use social media in some form today to help promote their business.   10% have a blog and 62% have a personal website, per the National Association of REALTORS®.  This all adds up to a lot of content creation.  The more this gets automated, the more efficient real estate agents will become.  Agents will be able to spend more time showing homes and less time creating marketing materials that get them noticed.

5. Humanizing Big Data

Big data has been a hot topic in technology the last few years.  From driving business decisions to creating better consumer experiences, big data can have a lot of influence on your business.  But because of its quantitative foundation, it can often be overwhelming, confusing, or unclear how best to use it. Technology advancement will start to overcome this challenge in 2017 by humanizing big data and making it easier to understand, digest, and react. How will this impact real estate? Residential real estate has been using big data to target likely buyers for a few years now.  Next year, big data in real estate may take an even more active role.   For those realtors using social media to target, that intelligence should get even more robust and easy to use.  This might also expand to areas outside social media.  Data is accessible today, but as big data companies make this data easier to use and digest, big data will become a real asset in making the right decisions for your real estate business.

6. Physical- Digital Interactions

The physical and digital world are starting to blend together with advancing technologies.  You can see that with Augmented Reality (see above) and with the trend of physical-digital interactions.  It’s this idea of ordering something from Target on your phone and then going to the store to pick it up.  Amazon’s dash buttons are another example of this.  Stick a physical button on your washing machine and when you’re running low on detergent, press that button and replacement detergent is automatically shipped to your door.  Look for more instances of this transformation in the coming year. How will this impact real estate? In addition to lock boxes on houses, what about a button that alerts the nearest real estate agent to show the home instantly?  Consumers driving around a neighborhood can get an instant showing of any home on the market.


7. Everything on Demand

Get your laundry, ride, groceries, dinner, date, massage and more with a click of a button on the latest app.  Yes – the trend of making this easy and instant continues (think of all the startups that are trying to be the next “Uber”). 2017 will show no signs of letting up in this area.   If anything, services that offer meal and grocery delivery that are now ubiquitous in big cities will start to gain prominence in more suburban and rural communities.  As one article recently put it: “even your grandma will be using GrubHub in 2017.” How will this impact real estate? We are creating a consumer that expects instant gratification.  Our collective attention span, which is already less than a goldfish, is only getting shorter.  Technology will help make more instant connections between interested consumers and available agents.  Companies like CurbCall and  the Real app are already exploring this area.  Companies that embrace this technology and all of the technological advances listed above will reap rewards in the coming year. Bottom line is that real estate should evolve with these exciting technologies in 2017.  If you’re interested in learning more about what technology can do for your business, contact us today.

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