Technology and information go hand in hand. Where you find the former, you almost certainly access the latter. Especially now, as emerging technologies make finding, storing and analyzing data easier than ever, it seems like we have the entire world at our fingertips.

Yet despite all the advancements in information technology, the real estate industry was slow to embrace its potential. Yes, there were early adopters and forward-thinkers. But by and large, professionals preferred the old way of doing things: gut instinct, simple data sets and limited consumer interaction.

That’s changing. Thanks to a spirited push from real estate technology companies, IT is finally transforming the real estate industry for the better. Here’s how.

Big Data in Commercial Real Estate

Big data refers to vast, complex data sets too unwieldy for standard processing software to manage. These data sets contain rich, highly accurate insights that can only be tapped with predictive analytics and machine learning.

It’s surprising how long it took for commercial real estate to understand big data’s potential. Big data can accurately pinpoint hotspots for development, steer investors toward up-and-coming areas, and correctly predict future market movements.

Commercial real estate companies are listening now. According to CBRE, big data will play a significant role in “reshaping global commercial real estate” in future years.

Digital Marketplaces in Residential Real Estate

Commercial investors and developers aren’t the only beneficiaries of IT in real estate – the consumer wins too.

Take Nobul as a fantastic example. The disruptive real estate digital marketplace leverages an AI-driven agent matching algorithm to allow consumers unprecedented choice and transparency. Basically, consumers enter personalized criteria, and the AI analyzes reviews, transactions, sales histories, etc., to generate a shortlist of relevant real estate agents. Agents can then compete for consumers’ business.

It’s a marked dynamic shift in the industry. According to Nobul CEO Regan McGee, “ We’re finally giving consumers power in this industry.” In an interview with Medium, he shared that “We’re helping bring more transparency, credibility, and accountability to the single biggest transaction of people’s lives.”

Cloud Technology for Real Estate Professionals

Having covered IT’s benefits for investors, developers and consumers, let’s not forget about the industry itself – the real estate professionals.

Several IT advancements are transforming the working life of the modern real estate professional: social media, geolocation, automation platforms, sales engagement platforms, etc. But the largest underlying driver of practitioner success is probably cloud computing.

Cloud technology allows agents to engage their clients quickly, thoroughly and efficiently, improving their level of service. It saves professionals money on data storage. It helps protect real estate companies from costly cyber-attacks. And, importantly, cloud technology enables agents to improve their marketing efforts and lead generation through data tracking and data analysis.

These three separate factions in the industry – commercial investors, residential consumers and industry professionals – each benefit from information technology. And the role of IT is only increasing as more real estate participants realize its potential.