AI, virtual reality and real estate: big ideas from the IOi 2022 summit

AI, virtual reality and real estate: big ideas from the IOi 2022 summit

Famous futurist Thomas Frey is quoted as saying, “If you change your view of the future, you will also change the way you make decisions today. Frey, whose insights into the field of futurology have caught the attention of global companies like Google, IBM and AT&T, shared a similar sentiment last week at this year’s Innovation, Opportunity and Investment (iOi) Summit, where he discussed the future of real estate. .

Organized by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the annual conference welcomed professionals from across the country to explore the latest groundbreaking ideas in the world of PropTech.


Topics ranged widely from non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to affordable housing to insurance, with presenters including former Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, former CEO Ryan O’Hara and Million Dollar List: New York star Fredrik Eklund taking the stage to champion innovation over adaptation.

EQTY CEO Mike Shapiro, who led a discussion on the correlative behaviors between asset classes and residential real estate, said a key takeaway from the conference was that “the real estate industry is looking for a evolution to drive them forward. They are looking for tools and efficiencies to reduce costs and increase transaction volume.”

Couldn’t make it to the event? Here are three big ideas from this year’s iOi Summit.

machine learning


Behind the scenes, artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing the process by which industries collect and analyze data, and real estate is no different. Algorithms can sift through millions of public records in seconds, examining property values, debt levels and home renovations to better match buyers with the right home and mortgage.

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With the vast majority of listings living on some form of digital platform, the work of collecting and monitoring data can become more efficient than ever, thanks to machine learning (ML).

From the photos alone, automated image analysis like Amazon’s Rekognition can extract and organize information about a property, such as the presence of a fireplace, pool or patio doors, data that can be used to understand consumer trends or better sort the online ad. For home buyers, this would mean more specific and specialized searches.

In addition to data mining, these image and video analysis services can also detect and moderate unwanted content, providing a moderation tool for online platforms. Moderation tools are handy for real estate platforms offering user-generated content.


Mortgage processing can also be made faster and easier with AI support, which can instantly detect errors and verify information to prevent fraud.

Digital twins

As many agents will tell you, half the battle when closing a property is getting customers to come in and see for themselves. Now, thanks to advances in virtual reality (VR), buyers can view a property without ever having to walk to their front door.

Fueled in part by early pandemic lockdowns and social distancing, the need for virtual replicas has remained a priority for commercial and residential developers and brokers who are just beginning to unlock the potential of this burgeoning technology.


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Known as the digital twin, this immersive 3D model allows homebuyers to interact with a property, including ones that have yet to be built.

Although the concept is not new, recent advancements have been significant, with sophisticated digital twin technology now more accessible and affordable than ever.


Companies like Matterport, a 3D media startup, are bringing products to market that will allow brokers of all sizes to use this increasingly popular technology. Products include 3D scanning and 360 degree cameras as well as motorized mounts that enable 3D scanning with a mobile.

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For developers, digital twins could enable the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly means of construction and early detection of previously unforeseen problems.

Real estate indexing

In previous and current schools of thought, real estate has often been treated as separate from other asset classes. However, some experts, like Mike Shapiro, argue that it shouldn’t be.

Instead, Shapiro asserted a counterpoint that by understanding the correlations between residential real estate and asset classes, such as stocks, prices could be understood more accurately and therefore the market as a whole.


Just as publicly traded companies are indexed, real estate can be organized into various silos, which can then be used to invest, forecast or hedge, Shapiro explained.

For example, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which reflects the 30 largest companies listed on US stock exchanges, can be compared to prominent communities like Beverly Hills or Manhattan. In the same vein, the strong growth associated with stocks listed on the NASDAQ composite can be linked to markets like Austin or Nashville.

With these correlations in mind, insurance companies, appraisers, banks and real estate agents may well have a more prescient understanding of pricing.



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