This post is part of our new Future of Real Estate series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Miguel Berger, Co-founder of Voiceter Pro.
1. What’s the history of Voiceter Pro? Where and how did you begin?
MB: When software developer Ami Berger asked his father, Miguel, to buy him an Amazon Alexa he promised to develop an app in exchange. Naturally, with Miguel’s more than 30 years in the real estate business, the focus would be on an app that would give his Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Tech Valley company a market edge.
Miguel, always a forward-thinking businessman with a love of technology, and Ami, who grew up around the real estate industry and is a gifted software engineer, shared a vision of an app that would allow consumers to ask Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home to find them the home of their dreams. This vision became the Real Estate skill on Amazon’s Alexa-powered devices, which was launched in early December 2016. Real Estate Search launched on Google Home in April 2017 and on Microsoft’s Cortana in July 2017.
Realizing the conversational search algorithm they created would have many applications beyond real estate, Voiceter Pro was born. Voiceter Pro allows consumers to speak to Alexa or Google Home and be guided through a series of questions to find the product or service that most closely meets their needs. The top results are read back to the users, while all results are provided in a branded email sent to the user and the Voiceter Pro client, who now has an actionable lead.
2. What specific problem does Voiceter Pro solve? How do you solve it?
MB: We don’t believe that we’ve solved a problem per se. We believe that we created an opportunity for businesses to leverage the rapidly growing adoption of artificial intelligence-driven home assistants. Increasingly, consumers want these devices to do more than turn off the lights or turn up the heat. They want them to make all facets of their lives easier from automatically ordering your favorite beverage when your refrigerator determines you’re low to automatically recording your favorite show when you’re out.
Asking Alexa, Google or Cortana to find your next home is a natural extension of this. In select markets such as Albany, NY, would-be homebuyers can say open Real Estate to Alexa, answer a few questions such as location, price range and number of bedrooms and have Alexa tell you the first three matching results. Before the interaction is over, Alexa has sent a follow-up email with all the properties that match the user’s search results.
The opportunity for real estate brokers is three-fold: in-home, branded marketing through the AI telling the user the brokerage made the search possible; lead generation through the broker receiving a copy of the user’s search along with their contact information; and as a tool to recruit additional agents.
3. What’s the future of real estate?
Prediction #1: Voice technology will change the way the consumers find their new homes, voice technology allows the consumers to do a “social search” meaning they can be sitting in their living room and more than one person can interact at the same time, also they can listen to the results together instead of sitting in front of their computer.
Prediction #2: As voice technology gets integrated more into our daily lives will be easier for the consumer to get all the chores done hands-free, such as shopping list, reminders of appointments and getting the new homes that meet their criteria while having a family breakfast.
Prediction #3: From the agent perspective, voice will make an agent more efficient since they can multi-task and let the technology help them become more efficient with their time. In the not too far future agents will be able to get continuing education, check MLS properties, set up appointments all with the power of voice.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you’re seeing in real estate?
Trend #1: Great use of 3D technology in photography.
Trend #2: The emerging use of predictive analytics to better target marketing efforts.
Trend #3: Growing interest of bots.
5. Why is the real estate industry ripe for disruption?
MB: The real estate industry is slow when it comes to adopting technology. With the average age of an agent in the 50s, it makes it more challenging for agents and brokers to adapt to the demands of the next generation of buyers. Communicating with clients and customers is very different than it used to be. Today, we’re seeing the emergence of voice-driven, AI technology in homes, and I believe that this is just the start of how voice-activated tech will become an integrated part of our lives, just as smartphones have in the past decade.
About Miguel Berger
With more than 30 years experience in the real estate industry, Miguel is the owner/broker of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Tech Valley. He founded the successful company as an independent brokerage, recognizing the value of the Tech Valley name in New York State’s Capital Region. The successful firm was eventually courted by Better Homes and Gardens to give that strong presence in the state’s capital. In addition to holding several advanced real estate designations, Miguel has been a local REALTOR® and multiple listing service president. He is recognized nationally as an industry leader and forward-thinking businessman with a love of technology.