By Brian Boero, Partner, 1000watt
Social. Mobile. Big data. VR. AR. The Internet of things. The smart home. Wearables. The paper brokerage, hybrid brokerage and virtual brokerage.
Buzzwords. Lot of them. Bouncing around the real estate industry like brightly colored balls.
It’s hard enough to simply keep track of new technologies and innovations, let alone gauge the opportunities they may present in a thoughtful manner.
And the hardest thing of all? Gaining a peek around the corner at what’s next.
So when Alex Perriello, President and CEO of Realogy Franchise Group, came to 1000watt with a vision for going beyond the buzzwords to connect technology innovators with Realogy leaders in a focused way, we were all in.
He got it. He and other leaders at Realogy wanted to truly engage innovators; to bring them to Realogy headquarters; to have them share their own visions for the future; to create meaningful business relationships that would turn them into reality.
FWD was born.
The first FWD Innovation Summit in 2013 was electric. Well over 100 early stage startups applied to participate. 15 finalists came to Madison, NJ to strut their stuff. You must understand: this alone is a big deal. Large companies in the real estate industry had made it their practice to deflect “tech vendors” seeking to pitch their products. Now Realogy, the biggest of them all, was rolling out the red carpet.
What we got that year was that rare peek around the corner. Floored, a young New York City-based startup, showed us Virtual Reality applied to real estate for the first time. BuyerMLS unveiled their technology for leveraging homebuyer data a year before everyone else was buzzing about “Big Data.”
FWD 2014 brought live demonstrations of beacon technology that made all the talk about the “Internet of things” seem real – and valuable to real estate agents and brokers – for the first time.
Matterport blew everyone’s mind with 3-D camera technology than changed our notion of what the future of real estate marketing might look like.
2015 was the year of mobile. Whereas only one of the companies that participated in the first FWD summit shared mobile first technologies, ten out of fifteen were now mobile. The 2015 winner, Avenue, seized on the explosion of “On demand” apps the create a way for consumers to get answers to their real estate questions instantly from agents in the field.
What will FWD 2016 bring? We don’t know yet. And that’s sort of the point, isn’t it?
I can’t wait.