Top 5 Real Estate Technology Predictions for 2011

Every year, we take few moments to step back and look at technology trends that are brewing – to take stock of where we are and think about where we’re going. It’s a brainstorming exercise that helps us better advise our clients and helps guide our thinking internally at 1000watt.

We thought it would be good to share the results of this exercise with the readers of this blog too.

Of course these are all highly speculative, but we like to think they all grounded in reality. So here they are, in order of decreasing likelihood:

1. Tablets turn the corner

When the iPad launched this year, we anticipated that it would turn the industry on its heels. 8 million units later, Apple can say it has an bonafide hit on its hands. Next year, we’re going to see the tablet form factor expand significantly. Google is set to release its tablet version of Android – Honeycomb – in Q2 of 2011. Microsoft too is rumored to be tilting after this windmill again too. Tablets have long been touted as the future of the real estate transaction and perhaps 2011 will finally be the year it happens.

2. The HTML5 Show

2011 will be the year that HTML5 really breaks out. New web-based applications, many based on their tablet (iOS) counterparts, will proliferate. Google’s Chrome Web store already shows us what’s possible today. Bottom line: web developers will be liberated to create truly new user experiences. Franchise/brokerage websites will need to pick up their game.

3. Sites get social

Social networks help connect us and lubricate the flow of information between contacts, friends and family. As we become more and more conditioned to share, we will expect this behavior from every web site. In 2011, I expect to see more real estate websites make better use of our existing profiles, particularly using Facebook Connect, and better integrate our social graphs into the real estate experience. Redfin launched this yesterday. I expect many more to follow.

4. Mind my fat fingers

Multi-touch will increasingly become the de facto way many consumers interact with the web. As we move away from the mouse and pointer as our primary means of digital interaction, we’ll need to rethink applications and web sites accordingly. Simplified interfaces and navigational structures will be required, and we’ll start seeing even more gesture-based interactions (check out Andy Rubin’s demo of the new version of Google Maps) as content and data become liberated from their rigid display.

5. Mobile video takes off

Verizon will light up its 4G (LTE) networks in early 2011. Handset manufacturers won’t be far behind, with devices that can make better use of these bandwidth increases (if the networks can keep up). Faster mobile broadband speeds next year will mean live mobile video can really take flight. I’m not bullish on the face-to-face aspect of video conferencing, but the “you can see what I’m seeing” aspect is very exciting. Especially for real estate.

I hope this short list helps you think through your technology planning for the year to come. There were many more trends that didn’t make the cut but I hope to detail in subsequent posts.

What do you think will be big in 2011?