#RealTech2018: an opportunity to learn and be amazed

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Technology on the front line of the real estate profession was on show at the REIQ RealTech conference on Wednesday (10 October).

The event was an opportunity for real estate professionals to see not only what technology is here and operating in the profession now, but also what is on the horizon, and what trends may emerge in the future.

Speakers unveiled innovative thinking that encouraged agents to engage with technology.

The message was clear: Good real estate professionals needn’t fear that they will be replaced by robots. Smart real estate professionals will embrace the benefits that the latest technology can bring to their business.

Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) was a common theme among the presentations and there were many audible ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from an impressed audience! For instance, it seems we are not too far away from developing computers that will actually be able to read our mind!

It was also clear that cyber security is going to become a huge challenge in future, and that business owners will have to get their cyber ducks in a row if they want to avoid the repercussions (and hefty fines!) that may result from a data breach.

Here are some of the highlights of the many fascinating presentations on the day:

Fiona Malone (Google)

Google’s Everett H Shiina & Fiona Malone: Google innovation and what it means for the real estate industry

Google Head of Strategic Accounts ANZ  Everett H Shiina and Google Cloud Queensland Account Manager Fiona Malone shared insights from the tech giant.

Ms Malone shared a peek behind the scenes in a presentation on what it’s like to work at Google. The Google culture is underpinned by innovation and the filter for every decision is, ‘will it benefit the user?’.

“We live by the mantra that if you focus on the user everything else will follow,” she said.

Google focuses on openness and transparency and weekly TGIF meetings with the company founders give all employees an opportunity to find out what the latest strategies are and to ask questions.

The company puts a high value on peer-to-peer training and employees are encouraged to look for opportunities to learn more about business areas outside their core task. Furthermore, employees are encouraged to “fail fast and learn”.

“We are not afraid of failure at Google,” Ms Malone said.

Everett H Shiina (Google)

Mr Everett talked about the advent of AI and Google’s vision for applications that make the most of this technology.

He said that AI is not new, but that we just didn’t have the computing power to harness its true potential before.

At Google AI is being incorporated in many applications, including in the fields of machine learning, natural language processing, speech systems, robotics and vision. New and exciting applications are being developed within many sectors, including real estate.

Mr Everett said security is going to become a very important factor as technology evolves because it’s going make us vulnerable to new threats. Google places a premium on security and they have more than 700 engineers on board who work exclusively on improving their security systems.


Girl Geek Academy CEO Sarah Moran: Hackers, hustlers and hipsters – why we need you to build the internet

Sarah Moran (Girl Geek Academy)

At Girl Geek Academy Ms Moran leads a team of skilled digital professionals who are on a mission to increase the number of women with successful STEM careers.

In her presentation she unpacked their philosophy of having hackers, hustlers and hipsters in a team to successfully create new technology. It is important to understand why each of these roles are important and to know with which one you identify.

In short, a hustler’s job is to be an effective CEO of the technology and to act as the producer of it. It is important for the hustler to be able to talk to the hacker in a language they understand. The hacker is the coder – the person who is going to build the framework and make it all happen. The hipster is the designer and the person who makes using the technology a pleasant experience.


Prof Michael Rosemann: A digital mind.

Prof Michael Rosemann (QUT)

Michael Rosemann is professor for Information Systems and the Executive Director, Corporate Engagement at QUT. The take-home message of his presentation was that consumers are moving faster than companies when it comes to technology, and that it is necessary to change the way we think to keep up.

Consumers are not going to thank companies for incorporating the latest technology – they expect it. Companies need to be one step ahead by inventing solutions that surpass their expectations. Prof Rosemann said it is no longer good enough to do things the same way we’ve always done simply because it’s been successful in the past.

He said digital intelligence is more about just knowing how to use technology. Digital intelligence consists of three important components: Digital literacy, digital behavior and digital elegance. To be digitally intelligent in the modern age requires a skills set (literacy) of how to use the technology, knowing how to use it appropriately (behavior) and making it beautiful (elegance).


Realestate.com.au Chief Inventor Nigel Dalton: 2018: A great leap forward in artificial intelligence for real estate consumers

Nigel Dalton (realestate.com.au)

Nigel Dalton was highly entertaining as he unveiled some of the existing AI and VR technologies that are available already, or that are currently being developed.

New inventions come into existence every day and inventors are already working on computers that are able to read brain waves as we think them, or that can speak the words we have only thought. Other applications are replicating human speech so well that it is almost impossible to tell that a computer is doing the talking.

His presentation gave a glimpse into the world of the dark web where drugs and counterfeit driver’s licenses can be bought. He said the three winning cards in the internet game are sell, search and social. Big companies like WeChat that hold all three of these cards have an enormous amount of power.

“Time, trust and transparency are the pillars of technology that can make or break online ventures,” he said.

Despite all the fascinating new inventions, Mr Dalton is positive that real estate agents will not be replaced by robots one day.


Danielle Lewis (Scrunch.com)

Scrunch.com CEO Danielle Lewis: Influencer marketing in 2018 – brand safety, fake followers & ROI

Scrunch.com is a company that helps brands connect with influencers.

Influencer marketing focuses on influential people who are paid to talk about a brand, but it is much more than simply finding people who have the most followers on social media. With this marketing strategy data is very important in order to identify who the best influencers for a campaign are.

It is also necessary to have a system in place to measure the results of a campaign, including looking at elements such as reach, internet traffic, engagement, leads and ultimately, sales.

Start-up Showcase

This year the REIQ invited three start-ups to showcase their products in 10 minutes in a Shark Tank-style event. The products had to be new, innovative and of benefit to the real estate profession.

Tom DorawaVirtual Tours Creator

Virtual tours that allow clients to take a walk through a property without getting up from behind their computers are nothing new, but Mr Dorawa believes his solution makes it easy to create tours by using his lightweight camera and easy-to-use software. His company sells the necessary hardware to create the photos and provides the software to create the tours at a competitive price.

Shaneal SharmaHouseroo

Mr Sharma explained that Houseroo provides one platform to track the agent, conveyancer, mortgage broker and building and pest inspector during the entire process of selling or buying a property. For real estate agents this means staying in the loop and tracking the entire conveyancing process with an app so that they can act in time if any issues arise.

Walid SharifUdrew

Mr Sharif said Udrew takes the pains out of home renos by simplifying the process of getting building plans submitted and approved. The traditional process involves multiple parties and multiple steps and much time can go to waste in the communication process. As long as the local council has also signed up to Udrew, approvals can be given in minutes. For other councils builders can use Udrew to plan and submit their work. Mr Sharif said the potential market is huge, and their application might also be of value to real estate agents who have properties on their list where council approval was not sought prior to renos.

If you missed this year’s REIQ RealTech, don’t panic, as we’re already in the early planning stages for next year!

Got some amazing tech or a brilliant new tech-related product you want to showcase to the broader real estate profession? Send email to jmcspedden@reiq.com.au or kwoodworth@reiq.com.au who can make sure you’re booked in for next year (exhibitor spots sold out fast this year and last year, so you’ll need to be fast!).

Want to be on stage sharing your innovative new brand that will revolutionise the real estate profession? Contact Rebecca at rmikasa@reiq.com.au who will add you to our list of speakers under consideration for RealTech 2019!

• View the album with more pictures of RealTech2018 on Facebook