The Five Technology Trends that will Impact Real Estate (and the World) in 2018

As we head toward a new year, let’s examine technological forces that will shape the real estate industry next year. 

Here’s what 2018 will bring:

Are you ready for all of this?

It’s important to understand what shifts might impact real estate so we can stay ahead of the curve.   In 2018, here are the trends to watch in real estate:


1.    Talk to Me

Texting and typing is so 2010.  Consumers of 2018 want to speak to their computers.  With the advancing technology of chatbots, this is now easier than ever.

AskDOSS is the first intelligent personal assistant for everything real estate

CHATBOTS - Chatbots like Siri and Echo are making voice recognition software ubiquitous.  It is estimated there will be 1.8 billion users of voice digital assistants by 2021.   Many predict voice to be the fastest growing interface in digital search. 

CHATBOTS IN REAL ESTATE - This trend has already started to emerge in real estate.   AskDoss (pictured),  which launched in October, is the first intelligent personal assistant for everything real estate.  Users of this platform can speak their real estate search into AskDOSS in their natural voice and get accurate, easy and instant answers.   AskDOSS is likely the first of many real estate portals that will incorporate chatbot technology into search in the coming year.


2.   Get to Know Me

We’ve been saying for a while that blanket, standardized messaging is a thing of the past.  In 2018, we’ll take a giant step away from uniform content toward increased personalization, customization and one-on-one marketing. 

Amazon leads this trend with their personal storefront.  Now services like Sentient and Viscovery are promising a new level of personalization on websites, emails, and even videos.  Technology like machine learning and Artificial Intelligence make this level of personalization possible.  Dark Analytics might take this all further and is another trend to watch in 2018. 

Predictive analytics, like first.io offers, will get more sophisticated with dark analytics

DARK ANALYTICSDark analytics is looking at unstructured, raw, or text-based data that hasn’t been analyzed and doesn’t come in tidy rows or spreadsheets.  It includes things like text messages, documents, emails, video, audio and still images.  Currently, there’s not a common way to run analytics on this type of data to come to finite conclusions, but that won’t always be the case.

90% of data today was generated in the last two years.  The digital universe is doubling every 12 months.  Think of all the data you produce simply by being an active internet user.  This reporter found out that her single Tinder profile produced 800 pages of data.  800 pages!  And much of that data isn’t being analyzed….for now.

DARK ANALYTICS IN REAL ESTATE- Today, we analyze a fraction of the data produced – estimates are around 10-20%.  If we can advance computer vision and pattern recognition software to unlock insights from this data, companies like first.io (pictured),  who offers predictive analytics on home-owners, will become even more sophisticated.  Based on pictures or conversations or purchases, companies may know a home-owner is going to sell before they do. 


3.   Go Faster

Another trend that isn’t going anywhere is the need for companies to develop and perform faster.  Whether in response time or technical advancement, speed is paramount.

To advance faster, more companies are moving to architecture of open-standards and cloud first designs.  This trend started in start-ups, but is now seeping into companies of all scopes and sizes.  Moving from the traditional stovepipe structure to something more agile means that all companies can be reactive and advance quicker. 

Services like Homespotter's Boost enable agents to work even faster

SPEED – Even consumers act quicker the more they move away from desktop applications.  A study from Facebook this year found that mobile devices change our perception of time.  People who viewed a video on a phone thought it was 30% shorter than people who viewed that same video on a desktop computer.  Ad purchases are 13% faster on mobile as well.  The takeaway is that it’s not enough to develop fast, your product also must react quickly in the coming year. 

SPEED IN REAL ESTATECreating something that works faster for real estate professionals will become more important as they get more sophisticated.  Homespotter’s Boost (pictured) launched this year and is a notable example of technology making agents’ work faster.  Boost automatically creates a social media ad by pulling in copy, images and even a Call to Action directly from the MLS.  The only thing the agent must do is approve it.  That kind of responsive technology will become even more important in 2018.


4.   Pull Me In

There will be advancing technology in 2018 designed to pull consumers into unique brand experiences.  We have been talking about Engagement for a few years now, but technology is going to take consumer engagement to another level, becoming even more personal and immersive.  Technologically speaking, the trends to pay attention to are transaction-engagement, mixed reality and the Internet of Things. 

TRANSACTION/ENGAGEMENT – The outer edge of this enhanced Consumer Experience (CX) is transaction-engagement.  As brands move from selling to serving, creating unique, engaging, interactive digital experiences become critical.  Websites, as an easy example, cannot be merely online brochures.  To be effective, they must be interactive, personal, and engaging.

Collections by Compass uses technology to provide a more interactive experience

TRANSACTION/ENGAGEMENT IN REAL ESTATE -   Earlier this year, Compass released Collections (pictured), which they call “the Pinterest of Real Estate.”  Collections by Compass allows users to organize, collaborate and discuss properties with loved ones and their agents.  It uses technology to provide a more interactive and engaging service.

Another example of this type of interactivity is Amazon’s iOS application AR View – which allows users to see how furniture will look in their home.  It’s immediately personal, relevant, useful and completely interactive. 

MIXED REALITY– Speaking of mixing realities, get ready for more in 2018.  Technology is going to allow companies to combine the physical world and the digital world to create a reality that is natural, interactive and intelligent.

Mixed reality incorporates digital content into real-time surroundings.  From Topology using mixed reality to let users try on glasses before they buy them to Disney introducing its first Mixed Reality ride, this idea of mixing worlds is becoming more common.

MIXED REALITY IN REAL ESTATE -  Creating a mixed reality experience to sell a home is still cost prohibitive, with prices for putting together this type of experience ranging from a few thousand dollars to $100,000.  There has been talk about incorporating this technology in the luxury home market or in new construction.  Imagine going to an empty lot and being able to digitally “walk” through your future home. 

Sonos is one example of the expansion of IoT into more homes

THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT)- the Internet of Things is the idea of connecting variable technologies to create a more comfortable environment.  Think of services like Nest controlling your home’s temperature or Sonos speakers (pictured right) playing a different song in each room while simultaneously connecting to your Alexa, this technology is starting to creep into the lives of more Americans.

This year at South by Southwest, IBM even introduced the concept of the Internet of Caring Things, which would use IoT to care for the aging population.   While this is a technical trend, how and where might it impact real estate?

IoT IN REAL ESTATE – Imagine putting a beacon, a small blue-tooth enabled devices that emit a URL, in every open house.  When someone is within range, their phone will pick up the signal and will notify them of the open house.  This could completely change the definition of a qualified lead.  IoT is slowly turning homes into smart devices.  Because we are in the business of buying and selling homes, this transition will no doubt impact real estate technology.


5.   Respect Me and My Privacy

If the section on Dark Analytics got you a little freaked out – you are not alone.  Despite consumers wanting more personalization in their online experiences, they also want companies to respect their privacy.  With breaches in data like Equifax and more recently Uber (pictured),  consumers are growing concerned with how their personal data is being protected.

Privacy is a growing concern after data breaches from companies like Uber

PRIVACYTechnology like Blockchain, which is a technology that transfers information securely through distributed trust systems, has the potential of becoming a new way to support data transfer with integrity.     The blockchain technology was created for the online currency bitcoin, but is now creating a new privacy standard that more companies might adapt with heightened consumer concerns.

PRIVACY IN REAL ESTATE – As consumers grow warry of how their data is shared, it might have implications for information like owner name and mortgage information.  If we are truly going to set up a trust economy, perhaps technology must be incorporated to secure client’s most confidential information.   A 2014 study found that 7 out of 10 mortgage companies conduct practices that put personal and financial data at risk.  As this trend for privacy continues, that might have to change in 2018 and beyond.


These will be the trends to watch in 2018.  You can already see the diametric forces of consumer desire to get more personal with their devices, whether it’s talking to them, mixing realities, or making their home appliances “smarter” – coming up against their desire for privacy and respect.  These are unchartered waters we’ll all have to navigate.

In real estate, where so much valuable data is transferred and can potentially be used to create enhanced consumer experiences and deeper consumer insight, we will be in the middle of it all.

If you are interested in learning more about Real Estate Technology Trends, join our discussion with a panel of some of the industry’s technology and thought leaders December 19 for an exclusive Onboard Informatics webinar