I just spent three days in southern California at my favorite conference of the year, NAR’s iOi Summit. Truly, the conference is the intersection of proptech with residential real estate. The summit is a great spot to get a view on how technology is impacting (and perhaps changing) our industry and the way that business is conducted. The audience and the speaker list are an interesting meld of technology companies, technologists, agents, brokers, and association executives. I don’t envy the speakers, who tried to reach and engage such a broad audience.
This was my first time at iOi as an attendee. I admit that I observe and learn from an unusual perspective: while I’m an agent and a broker, I have also worked as a brokerage executive and an association executive along the way. And I’ve spent most of my professional time lately consulting with technology companies operating in the real estate space. Suffice to say, I view things through varied lenses as I take conference notes.
The audience mix makes this conference special. And speakers examine topics from multiple angles. There was plenty of forward looking discussion on where the real estate industry is heading, including Brian Lent from Plunk talking about the vast opportunity he sees to increase the worth of our existing housing stock. Thomas Frey, a renowned futurist at the DaVinci Institute, discussed his ideas for how technology could impact the way we live and work in the coming decades.
The conference was valuable to their business, according to many attendees. Nina Dosanjh, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer of Vanguard Properties in San Francisco, shared that “this year’s conference demonstrated the importance of NAR’s role in emerging real estate technologies. It was incredibly helpful to meet the people behind the products and have the opportunity to understand the long term vision for their products. Anyone involved in the proptech space should attend.”
My favorite session was Kevin Carlson and Jacob Hauskens of Amazon Web Services. Computer vision, including photo analysis and tagging were covered extensively. Additionally, they spoke about the way that kind of technology can be harnessed for use cases in proptech and brokerage. Personally I would love to see AI in use to bring a curated consumer search experience- can you imagine if search results adjusted based on the listing photos of homes that were a best match for the consumer?
Annual Pitch Battle
Twelve technology companies competed in this year’s pitch battle. Presenters had a tight 4 minutes of pitch time to convince judges and the audience to vote for them. Impressively, most were able to finish their pitch in the allotted time, and their presentations were pretty compelling. I was somewhat familiar with a number of the companies, but there were several that were brand new to me. A live broadcast of the battle was conducted on NAR’s LinkedIn page, so you can watch the video here. When the dust settled, Revive won the battle and the $15,000 prize, and Stake was voted the crowd favorite.
New to the conference this year was a printed Pitch Book detailing the technology companies in attendance. This included the Pitch Battle contestants, proptech companies in attendance, and the NAR REach 2022 companies. The book is available in digital format, making it easy for attendees to follow up with interesting products and companies.
I love that NAR decided to step up to guide these kinds of conversations. We can be active participants in the direction our industry is heading. Most importantly, we need to help continue to shape the products and technologies that improve both the consumer experience and the industry’s working practices.
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