Connected cars and real estate

“The Internet of Things”

If there is a technology term more laden with buzz than this right now, I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps “wearables” or “drones.”

The idea isn’t particularly new, either. I can remember over decade ago in a previous life, researching and writing about all kinds of cool new technology gadgets. The idea then was that, perhaps someday in the future, they would all be able to talk to each other via the web.

And right now, even as I type this post, I’m staring at the remains of my beloved, darkened Chumby. Consigned to a much too early grave, it heralded a world when even your humble alarm clock would connect to the Internet.

And while we still have a long way to go, this world doesn’t seem that far off anymore. Cisco expects that by 2020 there will be over 50 billion connected objects, most of the growth coming from devices that are not currently wired.

The Internet in your car

This trip down memory lane was spurred by the announcement of Apple’s new CarPlay initiative last week.

Your vehicle is one of the next battlegrounds in the Internet of Everything. And it’s a pretty obvious one. As North Americans, we spend a lot of time in our cars. Most of them now have some kind of screen and yet, with very few exceptions, our cars are still pretty “dumb.”

CarPlay is attempting to change that by bringing iOS software to in-car displays, and adds a number of native Apple apps to the experience: namely Siri, iTunes and Messages. Third-party apps like Spotify, Stitcher and iHeartRadio are also promised, as is platform support for even more apps.

Of course my thoughts immediately go to the real estate angle – surely the portals have this on their roadmaps. In fact, anyone else remember Trulia’s integration with the Dash Express GPS? We’ve gone down this road before.

Could we see a Zillow or app on CarPlay in the near future? Time will tell. But my money is on a strong probably.

It certainly makes sense. Nearly every real estate experience includes people getting in their cars and driving around.

I guess the point in all of this is that the real estate technology race will continue to expand Le Mans-like as new screens, new places — new “things” — come online. And while I suspect this means it is going to get busier, more complex and more expensive to compete, it also means potential new onramps for new competitors.

So open roads ahead. Enjoy the ride.