Amid all the market place disruption, news-making acquisitions and lawsuits Joseph Sirosh, the chief technology officer at the well-funded brokerage Compass, believes the company’s goal and mission are pretty straightforward.
“Compass, to me, is an idea,” Sirosh said at Inman Connect in New York on Thursday. “Agents grow their business and we invest as much as possible in agents growing their business with technology.”
Compass has grown its technology team massively in the past year, nearly tripling it since Sirosh took the role. The company has pulled in talent from some of the world’s top technology companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and Google.
Among the key areas Compass has focused is artificial intelligence (AI), Sirosh, the former CTO of AI at Microsoft and the CTO of consumer at Amazon, told Clelia Peters, the president of Warburg Realty and Inman’s editor-at-large, at Inman Connect at the Marriott Marquis in New York City.
AI in real estate, according to Sirosh, is going to empower both the consumer and the agent. Compass, right now, is incorporating predictive AI into its search tools.
“With even a few letters being typed, you pick the right search query,” Sirosh said.
Eventually, the search will be smarter, thanks to AI. Consumers will be able to search by picture, like throwing a photo of a craftsman-style home into a reverse image search to bring up photos of other craftsman homes on the market, whereas right now, most home searches are limited to geographical locations, and numbers of beds or bathrooms.
Compass is also powering its customer relationship management tool (CRM) with artificial intelligence, by helping agents stay on top of their sphere.
“Staying in touch with your sphere of influence is hard work, you have thousands of contacts,” Sirosh said. “Lots of agents tell me they have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because they didn’t follow up. Consistency of follow up is one of the most challenging things.”
Eventually, artificial intelligence will power the platform experience in real estate, Sirosh explained, where the entire ecosystem of what the agent and consumer needs will be connected in one place. The platform begins with listings, where the agents can acquire a listing, make it searchable, price it and market it. Then on the other side, the agent can organize listings for consumers, schedule tours and the consumer can even make an offer.
“It sounds all obvious but the reality is, this is done in a fragmented way,” Sirosh said.
Sirosh compared it to the experience of listening to music. It used to be recorded in an analog way from a guitar, then pressed into a record and you’d go to the record store and buy a physical record by word of mouth or someone else’s recommendation. Now, AI pushes recommendations right to an app on your phone and your music listening and discovery journey is guided by AI.
Getting agents to adopt technology is always a challenge, of course, but Sirosh explained that the best technology is the technology you don’t even know is there.
“The vast majority of what we do will disappear into the regular tools agents use every day,” Sirosh said. “[Those tools] will become more simple and effective.”