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There isn’t a single industry on earth that technology hasn’t influenced. Advancements in technology have changed the way people order food, commute to work, buy home supplies, run their businesses, and stay in touch with loved ones. And it has also revolutionized how they buy, sell, invest in, and manage real estate.

In this article, let’s explore some novel applications of emerging technologies in real estate.

IoT and Digital Twins

The internet of things (IoT) refers to physical devices that can connect and communicate with other devices across a digital network. Among other things, IoT enables what’s called “digital twinning,” real-time virtual counterparts of a physical object.

Property management firms have already pounced on IoT and digital twins as a convenient, contactless way to control smart buildings. For instance, a property manager can program a digital twin to set the thermostat, optimize HVAC usage, proactively monitor appliance maintenance, and more. They get real-time performance data, sensor data and a digital bird’s eye view of the floor plan, so they can make instant decisions in the tenant’s favor.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence has myriad applications in real estate, from instant property valuations and listing recommendations for consumers, to lead generation for agents.

But perhaps the most exciting use of AI technology is from Nobul, a real estate digital marketplace helmed by innovator Regan McGee. The company uses “really cool AI” to analyze the transactions, sales histories, experience, location, and verified reviews of real estate agents to create a “match score” for consumers. Matched agents can then bid for a consumer’s business.

It’s a straightforward concept, but it’s revolutionary in the way it uses AI to shift power to the consumer. As McGee told Toronto Life, “I’ve never seen anybody doing close to what we’re doing to create a consumer-centric experience.”

Blockchain

Blockchain and real estate is a match that deserves its very own article – the use cases form a long and impressive list.

Among the most interesting applications of blockchain technology in real estate are “smart contracts.” Essentially, smart contracts are blockchain-enabled programs that “run when predetermined conditions are met.” In other words, the contract is immediately executed once both parties satisfy its terms. Because they are a) immediate, b) tamper-proof, and c) automatically executed, smart contracts remove the need for costly third parties like lawyers, escrows and notaries.

Immersive Technologies

Immersive technologies skyrocketed in popularity with real estate consumers beginning around March 2020. If that date sounds familiar, it’s because it marked a significant shift in real estate – the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As COVID dawned, brokerages and consumers sought contactless workarounds for buying and selling properties. Immersive tech like virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR, respectively) filled that need. Sight-unseen sales continued to climb throughout the pandemic, aided by immersive AR/VR-enabled property viewings, and the trend is showing little sign of slowing down.

Drones

The last stop on our tour of important real estate technologies is a relatively uncomplicated one (at least compared to the technologies above). When the first drones hit the consumer market around 2010, they were primarily curios – interesting gadgets that consumers could play around with in their spare time.

Recently, as drone technology matures, some real estate experts are seeing considerable potential in these unmanned crafts. Specifically, home inspectors are using drones more to properly evaluate hard-to-reach places, offering consumers a better picture of a property’s assets and shortcomings.

It’s an exciting time for real estate as innovators and thought leaders dream up new applications for cutting-edge technology. These five technologies represent the bleeding edge of what’s possible in the industry – and what you can expect to see in the decade to come.