At ICNY, experts shared the top tech trends agents need to know for the decade ahead — think “super” apps, more voice control and better online leads.

We constantly hear that technology is changing the real estate industry, but it can get hard to keep up with all the new apps and products.

To keep you ahead of the curve, Wendy Forsythe, an independent real estate executive and coach, and Adi Pavlovic, director of innovation at Keller Williams, shared the top tech trends agents need to know for the decade ahead at Inman Connect New York 2020.

Wendy Forsythe

1. Super apps

Have too many apps? According to Forsythe, large numbers of people are moving to a single app in which they can make calls, send messages and in some cases even search the web or book services. Platforms such as WeChat and Alipay are quickly forging out a space in this market.

2. Expansion of platforms

Uber Eats. Airbnb Experiences. Intuit Pro Connect. Companies that formerly offered only one service are increasingly branching out into other industries. It’s only a matter of time before someone tries to build something similar with real estate in mind. “A lot of people are trying to build a technical framework that powers multiple apps,” Pavlovic said.

3. Voice

Voice-powered apps, programs and even full-on products such as locks can save agents a lot of time. “We’re seeing a lot more technology designed with the voice in mind first,” Forsythe said. 

4. Semi-automation

While we’re not at a point where you can hand off all your work emails to a robot, a lot of products are allowing users to automate some part of a work task (for example, putting together the outline of social media posts) and finishing it manually. “We don’t really trust full automation yet,” Pavlovic said.

5. Text messaging

In 2020, people are increasingly using the old technology to do new things — order food, make reservations, talk to celebrities and even score leads. “Think about how you’re using text messaging in your business,” Forsythe said. “It is growing into other ways of lead capture.”

6. Brokerage tech

In 2020, brokerages are also trying to outdo each other in how tech-forward they can be. And happy to cater to demand, tech companies are launching products for everything from remote collaboration to client screening. “While all those products that have been around for a while, you’re going to see the cost of sales go down,” Pavlovic said.

7. Life as a service

You take Uber instead of owning a car and rent clothes on RentTheRunway. According to Forsythe, it’s time to think about how a shared economy could impact real estate. “Think about how that can work in the real estate space,” she said. “What if we used real estate all over the world instead of owning it in the old sense?”

Adi Pavlovic

8. Bridging the gap

While the high cost of student loans and shifting family culture has changed the real estate landscape, a large number of tech companies are seeing opportunity where others see problems. Think alternative financing, iBuyers and even rent-to-own.

9. Online leads

“We as an industry have really done a horrible job at working with online leads,” said Pavlovic. He and Forsythe predict that 2020 and 2021 will be the years in which how this is done changes drastically — think more customization and less paying lots of money in the hopes of having something come your way.

10. UX

Lockboxes, security cameras and lamps now sync with your phone and have WiFi installed. Expect to see even more home products that you never knew could go digital do just that. “It”s a very physical industry,” Pavlovic said. ‘How do you complement that with the digital experience?”

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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