NEW YORK — Product managers, inventors and real estate professionals took to the stage during Hacker Connect on the first morning of Inman Connect New York to evaluate real estate’s technological future. Representatives from Zillow, Cherre,, the New York Times and more shared their guidance with Inman Connect attendees.

Their panels covered new tech tools for agents, product rollouts, security and ways real estate can use the internet of things.

Zain Memon, director at Opendoor, walked the audience through how to use smart locks and other technology to power their own all-day open houses.

“This is a really simple feature that takes me about 30 seconds to explain but is actually pretty technically complicated behind the scenes,” Memon said. The complex process, outlined via diagram on screen, is what powers the iBuyer’s open houses that run without planning and coordination by agents.

Andrew Gowasack, CEO of Trust Stamp, outlined the the biometric identity recognition and verification technology behind his company’s online and mobile safety tool for agents meeting new clients or strangers. Cherre CEO L.D. Salmanson and RealScout senior software engineer Nicholas Cavigliano discussed decision-making for companies around APIs.

For the less technically-minded in the crowd, a few other speakers talked more broadly about real estate and technology.

Inman Chief Product and Marketing Officer Matthew Shadbolt and New York Times program manager Katherine McMahan shared their views on how to successfully roll out a new product. Oftentimes, they said, the key lies in the workplace experience behind the scenes.

HQ Trivia, that product just seems like a ton of fun to work on. That team’s having fun,” Shadbolt said. “You can tell when the team’s struggling.”

A panel of experts rounded out the morning with reflections on integrating technology. Real Estate Board of New York RLS (Residential Listing Service) Deputy Director Stefan Martinovic shared the unique challenges facing technological integration in New York City real estate.

“We’re a very old, 122-year-old, storied organization, but there are some challenges that come with that,” Martinovic said.

Throughout all the sessions, audience members passed around a Pizza Hut box that played music. The cardboard technology was presented by an early speaker, Novalia founder Kate Stone. Her product merging print products and bluetooth technology hasn’t been applied to real estate yet, but it has potential to introduce new offerings to the industry, such as musically enabled open house signs.

“I believe the future will be more like Mary Poppins and Harry Potter where everything around us is just magically interactive,” Stone said.

With the technology offered by everyone on stage at Hacker Connect, such a reality seems possible.

Email Emma Hinchliffe

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