Cliff Peskin


Feb 10, 2010

At BuzzBuzzHome we’re into future technologies. We’re also into real estate. Put them together and we’re into real estate future technologies.

The future is friendly (says Telus), and we agree, but its also arriving very quickly. For many, this technological change is so rapid that its hard to keep up. For instance, how many people are really up to date with the latest smartphone offerings by Microsoft, Apple, Research in Motion, and Google? I’d bet not that many.

This makes sense considering how quickly smartphones are evolving. A couple years ago few had even heard of Android, Google’s mobile operating system. Today, it is the world’s best-selling smartphone platform. In just two years it has had four major version updates; Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread and Honeycomb – Ice-cream sandwich is scheduled for release this year and the name is no joke!

So, we are witnessing rapid technological change and the real estate industry has not and will not be ignored. By looking at technologies that have already gained significant traction and glancing at whats in the development pipeline we can make some pretty good guesses about what technologies are poised to affect real estate in the near future.

And so, without further ado, here are three technologies that may change real estate over the next five years:

1. Online Social Networks

The impact of online social networks on the real estate industry will be enormous. What we’ve seen so far is small potatoes to how substantial the impact will become.

Without social media, home purchasers, home sellers, home builders, contractors, lawyers and mortgage brokers are hidden behind walls of anonymity. This is changing.

The internet is enabling us to pool our knowledge and learn from the mistakes of others.

Roofers, plumbers, builders and real estate agents who perform poorly will be identified by the global online community and will be shunned. Hiding will not be possible, sorry. This is just one example of how social networking will change real estate.

2. Holograms

If you haven’t heard, holograms are being prepped for the mainstream. Using components developed by Microsoft for its Xbox Kinect, Scientists at MIT have developed streaming holographic video that is reminiscent of Star Wars.

Recently, IBM researchers predicted holographic mobile phones by 2015.

Forget home renderings or 360 panoramic views, holograms will really give purchasers a good look at prospective properties.

Holograms will also enable realtors to communicate with their clients from a distance. They may set pre-recorded holograms to communicate with individuals visiting their listings or alternatively they may communicate with visitors in real time via holographic streaming.

3. Artificial Intelligence

Have you heard of Hierarchical temporal memory (HTM)? Probably not, most people haven’t, but its exciting.

HTM is an approach to artificial intelligence that aims to apply the algorithmic properties of the human brain to the programming of computers. The technology is being developed by Jeff Hawkins, founder of Palm Pilot and inventor of one of the world’s first smartphones.

Silicon Valley’s Vicarious Systems is using HTM to build artificial intelligence that understands the contents of images and videos the way humans do. Although it hasn’t launched a product yet the company is backed by tech celebrities such as Peter Thiel (former chief executive of PayPal and the first investor in Facebook), Sean Parker (Facebook’s founding president) and Dustin Moskovitz (Co-founder of Facebook).

Considering that IBM super computer Watson is expected to defeat the world’s greatest human Jeopardy champion next week we can see that artificial intelligence is gaining momentum.

In the next several years we’ll see real AI participating in real estate. Intelligent computers will conduct research for us. We will talk to them and they will talk to us.

For instance, you could tell the AI (in spoken language) that you’re looking for a mid sized home in a safe neighborhood near a school and park and that you’re interested in something new. You won’t need to check boxes on a screen or answer questions with rigid answers – you’ll just tell the computer what you’re looking for and it will understand.

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