June 11, 2009

On June 8, 2009 Apple announced the Iphone 3G S. It’s arrival in Canada and the US next week will mark a turning point in the evolution of real estate search.

How often does one pass a new condo development or resale home and wonder it’s cost or status. How about wondering what real estate is available in the neighbourhood you’re passing by. The widespread availability of interactive, map based and GPS enabled online tools to fulfill these needs is upon us – with super fast mobile devices such as the IPhone 3G, we’re cooking in the fast lane.

Think about this, in the very near future Canadians equipped with such a phone (and an easily available downloadable application) will have it alert them to whenever they are in the proximity of a home or development that fits their criteria. They may ask it to to tell them where, say, nearby open houses are, newly developed condos, and/or resale homes with gardens and front parking.

Maybe, they’ll ask their phone about a new development they just walked by, maybe the Four Seasons Development in Toronto. Within seconds their phone will let them know who the developer is, precise sales info, price, and even high resolution photos of individual units. Maybe they’d also like to know where the nearest schools, parks and restaurants are in relationship to that home, ‘beep’, no problem.

Mobile applications offering these sorts of services are being churned out by the day.

Brian Boero of 1000watt consulting (writes, “the IPhone 3G S will be the locus of real estate technology in the coming years”.

He provides the following points to backup his claim:

1. “Location awareness in the Safari browser. This means you don’t even have to be using an iPhone app to have content – perhaps listings – served up to you based on your location. Right now, many real estate sites serve you listings based on your IP address, which is a notoriously imprecise way of determining location. A location aware browser improves location targeting dramatically.

2. Video capture, editing and publishing. A year ago, everyone was raving about Flip cameras. Trouble was they kinda sucked. And they were yet another device that needed to be schlepped around, then plugged in to some other web-connected device for publishing. Now, users can take hi-quality video, edit it and email or text it with the click of a button. Or the video can be sent to YouTube directly from the device. Forget for a moment how this might be used by Realtors; think about how buyers will be able to document and share their home search.

3. Speed. Mobile browsing – even on “high-speed” 3G networks — is still relatively slow. Mobile apps also hang more than those running on the desktop. But the claimed speed increase in the 3G S is an indication that the same leapfrogging advances in memory and processing power we’ve seen on desktops and notebooks over the past decade is coming to the handset. The user experience will only get richer as a result.

Of course, even with nearly 40 million iPhone and iPod touches sold to date, the mobile story hardly begins and ends with Apple. But I think it is safe to assume that many of the features in this new iPhone will appear in some manner across the mobile platform in the next year or two.”

From the data points at hand it looks like finding, locating and researching real estate is about to be turned on its head. Are you ready?

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