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Listen as Adam Hooper and Steve Weikal discuss how virtual reality, autonomous cars and blockchain may impact the real estate of tomorrow. He is also a lecturer and researcher, focused on innovative new technology and business models that disrupt the traditional ways of developing, transacting and managing real estate.
He is the founder of Real Disruption, a successful series of conferences discussing the impact of emerging technology on the real estate industry, and he sits on the advisory boards of two Boston-based real estate technology start-ups.
Prior to his position at the Center for Real Estate, Steve was Vice President of NOW Communities, a Concord, MA based developer of new residential neighborhoods that merge the best of traditional design with 21st century energy technology.
Adam Hooper — Hey, Tyler. Tyler Stewart — Hey, Adam. How are you today? Very, very, very intelligent. I always love my conversations with Steve. He does this Real Disruption series where they talk about tech and real estate and things that are going on there. Law background, technology background, principal background as a developer. Just a very, very, very incredible guy. Talked about a lot of different stuff today. Tyler Stewart — Yeah, we did.
Of those things you mentioned, it was very apparent Steve is passionate about technology and real estate. Adam Hooper — Absolutely. Tyler Stewart — We talked about how technology is going to impact the real estate of tomorrow. Adam Hooper — Yeah, we talked about virtual reality, augmented reality. We talked about autonomous cars. We talked about this concept, real estate fracking, not in the traditional energy sense, but how that can apply to usage of space, essentially.
Tyler Stewart — And we talked about block chain. Adam Hooper — And we talked about block chain. As always, if you have any questions, comments, please send us an email to podcast realcrowd.
RealCrowd — This podcast is brought to you by RealCrowd, the leader in online real estate investing. Adam Hooper — Steve, thanks for joining us today. Great to have you on. Steve Weikal — I am delighted to be here.
Thanks for the invitation. Steve Weikal — Sure. Gerald Hines, actually, was here in the early days. We do two things here at The Center for Real Estate. Adam Hooper — Many years. Now, you came from, again, I alluded to your interesting background. My first real estate job was redeveloping the historic movie theaters in downtown Detroit, which was a really fascinating time from the standpoint of an urban real estate experience and historic real estate, and how to unlock value, how to identify and unlock value.
It was a great first introduction to the real estate industry. Also, my law background, I was never really a practicing lawyer, but was interested in the real estate law aspect, also some energy, but in startup, with my experience with startups and technology, really, that intersection of real estate and technology and entrepreneurship has always been an interesting place to be.
Adam Hooper — It is. Why are we getting into that now? Compare that to the commercial business, which tends to be longer cycle, higher margin. I think the technology is different now. That probably motivated, I think if you look at the founders of the early real estate tech startups, I think they were solving a problem that they saw in their jobs.
I think it was the convergence of a bunch of trends all happening at the same time. Adam Hooper — Yeah, I think what you touched on is interesting. Again, being a relatively younger, I guess I still kind of think of myself as a younger player in the industry, you see that the practitioners that are coming into these jobs that are becoming in a position of control where they can have influence over how operations are run, they have much more exposure to these new technologies than the old guard.
Steve Weikal — Yes. You order your food that way, your dog gets walked that way, your laundry gets done that way. Why do I have to go back and sit in front of a desktop on a spreadsheet to run my job in commercial real estate?
Adam Hooper — Now, you just mentioned a whole bunch of stuff that we want to unpack. Adam Hooper — A few things that we were hoping to touch on today, the app experience. Like you said, with Uber and Lyft and the other ones, you can push a couple buttons on your phone, and so much can happen just from those button clicks.
We want to talk about how mobile is affecting it. This ride sharing, autonomous cars. Adam Hooper — If we can start with this mobile concept. I have a phone in my pocket that is so much more powerful than anything that this industry has used to run billions, if not trillions, of dollars of real estate for decades. How are you seeing that impact what happens on a day-to-day level at the real estate world?
I think, just from a straight mobile standpoint, there are a number of these startups. When you and I met, probably about four years ago, 48 months ago, maybe 36 months ago, we were early on.
We started doing that, we do the Real Disruption conference. You were on one of our panels for that. Tomorrow is our eighth Real Disruption conference. Adam Hooper — Great. Steve Weikal — The venture capital has followed it, as well. Adam Hooper — Have you seen much in the kind of virtual reality, augmented reality space? Again, you mentioned the brokerage side of things. Have you guys seen much in that space? Starting to see that where you point at the building or you type in an address, and you get the full, you get a snapshot of the full organism of the building.
Now, part of that is the technology that allows us to do that on our phone. Part of that is the unlocking of data out in the world. That is also accelerating at kind of a ridiculous pace. Everybody sits down, and they put on goggles, and you tour the building, you put on a headset and you tour this space. You go down the elevators, you go through the common areas and you go out into the neighborhood. You do all that virtually. I would kind of joke with the future may look like that.
I walked the client through the building. He was in his office, I was in my office, and we signed the deal. Steve Weikal — And Matterport hooking up with Truss. That should have architects a little concerned. It might get brokers very excited.
Steve Weikal — True. What is that going to do to real estate? Steve Weikal — A whole bunch of things. It was done here at the Media Lab. Ryan Chin and Emilio Frazzoli and some terrifically smart guys were addressing not only the technology, but what the implications are. Adam Hooper — Right, can ya run that in parallel with a human, essentially? From my understanding, what they shared with me, it is really, really hard. The technology is really, really hard to have not only the vehicle be fully autonomous, but to interact with a not fully autonomous digitized environment.
But either way, there are implications for pickup and drop-off. How do parking garages need to be redesigned? Do we even need parking? What do we do with the legacy parking structures? There are all of these issues just around parking. There are a lot of policy issues that will have to be addressed. Will that discourage sprawl or will it encourage sprawl? Those are intriguing questions. The other one that I think is interesting is last mile.
Will we still need long-haul transit? If you have a train system, does this solve the last mile problem? Will this help people get from where they live to the train station? Will we continue to have conventional transit?