Riding on a Bangkok BTS Sky Train, I noticed that five of the seven passengers sitting across and around me were completely entranced playing with their mobile phones.
Everywhere we turn today we are faced with some new technology that is taking over another part of our individual and shared lives.
Whether it is a technology that is replacing us ‘more than just humanoids’ or a technology program that is used to replace us…it is all the same, as it seems that we are quickly being replaced and discarded.
Just look at what Uber is doing to traditional taxi services worldwide and it is easy to see there is a war going on; a war for survival!
Yes, taxi drivers all across Europe are mad as hell, but do you think that they will stop this online trend?
There is even a £198 million joint legal action against the taxi-booking app Uber by taxi drivers in Canada’s biggest city, Toronto.
Look at the tour and hospitality businesses and the incredible changes they have undergone in the last ten years or so.
Try to search the internet for a particular hotel; you can’t find it! You are first barraged by dozens of ‘best price on the internet’ hotel web portals, and if the particular hotel you are looking for is paying that search engine for placement, you might get lucky and find it on the second or third page. Most often, however, you just get lost in the discount-hotel pricing menagerie.
Look what is happening to the print industry as newspapers and magazines are being challenged daily by online magazines and news portals.
Who needs pharmacies and pharmacists anymore when everything from aspirin to prescription drugs is online for all to purchase for home delivery?
Amazon is trying hard to get groceries delivered to your home from online orders. Every major city in the world now has online services offering home delivery of everything from fast food to fine dining from restaurants across town.
Let’s face it, from the clothes we wear, the food we eat and the form of transportation we choose, we are replacing one service job after another, and now with the advancement of drone technology, high-tech is about to ‘shoot the messenger’ as we won’t even need delivery people anymore.
It seems that there are no employable services out there that are safe from the menacing advance of technological progress.
In fact, to my horror, I very recently clicked open an online copy of Property Report Asia and read the shocking headline: ‘It may be time to say goodbye to traditional property brokers’.
Getting rid of traditional property brokers may not be so bad; I have always considered myself to be a progressive property broker—modern thinker that I am–so surely that headline did not pertain to me.
Then I read the article to learn that there was a new app from India poised to make real estate brokers obsolete. ALL real estate brokers would become a thing of the past! That was just too much, as now it was my toes that technology was stepping on.
These monsters even had their own tech-savvy brand name: NoBroker.com.
The minds behind NoBroker.com–Akhil Gupta and Amit Agarwal—have created a Web portal designed to directly link home owners with prospective buyers and renters, thus eliminating the need for the traditional real estate broker.
Eliminate the need? They might as well have said ‘shoot me in the head.’ I continued reading and thinking that this cannot be good for me as a broker.
The article related some drivel about Agarwal and Gupta conceiving the app after they had bad experiences of their own with brokers. Agarwal said, “Our algorithm is designed to keep the broker out of the system. When a new customer registers on our site, the algorithm works in the background and validates the user in around two minutes.”
That’s when something about these two ‘online salesmen’ started smelling a little fishy.
At this point I was reading with more than a little speculation as the article went on to say that ‘NoBroker stands out from the rest by replacing everything a broker would normally do in the course of a transaction with technology’.
How could this possibly be? I asked myself. Then they finally tripped up with their bait-and-switch ploy to outmaneuver professional real estate brokers.
(Are you ready? I think you are going to like this):
The NoBroker.com online technology will verify the listing, photo, location and owner and also will provide customizable rental agreements for the parties to peruse.
So far so good, eh? But now it gets even better as the peddlers reveal that the next step is for a NoBroker.com team member—a real human being–to visit the property owner and buyer or tenant to help finalize the agreement and take care of all formalities.
Now isn’t that nice as NoBroker.com’s ‘off line and very human’ team member has just materialized and entered the real estate transaction as the brand new high tech ‘NoBroker broker’ at your service.
It was then that I let out a sigh of relief realizing that as long as people need to make the very personal decisions necessary to choose a place to call home, they will continue to rely on the skills and judgment of an experienced real estate professional capable of helping them make one of the most important decisions of their lives.
Choosing a home is a decision that comes from within, and we will all continue to appreciate professional real estate brokers who also can reach within to a place that has more than just hard drives, cables and software!