Like the calendar pages of 2015, the evolution of real estate technology has been a blur. There’s no slowing down now. The train has not only left the station, it gets faster with every mile and there’s nary a scheduled stop in sight.

  • The onset of TRID will hamper the potential for the digital transaction becoming common in 2016.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

I remember my first mobile phone.

It was a Sanyo, I believe the SCP-4000.

From there, like the calendar pages of 2015, the evolution of real estate technology has been a blur.

There’s no slowing down now. The train has not only left the station, it gets faster with every mile and there’s nary a scheduled stop in sight.

There’s a new year on the horizon, in respect to both calendars and real estate technology.

A few concepts are going to take hold in the coming months that I believe will have an enduring presence in the industry.

I don’t see the point in having an iPhone on my wrist if there’s one in my pocket.

We’ve experienced the onset of the agent-less showings. Controversial now, but the tech will only make them easier and more efficient for agents.

I believe the automated showing will eliminate the need for agents to prequalify every door-kicker who reacts to an ad on Zillow.

Enhanced video quality, GPS-tracking and in-home smart systems that record room movement will all help agents be equally present away from the showing as when they’re physically there.

Wearables are perhaps the fastest growing consumer technology category. Fitbits and Apple Watches were found under Christmas trees from Barrow, Alaska, to Key West, Florida.

They’re becoming so ubiquitous, in fact, that many see the category fading into seamless obscurity.

Chips and sensors and monitors will merge into so much of what we already wear that their presence will become commonplace. You won’t see the wristband anymore because it will be sewn into your shirt cuff.

Until wearables merge with our apparel, I think we’ll see major franchise brands and some tech-savvy boutiques push deeper into micro-mobile software on Samsung and Apple products. Digital lockbox access. Audio home tours. That kind of thing.

If we’re putting virtual reality headsets and the likes of Google Glass in the wearable category, the opportunities in real estate become significantly more diverse.

Rich 3-D tours can be emailed and viewed from afar for a more immersive experience, neighborhood tours would be made easier and large, goofy-looking facemasks would replace Bluetooth ear pieces as the most cringe-worthy business accessory since the cell phone belt clip.

Anna Hoychuk / Shutterstock.com

Anna Hoychuk / Shutterstock.com

Ultimately, for wearables to push into real estate successfully, I believe they’ll have to do more than just feature a smaller screen. I don’t see the point in having an iPhone on my wrist if there’s one in my pocket.

Was Trulia’s 2014 foray into wearable home search really all that innovative? How did it leverage the device’s form factor?

One thing I’m certain 2016 will bring in tech is the end of “mobile” as a software value-add.

By summer, it will just be assumed that new products and updates to older ones will be designed and revamped first for the smaller screen.

We’ve reached a point where the devices aren’t mobile; we are. It’s an odd role-reversal. They are our home office computers. Our day planners. Our task masters. And, our CRMs. As we go, our office goes.

I applaud the many companies who, to date, have jumped the line and designed products with mobile-first in mind. But now the responsibility is on them to hold the lead.

Lastly, I don’t see the full digital transaction becoming a reality this year.

I blame TRID, that overly bureaucratic, nonsensical dim-witted attempt to make homebuying and selling easier for consumers.

Agents have decades of success perpetrating sales under the current HUD standards and industry best practices.

Managing the process from contract to close is arguably the agent’s most valuable contribution. It’s a tedious process requiring intuition, people management skills and unmeasurable amounts of professionalism.

I don’t see the full digital transaction becoming a reality this year.

Dear Washington: The transaction has never been real estate’s problem. It’s not why the market went basement up.

The boil from which TRID bled was greed, and it streamed from every orifice connected with the industry, from Wall Street to real estate licensing classes.

Now there’s a whole new process to understand before trying to digitize it, a process more fundamentally flawed than how Verizon stores prioritize customers.

Not to end the year on a low note — I think there was a ton of great real estate tech ideas that sprung from 2015. I was able to write about a lot of them.

I’m looking forward to even more of it. Happy New Year.

Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe.

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