WASHINGTON (November 19, 2020) – Several technology experts from the National Association of Realtors® gathered Wednesday during the 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo to examine the real estate industry's growing reliance on technology and how the integration of artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, digital transaction management and 5G innovations will impact the buying and selling experience.
Jeb Griffin, NAR director of strategy and innovation, suggested that the coronavirus pandemic only accelerated changes that were already occurring in how Realtors® conducted business.
"Technology has rapidly evolved how we do real estate," Griffin said. "Remember, everything used to be analog and required us to manually fill out forms.
"In 2020, a lot has changed. We're maintaining social distance. In-person showings have declined. Realtors® have adapted by using technology to get business done."
Dan Weisman, NAR director of emerging technology, agreed.
"During this pandemic, I think the use of technology has really come to the forefront in the real estate industry, and it should be used as an opportunity to improve the process and provide the best client experience possible," Weisman added.
Artificial intelligence, or A.I., is a technology with a long history and its practical applications are expected to see explosive growth within all segments of society, including real estate.
"Decades of research on artificial intelligence is now becoming available to startups and enterprises alike," said David Conroy, NAR's director of emerging technology. "The barrier to entry has been completely lowered as A.I. is affordable, powerful and making a direct impact today on real estate decisions."
With the advent of 5G technology, Weisman said he expects it will lead to significant improvements from the previous generation of wireless connectivity innovation and result in a variety of tangible benefits.
"We've seen some incremental changes in wireless connectivity technology over time, but the jump from 4G to 5G is an exponential jump in speed. That's great, we'll have fast Internet, but what will it offer?
"There's a better potential to have coverage in rural areas, something for which NAR continues to advocate on behalf of our members. We'll also see lower energy consumption. For a potential homebuyer, imagine using a drone to view or photograph an area where you'd want to live. The possibilities are endless."
Digital transaction management tools, like electronic signature applications and remote online notarization, allow for documented-based tasks to be handled virtually, and Griffin told the session audience that these resources will have staying power.
"Digital transaction management helps real estate professionals and consumers continue buying and selling property. Realtors® should incorporate DTM within their business operations since consumers like the technology and it's here to stay for them.
"Some small firms aren't using digital transaction management, thinking it's cost prohibitive, but the barriers to entry are low. NAR is working very hard to support legislation for remote online notarization in states where it's not allowed. We want our members to have the tools to bring that full digital transaction to the table and create efficiencies."
For more information from NAR on new and emerging real estate technology trends, resources and programs, visit https://www.nar.realtor/technology.
The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
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