Technology and its impact on the real estate community — how it is transforming and energizing the industry so that brokers, agents and their clients can close deals anytime, anywhere and on any device — was a central theme at this year’s Inman Connect New York.
As I look back after my time at the conference, I can’t help but be proud to be part of the real estate community and inspired by the innovation happening in our industry.
At Connect, I had the pleasure of presenting on the topic of ownership and security of transaction data and participated on a panel discussion about building and scaling a company. I also met with customers, partners and industry thought leaders. While the conference was a whirlwind, I walked away with five takeaways:
Data privacy and security matter
I was honored to have the opportunity to present at Connect in a session titled, “Transaction Data. Who Owns It, Why Does It Matter and How Do You Keep It secure?” Ahead of the conference, I also wrote an article titled “How to keep your clients safe in a data-driven business” and participated on a webinar titled “It’s Your Business, It’s Your Data!” hosted by RE Technology.
The theme for each was that while you may entrust your transaction data and documents to third parties, the fact of the matter is that it’s still your data. At DocuSign (or any other transaction management platform), we simply act as the custodians of your data/documents — no different than when you entrust your money to a bank. Our role is to keep your — and your clients’ — information, data and documents private, safe and secure while helping you accelerate transactions for a delightful client experience.
My session at Connect was well-attended and prompted many discussions on the importance of this topic, especially as more and more of the real estate transaction becomes digital. Data privacy and security is front and center in our industry and no doubt will continue to be an important topic of discussion.
Integration is key
Many components of the real estate transaction have become digital over the past decade. Although this is a big step forward, until these components talk to one another, we’re still losing significant value across the end-to-end transaction — from listing to close.
At Connect, there were many discussions around integration and the necessary standards to make this happen in an efficient manner. I talked with other industry leaders and partners at the conference. I see this standards-driven integration as the key to my “Save the Pointer Finger” campaign in which we eliminate the duplicate efforts in the transaction, such as typing in a property address or uploading documents into multiple systems that support the transaction.
This “friction” has been slowing the adoption of the technology that will further advance the industry. By eliminating the friction, we can drive faster adoption and realize the tremendous benefits of the fully digital real estate transaction.
A fully digital transaction is on the horizon
As more components to a real estate transaction become digital and the various components supporting the transaction begin to talk to each other, I believe we get closer to the point where the entire transaction — from the point an agent takes a listing to the point where the buyer receives the keys — will be digital and a seamless experience for the homebuyer and seller (Even the keys will be digital!) This vision requires all of the participants supporting the transaction to collaborate and innovate together — which has been an elusive goal for many years.
At Connect, I listened to many speakers present on this topic and had many conversations with brokers and partners alike aimed at driving toward this goal. While I believe that there is still much heavy lifting to be done, I am encouraged by the conversation and activity I am seeing!
Technology is changing the industry faster than ever
I’ve purchased five homes and sold four over the past twenty years, but my direct experience as a professional in the real estate industry began in 2008 when I began to develop the idea that grew into DocuSign Transaction Rooms for Real Estate to help brokers and agents share transaction documents.
Looking back on the past eight years, I cannot help but be amazed at the amount of change that’s happened in the industry in such a short period of time, with the technology playing a central role in that change.
The first industry event that I attended was the Realtors Conference and Expo in 2009. I had the chance to walk the Expo floor with the sole goal of understanding the technology behind the industry. Since that time, I have studied every aspect of technology in our industry and have kept a pulse on it. At Connect NYC 2016, I took the time to speak with the sponsors and walk Startup Alley. I left amazed at the depth and breadth of tech innovations driving the industry.
It’s all about people
I am, of course, a technologist at heart — I work for a technology company. With that said, I love attending conferences like Inman Connect because it’s a compressed period of interacting with the brightest and most passionate folks driving the industry forward. While technology is certainly enabling major innovation, everything begins with the people who dream up the innovations and bring them to life: The executives at the big brands, the brokers and their staff, the agents, and those in supporting services like title and mortgage.
Without the drive, passion and leadership of individuals across the industry, we wouldn’t see this innovation and focus on enhancing the end consumer experience.
Twice a year, I attend the Inman Connect conference and I always love spending time with industry leaders. ICNY lived up to the hype and was an amazing week where I was able to collaborate with the best and brightest driving the industry forward.
I already have the dates for Inman Connect San Francisco (August 2 through 5) blocked off on my calendar and look forward to seeing how the industry changes and grows in the coming months — and connecting with you there!