I just returned from Real Estate Connect, a conference in San Francisco that focuses on connecting real estate with technology. There is an awful lot going on in this market. Traditional control resides with Multiple Listing Services and the National Association of Realtors. They set the terms by which buyers and sellers communicate, including the listings themselves. Now this control is being slaughtered by online companies (see Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin, just to name a few). As the record industry found out, the control of content is quickly moving to the web (in this case, the listings themselves).
Over the years, we have found that a number of our clients are in the real estate space. Customers include real estate agents and brokers, mortgage brokers and loan officers, and real estate legal experts. They have all had a need to perform what-if scenario analysis in the field. So we went to this conference hoping to understand the shifting sands and see how we might fit in even better.
We learned a ton and believe it will have a huge impact on our future businesses. Given that, there was an awful lot of discussion about getting the customer involved in the process but very little discussion on how mobility plays a part. A lot of the emphasis was on blogging — realtors connecting to their clients and community through blogs, social networking sites aimed at familiarizing oneself with the potential buying neighborhood, and mash-ups (for instance, combining maps with listings).
I, however, want to know more about a topic that was briefly discussed: real-time real estate (or just-in-time real estate). It seems to me that this is what our customers are buying powerOne products for — to get an instant answer to a complicated question that helps close the deal now.
So… we have more work to do and more to learn. And I’m sure looking forward to it.