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If you haven’t seen it already, Microsoft’s announcement of a new surface computing platform (more from TechCrunch in Microsoft Announces Surface Computer) promises to finally deliver a truly interactive computing experience (see Navigating a Virtual World). While not a purely original idea, e.g. Perceptive Pixel has been doing similar work with multi-touch screens for the military for a while (see House Hunting… with your Hands?), it definitely moves us one step closer to a real paradigm shift in the way we interact with computers.

Watching that video, it’s not hard to see the way this could impact the way real estate searches are conducted. Sitting down with your real estate agent and interfacing tactilely with an MLS data, and then loading property listings into a smartphone or microcomputer and hitting the road, could likely become the norm in the not too distant future.

Smart brokers will look to this kind of technology as a way of differentiating the search experience from the flat one dimensional experiences that the realty.bots and Internet-based brokers offer.

In an era of increasing pressure on real estate commissions, looking for ways to improve the consumer experience is one way “full service” brokerages could survive. “Experience” based models have worked well in other industries, Surface-based technology may just be one of the ways to do that in ours.

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