Technology products continue to emerge at an ever increasing rate. The key question(s) I’m often asked is: Which of these new technologies will be the most helpful to my business? How do I know which products will actually increase revenues? Will this new product really help me be more efficient and lower my costs? While reviewing specific vendors and products can be helpful, MRIS also believes it’s very beneficial to proactively identify major trends that will have significant impact on the real estate industry.
Why is it beneficial to identify major trends? Trends provide early notice of broad changes that often contain game-changing technology. Trends also contain competing vendors, products & services. Many of these vendors are VC startup firms or have products early in their product life cycle, often hampering early predictions of long-term winners / losers for specific vendors or products. Focusing on individual vendors or products at this stage often results in ever-changing answers because Darwinian competition hasn’t yet determined the long-term winner. Example: Video wars. Remember how long RedBox & NetFlix competed with Blockbuster? What if you had known there was an emerging trend for low cost, video service that you could obtain from the convenience of your own home? Well… You could’ve predicted Blockbuster was not going to be the long-term winner, spent your time assessing other vendors that likely would be a long-term winner and then choose the product that best met your needs, saving money and time along the way.
Next week, MRIS will launch MRIS TV, an internet-enabled video poratl that will provide timely updates on important topics for our customers right from the convenience of your PC. One of the upcoming shows will provide a detailed review of the top technology trends to watch in 2011 along with helpful analyst and vendor insights. Please watch for more details and tune-in to this show to obtain a detailed review of these technology trends. For those individuals that prefer to read a brief “cliff notes” summary, I’ll be writing about the top technology trends over the next several weeks for you. The first trend is:
Technology Trend #1: Location Aware Services Data is growing at rates faster than ever before in our society. While the exact estimate of available data can vary, a recent EMC-sponsored digital universe report calculated the amount of digital information available was approximately 0.8 zetabytes. Just to give you an idea how large this number really is, it would be the equivalent output of every inhabitant on the planet going on Twitter and Tweeting, non-stop, for a century. An even more sobering thought is some estimates show the amount of available data worldwide is doubling nearly every 18 months!
While this situation helps to ensure full employment for information technology staff around the globe, it also provides brokers, agents and consumers with an ever-increasing access to data from public and proprietary sources. Brokers and agents now need to be able to mine vast amounts of data to discern what’s vital to their business and some of this search must be done in real-time using social media sites. As an example, Southwest airlines and the Ford Motor company regularly analyze social media sites to gain real-time insights into the success of their marketing campaigns and impact on their brand. For real estate agents, imagine the value you could provide to your respective seller if you could tell them what prospective buyers are tweeting about their neighborhood or home being sold. What if a potential buyer left an open house and posted on their Facebook page they just visited this home, wanted feedback from friends, and… several friends responded they thought the backyard needed a lot of gardening and recommended looking at “better” home in their neighborhood that just had a For Sale sign posted? Wouldn’t you want to provide the feedback immediately to the seller? Follow-up with the prospective buyer?
For real estate, this growing plethora of information coupled with sophisticated Geographical Information Systems (GIS) capabilities will revolutionize the way realtors perform their job. Homes will be bought and sold in the context of the many services that surround that home, not just the conventional search to find a home with two bedrooms, two baths in a quiet neighborhood. Recently emerging life-style search capabilities are one example of this trend. This trend will help brokers, agents, home sellers and buyers by allowing the professional realtor to help prospective buyers find the perfect home sooner, shortening the time required in the sales process.
Summary: MRIS classifies this trend in an early stage and expects it will rapidly evolve over the next couple years. Brokers and agents should carefully watch market developments and begin to experiment and adopt solutions as they emerge.