Where does the real estate industry stand on bots heading into 2017?

Automation has the potential to change real estate -- but no major changes from the bot buzz, yet
  • Automation risks impersonal customer service. But to some, bots are more about being available where consumers frequent and expanding your coverage abilities.
  • According to Contactually's CEO Zvi Band: "2016 was simply about gaining the knowledge that bots are here. We're in the hello stage."

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Have suggestions for products that you'd like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe. Is the real estate industry ready to embrace bots? Yes. And no. A number of these artificial intelligence (AI) relationship managers entered the scene, evolved or made traction this year, aiming to make consumers happy and agents' lives a little easier. This week I wrote a column about a home and agent search app that a father-son team developed for Amazon Echo. Consumers interact with the software via Alexa, Echo's bot, and a companion smartphone app. The column's comments suggested that at least a number of agents weren't super psyched about what they perceived as "impersonal service." However, my October column on Automabots, which warms up leads for agents by answering their initial questions, didn't elicit the same reaction. Readers seemed optimistic. Maybe one column happen to find more readers one day, but I feel secure enough to say at this ...