Big Tech Investment Driving Change in Real Estate


Real estate professionals who are watching, learning, and adapting will reap the benefits of new technologies, as the industry is starting to see with generative AI.

CHICAGO – It’s been a profitable few years for Big Tech – the dominant technology industry giants defined by their size, influence and financial success (namely Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft and newcomer Nvidia). And these big tech giants could set their sights on real estate in numerous ways.

As the development and market implementation of new technologies accelerate, Big Tech is in an increasingly intense race to invest in – and profit from – new technologies. And right now, they are all betting big on generative artificial intelligence (AI). In fact, Nvidia, a gaming company few have heard of, joined the elite ranks of Big Tech solely based on the revenue it generated as an AI chip maker.

AI tools like ChatGPT can help Realtors® elevate their content to stand out from the crowd. But to do that, you need to know how to use the perfect prompt to generate the desired output effectively. Here are five best practices.

Following the money Big Tech pours into technology research and development (R&D) matters because what they’re doing with their money is going to have a far-reaching impact on how you make yours. There is no business domain that won’t be impacted by the technologies that emerge from Big Tech R&D investments, and real estate professionals who are watching, learning, and adapting will reap the benefits of new technologies, as we’re just starting to see with generative AI.

Big tech investing – how much and where

In the first three quarters of 2023, Big Tech poured more than $117 billion into technology R&E in the United States. That’s more than 1.5 times the funding U.S. venture capitalists invested in the same domain during that same period. With investing power that dwarfs the competition, Big Tech will be driving technology innovation for the foreseeable future.

It’s not surprising that Big Tech is focusing much of its investment dollars and computing power on generative AI. With the emerging adoption of generative AI for text, image and video creation since its release in late 2022, Big Tech appears to be betting on significant returns from generative AI investments, especially considering that it’s still only in the beginnings of introducing its capabilities to consumers.

Opportunities for real estate professionals

History repeatedly shows that adopting the newest technologies early on comes with benefits and efficiencies even before they’re fully seen or understood. Think flip phones: when people were reluctantly giving up their flip phones for smartphones, users weren’t fully aware of the cameras, applications, GPS and computing power to come. We now have computers in our pockets, literally.

There’s no doubt new technologies like generative AI will change jobs in the real estate space, but the changes to come will present opportunities for real estate professionals who understand and adopt them. Generative AI use cases will eliminate inefficiencies. Leaders in real estate will be able to take on more. Agents will be able to offer better services and better client experiences. Used responsibly, generative AI innovations will be positive for business and customers.

Expanding capabilities of generative AI

While the power of generative AI was introduced to the public in 2022, many of the real-world applications of this technology have not yet been introduced. The ways in which generative AI is already starting and will continue to evolve beyond text and image platforms in the coming years include:

  • Audio and video-based AI apps with capabilities such as voice and facial cloning
  • Advanced targeted AI models to help protect against data security and hacking threats
  • Improvements in accuracy, meaning training algorithms on models that produce less false information (i.e. hallucinations)
  • Generative AI-based personal assistant bots, called co-bots, to replace automated assistants like Siri and Alexa
  • Generative AI-equipped smartphones and personal computer

Market data indicates that industries deploying generative AI tools will see the most significant gains in marketing and sales functions, which bodes well for real estate professionals.

A McKinsey report found that marketing and sales leaders were most positive about generative AI gains in lead identification, marketing optimization, and personalized outreach.

Trust and generative AI

Innovation almost always outpaces rules and legislation that provide guardrails to protect us. So, for now, technology like generative AI will be controlled and driven by a few powerful organizations. With this in mind, you’ll want to closely watch tech investment trends and look for ethical decision-making in the development process.

How long can it last?

At some point, the generative AI boom will begin to taper off and investors will race to find the next big emerging tech to develop. To fuel future growth, Big Tech will always be on the lookout for new markets and emerging technologies, but will remain deeply invested in burgeoning AI, augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) and quantum computing technologies.

A real estate game changer

It’s inevitable that Big Tech investments in emerging technologies will continue to bring new ways of working to the real estate domain. What agents do with those technologies and how they transform doing business will become increasingly important. Understanding what business bottlenecks you are trying to solve is job one.

Next, understanding new technologies and the forces that bring them to market are foundational to managing change. And using those technologies ethically and responsibly to build your business and create better services and customer experiences will always be a market differentiator for agents who see tech as an opportunity to grow.

© National Association of Realtors® (NAR), Dan Weisman

©Florida Realtors®

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