There are a lot of industries threaten to be disrupted by new technologies and according to a report from PwC, 38% of existing US jobs could face automation over the next 15 years. Others (E.g. Apple co-founder) claim robotics and Artificial Intelligence won’t compete with human jobs in at least 100 years.
So, what does the future hold for the real estate industry?
According to real estate sales manager Joan Kagan, there’s a limit to how far technology can take us. “The agent’s role as real estate adviser, advocate and coordinator is safe. The purpose of technology is to provide humans with more information and make us function more efficiently, not to make us obsolete”. – She writes in an Inman-article.
Agencies are already using robots
There’s already a few agencies integrating robots in their real estate business, e.g. the Sydney based real estate business JLL Australia who employed a robot as a receptionist in one of their offices. The 57 cm tall robot, named JiLL, sits in the foyer at level three in one of the company’s Sydney offices, welcoming customers and receiving deliveries. Another example is the new online company, REX Real Estate Exchange, who bypasses traditional agents partly by using tablet computers inside homes to answer prospective buyers questions (questions like when the roof was last repaired or where the nearest Starbucks is). This robot is called Rex and has somewhat limited functions, therefore a human rep is also on site, greeting potential buyers.
Will robots start showing properties anytime soon?
More and more real estate agencies are starting to utilize technology to streamline time-consuming tasks and improve operations. At the same time AI continues to play an even bigger role in the life of an agent and will likely keep changing their work. Having said that, buying and selling a home is an emotional experience for a lot of people and humans will probably continue to appreciate interaction with other humans. The value a real estate agent brings in terms of advising clients and negotiating on their behalf simply can’t be replaced by technology. Not yet anyway.
Right now, real estate agents should not be threatened. Rather should robotics be seen as a complement to help improve their work. Imagine having a robot assistant, lightening your workload by automating some of your most time consuming tasks, allowing you to focus more on relations (not a Robot’s strong side). Pretty cool huh?
If you had a robot assistant for a day, what would be the first thing you would hand over?