What I find interesting is that much of the technology advance in traditional real estate is targeted at speeding up what happens today. Aimed at protecting the role of the real estate salesperson. The presumption, of course, the role is sacred!
Just ask Sony Chairman Akio Morita about whether the Walkman would have surfaced by protecting tradition (figuratively speaking of course - he died in 1999). If Henry Ford had asked his customers what they wanted, it would have been a faster horse. Much of the technology effort today for agents is in making real estate mobile. What that means is taking whats available on the internet and providing it to the agent on their mobile device.
I recently came across some iPad applications. Essentially, the iPad has been released and the applications take the agents listing catalogue and reproduce it on the mobile device. So instead of a wad of paper to read off, the agent has a computer. Wow, I'm stunned at the innovation!
However, there are some great innovations coming out. A recent example is the Commonwealth Banks iPhone application which puts pricing and sales information in the hands of the purchaser. Realestate.co.nz just launched themselves on the iphone too.
The thought provoking fact is that much of the really interesting innovation is in making the buyer better informed and the seller better informed. It is about placing the power of information in their hands, removing it from the middleman. A real challenge to the traditional industry - after all with this going on what is the role of the traditional agent? Reading out the content is not really adding value is it....