Smart home speakers will be among the top holiday gifts this season, with Amazon’s Echo and Google Home leading the way. What keeps these two in the lead against competitors are the multitude of “skills” available through each company’s respective artificial intelligence (AI) platforms: Alexa and Google Assistant.
Various businesses have partnered with Amazon and Google to provide a subset of skills or capabilities within the smart home toolbox, allowing consumers to access flash briefings from Fox News or The New York Times, as well as play Jeopardy and turn down the thermostat through voice activation. Now with Voiceter Pro—an application created by software developer Ami Berger and his father Miguel Berger, president of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Tech Valley in Upstate New York—users can obtain home information, look into getting a real estate license and connect with local repair professionals.
The major concern is that the app is limited to information provided by its contracted partners. Currently, Voiceter Pro has joined with the following:
- Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Tech Valley
- Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Sonora Desert Lifestyles
- Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Shanahan Group
- McQuaid & Company Real Estate Services
- Griffith Realty
- MLSLI (Serving Nassau and Suffolk counties and Queens and Brooklyn in New York)
- REBI (Real Estate Business Institute)
- The Keyes Company
The more brokerages, multiple listing services and real estate education centers join, the larger the impact will be on the real estate industry as a whole. While the extensive capabilities are impressive, the short reach impedes the app’s ability to be a nationwide innovator. Should the app gain traction in an ultra-competitive tech industry, real estate may become a part of every American smart household.
What It Can Do
- Real Estate Search
This capability is available for Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana. It is a tool that helps brokers and agents turn consumers’ voice searches into qualified leads. Through this skill, consumers can ask for search results for listings that are published on the partnered MLS. They are able to use traditional search parameters, such as location, price range and number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Voiceter Pro ultimately connects the buyer or seller lead with a partnered broker.
- Real Estate Careers
For those interested in obtaining their agent or broker license, Voiceter Pro can provide information from its partnered learning institutions—at press time, only REBI in Chicago, Ill., has joined. The skill also allows brokers to create their own custom messages for those who are licensed and are interested in switching brokerages.
This skill connects consumers with service and repair professionals, which are provided by broker clients. Brokerages can control their vendor list by adding or removing companies at any time. This capability is currently being offered at a $399 per month introductory price for the first year.
- My Home Value
Consumers interested in obtaining their home’s value can ask Alexa, Google Assistant or Cortana to provide an automated value model (AVM) result, which will be branded to a specific partnered agent. Consumers can then ask to be contacted by that local real estate professional for a more accurate assessment and to have their questions answered. Voiceter Pro provides consumers with the agent’s email, address and phone number.
Will It Catch On?
The app’s success or downfall will be tied to its marketing. Voice searching is still a new concept, and consumers may not initially think to use their artificial intelligence assistants to search for real estate information. For the younger generations, internet searches continue to dominate other alternatives when it comes to connecting with a real estate agent. And with such a small list of partnered vendors, consumers may struggle to consider Voiceter Pro as an all-encompassing real estate resource. But with the growing popularity of smart home tech, brokerages may be more willing to board the AI train in the near future.
Brokerages will also need to consider cost versus lead generation potential, a factor that is difficult to analyze when the business is so new. The holidays will bring more smart home products into households this year, adding potential customers for Voiceter Pro’s list of products and a chance for the business to prove itself.
“With estimates of over 40 million Amazon and Google units in homes, Voiceter Pro’s goal is to provide a conversational interface for consumers to get answers to their real estate questions from their favorite artificial intelligence home assistant,” says Miguel Berger. “These devices can be used for much more than turning off the lights, listening to music or changing the TV channel. We are in the early stages with these devices and we believe the sky is the limit. Just look at how pervasive smartphones are today and think about the fact that iPhones are only 10 years old. They changed the way we live. In 10 years, we’ll be looking back and marveling about how voice has matured and ingrained itself into daily life activities.”
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