Technology

Reflections on Realogy FWD

Author
Joel Burslem
No.
881
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The week before last we were in New Jersey for Realogy’s annual FWD Innovation Summit. It was another stand-out event where we got a sneak peak at some of the new companies and technologies innovating in the real estate space.

You can get a great rundown of the day’s proceedings at Joe Rand’s liveblog. But here are a few additional observations from my vantage point, now that I’ve had some time to digest everything.

The winner, Matterport, put on a great demo. Their 3D technology is stunning – and I remain more convinced than ever that this technology will be the next big thing in real estate. What really piqued my interest this year, however, was the price. We’re now at a point where the camera costs less than $5K and a single tour can be processed and published for a few hundred bucks.

3D is nearing affordability for even smallish to mid-size brokerages that want to invest in this technology to market homes.

CO Everywhere demo’d their platform, which scrapes and aggregates social media content around location. Their founder Tony Longo is a longtime real estate guy and friend, and also founded CondoDomain, one of the first web-based brokerages.

What they didn’t have a chance to demo publicly – they ran out of time – was their Google Glass app. But I had a chance to try this on over lunch and was very impressed.

I’m not a big fan of Glass. In fact, I think the whole project is bit goofy, but what CO Everywhere showed me was a glimpse into a future – one that’s not so far off – where the digital world collides head-on (no pun intended) into the terrestrial world.

Basically, as soon as you put on Glass and fire up the app, you immediately see, overlayed into your field of view, any Instagram images that have been geotagged to that location. It was a bit like staring backwards into time, or at the very least like some kind of crazy X-ray vision into moments from the past.

Kooky, yes – given the assortment of strange images than can be found on social media, but it’s mind-boggling nonetheless. I am still trying to wrap my head around the applications and the implications.

But, the point is, we’re rapidly approaching a world where every piece of published digital content will be easily accessed and consumed by anyone, anywhere.

Slide Bureau was another product that caught my eye. I’ve been advocating privately for some time that one of the big needs in real estate is for someone to build a great-looking listing presentation app, and this group has done it.

Their very slick iPad app gives agents just enough control over the materials they’re trying to create, while at the same time preserving the broker’s brand and identity. Slide Bureau keeps the creative process in check, and layers in some slick tech goodies (real-time mirroring of the presentation on the web, embedded data) that make the trade-off worth it.

Man, what I wouldn’t have done for a tool like this in the marketing department at the brokerage where I once worked. I’ve seen some pretty heinous listing presentations in my time.

Finally, the last company that caught my eye was GoConnect, an app built by the smart dudes behind Go Realty. It’s a pretty simple checklist app for real estate agents that helps them make sure all the t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted in a transaction.

Simple… but smart. And necessary. More importantly, I think GoConnect is a great example of how true “mobile-first” design can be applied to B2B real estate software.

Folks, the comet has already crashed into real estate. GoConnect is a great example of one of the survivors, the new breed of software vendors who are only building software for the computer that every agent is using today – their smartphone.

Mobile is the biggest transformative shift this industry has faced since listings first went online. And the seismic waves have only just begun.

***

The best way I could describe my mood leaving New Jersey and its atrocious humidity, was one of renewed optimism. There are so many smart people building so many cool ideas for our industry. More importantly, the largest company in real estate has opened itself up to listen and embrace all this innovation and the creators behind it.

It’s very empowering and exciting.

Cheers to all involved.

[Disclosure: Realogy is a client of 1000watt’s and we helped with the production of FWD.]