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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

3

A perspective of real estate search in 2012

Posted on: February 19th, 2010 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Technology

The first two months of this year has provided me with a clear view of the future of real estate; and at the same time provided a view of the leap that I think we will collectively take in the application of technology in the property market. This clarity has come as a result of a couple of key signals, the first of which came from the single defining message from the Inman Connect conference in New York at the start of January – the message loud and clear was MOBILE.

Mobile, as in the always-accessible, real-time, comprehensive, location-aware data to enable buyers to be more efficient in the property searching process to find that perfect home.

Apple iPadSecondly we have witnessed the birth of not just a new product, but a new category in technology. I am speaking of course of the iPad. I am confident this new product will spawn a new category for information and media consumption. The new Apple device whilst being derided by some as just an iTouch with a bigger screen, for me is the first computing device built as a reading device that is not derived from the humble typewriter. If you cast aside smart phones for the moment for their limited screen size; the iPad is the first accessory that is designed to be viewed, read and used to help us make sense of information. It is not compromised by a clam shell construction and a 19th century keyboard structure.

Rightly as some will argue the iPad will not become the instant hot item as the iPhone was; but give it a few years and let a few of your friends get one, and before long the iPad and the “me-to” devices that will undoubtedly spring to life will hold a serious role in consumers’ lives in the coming years.

So the question then is – how could this device and its competitors change the world of property search?  To think this through, visualise for a moment a day in the future, some day a year or so from now when you are looking for a new home.

You will be walking across the road to the open home having utilized the turn by turn driving instructions in your car downloaded from the web app to get the travel sequence for today’s open home schedule for the 3 properties you wanted to check out. The app also conveniently worked out and recommended a convenient cafe on the route for you to have a quick coffee.

The long black and flat white was all the better for the online promotion code and the service more than merited a recommendation easily uploaded through the iphone app as part of the open home schedule.

Approaching the open home you activate the record device on your iPhone to capture images and comments pertaining to the layout of the house – all contextually linked to the dynamic floor plan of the property. You calmly wander through the house having by passed the registration book as an established client with the real estate agent.

No need for open home brochure here, as the agent had already provided all the necessary reports including LIM, valuation, title record and Zoodle report on the community and amenities. All accessible and stored online for easy reference.

The open home “host” reminds you politely for the completion of the open home survey which has already been triggered by the iPhone app. The open home “host” now has a complete list of attendees at the property through blue-tooth & RFID matching to enquirers interested in the property.

Leaving the property your attention is drawn to the property across the road. Accessing the Zoodle app you verify the property ID through the augmented reality and having already set up a 3 month subscription service to the Zoodle data you are instantly provided with sales history and current valuation on the property as you stand facing the house. The data certainly gives you confidence that the home opposite, the one you are keen on is reasonably priced.

Returning home you relax in the lounge and complete the open home survey on your iPad, providing the listing agent with comments on all aspects of the house. You also take the opportunity to provide an indication of what you think the property is likely to sell for. You then have the chance to review the property combining the agent provided details together with your own images and notes recorded during the open home visit making for a comprehensive portfolio about the property all stored and accessible on the “My Property” section on Realestate.co.nz.

With all the relevant information you could need, you are now ready to contact the agent to discuss an offer – you conference in the agent and your solicitor and make an offer – all electronically – of course!

3

Technology is the key to the future of real estate

Posted on: February 5th, 2010 | Filed in Agent Tips, Other interesting reads:, Technology

Real Estate Connect New York City 2010 | Real Estate and Technology News for Agents, Brokers and Investors | Inman NewsI have taken a week or so following my attendance at the Inman Connect Conference in New York earlier last month. In this time I have collated my thoughts around the conference to share these here now.

As has become traditional with Inman Connect conferences of the past couple of years there is usually a single takeaway that I carry with me as I return to NZ from attending these events.

In 2007 at my first conference the takeaway was social media and the emergence of blogs; 2008 was the rise of Facebook and Twitter as platforms for real estate conversations; 2009 was all about data and a growing transparency for the real estate industry – agents embracing the concept of consumer review and critique of the performance metrics of the industry.

For 2010 the takeaway was mobile – mobile as in real time, location based, real estate data, accessible on portable devices.

Mobile computing came of age in 2009.

YouTube - Trulia iPhone App UpdateWith more than 75 million iPhones sold and a growing collection of alternative smart phones, most significant of which is undoubtedly Google’s new entrance through the Android mobile operating system and now the Nexus One, it is very clear to see that we are on the fast accelerating adoption curve where we will see many hundreds of millions of new generation smart phones purchased in the coming months and years. All of these devices are in fact far more mobile computers that just happen to provide voice communication rather than phones in the sense of what we have been using for two decades to make mobile calls.

The future as Brad Inman (the conference host and owner of Inman News) said in summing up the conference; the future is very clear and bright (and profitable) for those agents who understand and leverage the technology revolution in this industry that began at the start of this last decade and in some ways is now really hitting its stride. The great quote I often use in many presentations I do is from an Australian real estate conference of a couple of years ago “Agents will not be replaced by technology – they will be replaced by agents with technology” it just keeps on resonating as so relevant, so true.

The Connect conference is structured to provide a rich mix of technology and real estate business discussions and debates. The origin of the name came from the concept of the place where real estate and technology “connected”. It is featured packed, somewhat frenetic in nature and very much a smorgasbord of discussion groups and break out sessions as well as short – but pithy keynote presentations as well as lots of valuable takeaway ideas and initiatives.

Here then is a smorgasbord of takeaways, which caught my attention during the conference:

  • More and more agents are confidently stating that print advertising has lost all relevance and now all of their focus is on the web, this even lead in one session to the heated quote from a prominent New York agent “print never sold properties”. The move online is not just for advertising properties but also for profiling agents as part of marketing themselves – their brand.
  • The appeal of the iPhone and the development of the apps store replete with real estate apps has developed a culture and unique behaviour particularly on a Saturday as witnessed by massive spikes in traffic to these apps when “soccer mums” seek out local open homes to check out after the kids sports event – this behaviour has now become a phenomenon which is contributing to a noticeable rise in open home visits driven by the real time location based data.
  • Google was a much talked about subject and the conference provided a platform for the company’s real estate representative to share the company’s plans. Needless to say not a lot was shared except to recognise the value that Google saw in liberating real estate data. They refused to be drawn as to any potential acquisition to enhance their already released map based search. As ever with Google they are undoubtedly the smartest guys in the room. They have very clear views and plans and they have massive resources. They will roll out new functionality to enhance basic search, it will be disruptive, it will provide opportunities for them to sell more advertising and more and more of these adverts will be bought by real estate companies and agents. Google are here to stay, and real estate for them is a key agenda item.
  • Video as a complement to image based property presentation always represents a component of these conferences. Whilst the technology is improving in leaps and bounds the limitation and appeal is as ever down to the capability and professionalism behind the camera. The percentage of all listings with a video is increasing; but in reality it still represents a small percentage and always will. Buyers are looking for speed and efficiency at the early stage of search – video is just not conducive as a medium to this process.
  • There were a couple of sessions during the conference titled and focused on challenges to reinvent the real estate brokerage model. This included a panel of key leaders in the industry. Having sat in the breakout sessions and the main panel, I have to confess I was particularly unimpressed by the level of innovation. There was a sense of the same model with just a new set of clothes. There were plenty of good words – such as accountability, transparency, ethics, and personal service. Lots of plans to leverage social media and engage with clients, but through it all; it was the same model – advertise and farm for vendor (and buyer) leads, advertise everywhere, manage leads and negotiate sale for a % of the selling price. The question in the back of my mind was:
    * Is the current model broken” – answer “No!” (Or at least not significantly broken)
    * Is their scope for innovation and significant differentiation in business model – answer “Surely must be!”
  • An excellent session was a “start-up alley” of new technology companies offering services to the real estate industry. This was the chance for these new companies to share with the attendees their pitch for their company and for the audience to vote for the concept most likely to succeed – which they would most likely invest in. These were all companies, which were largely operating, and at this time many of which were self financed
  • I was impressed at the diversity and innovation; they covered the range from agent business applications to online media sales to neighbourhood social – the winner being in the latter category NabeWise aiming to create social commentary around neighbourhoods.
  • As ever the conference has the usual heated debates and literal stand-offs, a classic of the last day was the ubiquitous debate around the structure, value, longevity and relevance of the USA’s unique MLS structure (that is the central Multiple Listing Service) – central is actually the wrong word as there are over 800 MLS’s covering the country and all are largely built as proprietary fiefdoms who to my naive and non-US eyes and ears exemplify the analogy of the buggy maker at the turn of the century as the motor car drove into town.

As a fellow conference attendee shared his thoughts with me during the conference – this is such a valuable engagement with like-minded people, a sense of reinforcement, substantiation and affirmation that in spite of the fact that we may operate in a market of just 4 million people – a tiny fraction of the business scale of Europe and the US we can share, learn, contribute and gain so much to ensure we are constantly challenges to deliver unique and valuable service

Returning to the key takeaway again of mobile as the technological catalyst most likely to impact this industry, it is interesting to speculate as to the landscape of real estate a year or two from now. Whilst the adoption and integration of mobile enabled capabilities within the agent community is uncertain, sitting as I do running a consumer website to assist buyer find their dream home I can very clearly see the future for property seekers as they become mobile enabled with real estate data. More data, more accessible, helping buyers and sellers to make better-informed decisions.

8

The next major technology challenge for real estate – 3D!

Posted on: December 7th, 2009 | Filed in Online marketing, Technology

istock_000008454256xsmallHeading as we are to the end of the decade prompts me to wonder – what will be the “next big thing” for 2010 and beyond?

So I will stick my neck out and say that the next decade will bring a radical change to the real estate industry processes borne of the transformative technology of the visual images we will see on every device in the future. That transformation will come from the switch from 2D to 3D.

To be clear I am not envisaging the adoption of the current version of 3D complete with coloured lens glasses – no! the technology I foresee will be a totally immersive and life-like experience.

I cannot claim to have come up with this prediction – for that I have to thank Phil McKinney the global CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of HP who in a recent interview with the Tech Weekly team at the Guardian podcast in the UK laid out his vision of the future focused around 3D.

So how would 3D imaging radically change real estate?

Well think for a moment around this analogy – the current 2D imaging we see every minute of every day is akin to the very first moving pictures – they were a marvel and without sound relied on captions to provide dialogue. Then came the talkies and some wondered why people would want to have sound – that view lasted all of 5 minutes before sound and image became the norm. So it will be with 3D – there are those that say “why do we need it” – until we experience it.

So imagine this world of 3D – the ability in the case of real estate to genuinely and authentically undertake Open Homes – true, lifelike experiences at the click of a mouse.

With this type of experience for all properties there will be no need for 150 words of description for a property, as the images will be streamed in real time to your viewing device; which will not be  a 17″ laptop or desktop PC, but a 50″ TV monitor.

Browsing through photos will still be the first step of search, but each property will be able to be experienced in a comprehensive fashion; investigating every room of a property from every angle in a truly immersive manner. Added to which you will be able to add your own furniture and colour scheme to ensure you can fit, and that the house fits you!

So how will this impact the real estate profession? – it is likely that we will see changes around the marketing of properties. It is quite possible that the marketing of properties will become an outsourced service. Specialised companies will be contracted by real estate agents to document digitally every property to enable a comprehensive selection of still and moving 3D images to be created.

Removing this task of content creation is great news for the real estate profession, freeing them up to focus their skills directly to the task of facilitating the sale. Bringing together the buyers and seller and providing guidance, advice, local knowledge and statistical insight to ensure that the purchase is executed with clarity and efficiency which satisfies both parties to the sale.

The technology for 3D is not quite there as yet, but something like this certainly has the ability to come upon us speedily. Rest assured when it does realestate.co.nz will be embracing it to add richness to the experience of property searching – we plan to be here providing services to property searchers and the real estate industry way into the next decade and beyond!

0

The smart grid – the next extension of the information super highway

Posted on: October 25th, 2009 | Filed in Green, Technology

Smart Grid 101 - Business WeekFifty five years ago the then head of the US Atomic Energy Commission foretold of a time in the future when as he put it “our children would enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter”.

We are the children he foresaw, however that world has yet to eventuate. His prediction interestingly was not of future of nuclear power, despite that being the flavour of the day, his prediction was of hydrogen fusion, something that is only now emerging.

Although we are not clearly approaching a time when “power will be too cheap to meter” we are approaching a time when we will be able to closely monitor not only how we use power but more and more how we produce power. The smart grid is emerging as a real future for houses across the world which will provide us with an analysis of our usage by time and type of consumption allowing for decision making which could tie into a greater range of peak and off peak charging by power generators.

Individual solar panels on house roofs which are currently dropping in price (almost in line with the classic “Moore’s Law” which accurately predicted that silicon chip technology would see a doubling of transistors every 18 months matched to a halving of cost) could reshape the balance between generation and consumption aided by wireless accessed smart meters providing online account details.

This scenario is well presented in a recent Business Week article and podcast which examines this phenomena. As the article states it could have an empowering influence for the consumer to better be able to manage power usage in the future, allowing us to make better decisions as to what type of devises to buy and use and also when to use them – aided with enhancements in battery technology which would allow us to even collect and re-sell power at optimal time when demand is high and thereby take advantage of spot pricing.

Not surprising in all of this technological development is the  appearance of Google. Google happens to be one of the major power users of our modern time, with an unconfirmed; but much estimated inventory of web servers and database servers running in the millions of units. The fact is that in our online world power usage at data centres is often far in excess of the cost of the hardware.

Google has long held the principle of organising the world’s collective knowledge and making it available – power usage, consumption and generation is just such information and therefore it is not then surprising that Google this month announced a partnership with a smart meter company. In addition Google already invests in solar farms and is generating most of its own energy at it’s Mountain View campus in California. These are the early signs of where Google could be looking to extend its offering from the web (the utilities of the future – which might just be “too cheap to meter”) to another of today’s utilities.

1

Check your address at myaddress.co.nz

Posted on: October 18th, 2009 | Filed in Technology, Website searching

myaddress.co.nz website - NZ address registerWe may be a small country – but sometimes we do make life hard for ourselves, take addresses for example. Most countries have a post code or Zip code which in some countries represents an area comprising on average less than a dozen or so homes, thereby allowing hyper local addressing. Here in NZ our post code is both little known and at the same time not that granular.

This not only makes for issues with postal systems, but more importantly with emergency services. That is why a new website launched by Terralink International is a great opportunity for NZ to get itself back on the map.

The New Zealand Address Register at www.myaddress.co.nz is an excellent tool to allow home owners to check out the place they call home and make sure it is accurately represented on the mapping system which Terralink operates. This is important as Terralink provide mapping services for the emergency services.

Should you find that your property is not accurately represented – not the right number or street name then this website allows you to send in details to submit proposed changes and thereby allow a more accurate record to be kept so that the emergency services know exactly where you are, especially if your house is known by a name rather than a number, or that your street name has an alias!

For the real estate industry addressing is a critical issue. This tool will be a great opportunity for real estate agents to work with clients to ensure that at the time of any listing or prospecting they can provide assistance to ensure their local knowledge enhances the accuracy of this critical website.

As joint venture partners with Terralink in the property information website of Zoodle, we are pleased to see this initiative come to fruition as it will greatly assist Terralink to maintain a more comprehensive up-to-date database of all properties in the country accurately addressed.

10

Free stuff! – more and more stuff, more and more of the time

Posted on: October 17th, 2009 | Filed in Technology

istock_000004817156xsmallThis week seems to have been for me, pivotal in appreciating the marvels associated with the advancement of technology and the enormous savings that it can bring.

This post is stimulated in part by my current book of choice – Chris Anderson’s new book suitably titled Free. The book is a great sequel to the excellent The Long Tail which I would judge to be required reading for anyone with any interest in online business as it suitably explains the new opportunities enabled by the limitless walls that have for centuries imposed constraints and restrictions on range and selection, something the web liberates us from in so many ways.

Free in some ways continues in the same vein, highlighting and describing as it does the new breadth of free as a business tool. The logic and implications are far reaching and well worth exploring – recommended reading.

The first experience for me this week in relation to technology adding free stuff is that a simple act (a purchase) has given me what I think is a completely free hour each day!

I have purchased a laptop for work – I have taken the leap of faith and gone to the “dark side” as one of my colleagues describes it – I have purchased an Apple (13″ MacBook Pro).

The impact on my life has been truly staggering, in all my business life and what I think amounts to 21 computers over 24 years have never had a PC which demonstrated such a beneficial saving in my time. To what I am eluding is the boot up time (or lack of it!). My old HP sadly had begun to get so painfully slow that I could conservatively say I lost at least 20 minutes per day waiting for full service. Added to this new free time is the entirely intuitive way that Apple software works – and works fast, adding the remaining 40 minutes of free time!

My new Apple has the added benefit of a solid state drive which when combined with the software from Apple means there is literally no boot up time – I open the lid and start typing.

The second example is actually not something that I would choose to benefit from at this time, but when I heard of this benefit when it was relayed to me by my airport taxi driver I was staggered.

The technology of the hybrid car is revolutionary and hopefully in time it will become a core part of every car. The taxi driver told me that his weekly fuel bill with his new car is $200 cheaper!!. Think of it and imagine it, as an independent driver – $200 per week for just changing car. He tells me that he can fill up his tank of his Toyota Prius 1.5l for around $78 and travel around 860 kms. Imagine my embarrassment when I reflect on my own car and its $100 fill up taking me a mere 450 kms around Auckland!

I think we live in the most amazing of times and we are witnessing the most amazing technological advancements – the question though – what relevance to real estate? – not sure to be honest, but heck I was moved to write this and share this wisdom, so maybe some else will be the better for it!

6

The critical importance of home broadband

Posted on: October 13th, 2009 | Filed in Technology

Computer mind explosionOver the past 6 months a mix of four friends and colleagues of mine have moved house – something I have not done for more than a decade and that I guess is why I have never payed that much attention to the issue of broadband access at home.

I have had broadband at home for over 9 years, migrating to a wireless network 4 years ago. It works and despite Telecom NZ’s decision to remove my unlimited access plan – much to my disgust I have not thought much of it. It has become like the other utilities of power and water – something we just expect to be there at the flick of a switch.

So imagine my surprise and in someways sense of shock when each of these individuals struggled with the complexities of accessing a new broadband connection at their new home. At worst some have suffered delays of as long as 2 weeks, others a couple of days. The problem seems to be that broadband is like a game of musical chairs!

If you have a connection all well and good, but as soon as you relinquish it someone will snap up the connection and you are left trying to get space in the exchange to get connected. The set up of exchanges is clearly not adequate. It appears that the more people that are connected at an exchange then the more sharing goes on and the slower the connection becomes.

This is why when I received my notification from Telecom the other day they very politely tell me that I can no longer retain my “Go Large” plan with its unlimited data. Sorry they say, we would like to move you to our new “Big Time” plan and by the way just to let you know “we manage all traffic on Big Time to optimise the experience for everyone. When the network is busy (9am to 2am) you may notice reduced speeds

So if I am getting this right – I am now going to have to use the web between those 7 hours of 2am to 9am to see the true benefits of broadband – because if I dare to use the web in “normal” hours I will be putting an undue strain on the system and you will throttle me back!

This is not logical nor particularly customer centric – I have paid my subscription to the service for many years and now for the “greater good” of everyone else I am going to have to accept working in the wee small hours. If this was a true utility like water and power and my usage went up they would provide more capacity (and I would pay for it) – I am in principle happy to pay for better service, but this new plan costs more for a poorer service!

Broadband is and should be a high priority – it is the new catalyst to drive us as a country to greater economic wealth and prosperity – but sorry – you have to accept slower speeds because we all need to use it responsibly and because inadequate investment was made in the upgrade to broadband by Telecom over the years?

0

Moving home is a great time to organise your important documents

Posted on: June 19th, 2009 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Technology

Moving house is a monumental event. Not only in terms of the financial considerations, but also as it is a time to manage legal considerations to allow for the worst should that eventuate. The establishment of a will is important for everyone irrespective of their financial or personal circumstances – it is prudent to make sure that your wishes are recorded so that they can carried out  as you would wish.

However have you ever given any consideration to the impact of your digital life when you die?

So much of our lives are now online – some casual, some serious – all however accessed through passwords. So the question is – what should happen to your facebook account when you die?, should your blog be removed or do you have a final post that you pre-write to close off the final chapter?

Think for a moment of all the places on the web were parts of your life are held and then ask – who in my family knows how to access this content and even who knows the extent of  all the content?

Legacy Locker - handling your online digital assetsA new company Legacy Locker has started up to address just such a challenge. They are offering a smart service equivalent to the traditonal safety deposit box – but online.

Sign up for an account and securely in one place you can not only store all the accesses to all your accounts, but also the decision as to what you want done with those accounts. Do you have like me, a series of domain names that you bought thinking they might be worth something, as well as the domain name to your website – should these be auctioned off or held for the future.

The subject may be sensitive, but the need is very real and this company seems to have found a great way of handling this issue, matching high security with comprehensive means by which to validate the genuine passing of your life. Naturally they offer a scale of services – basic for free, more access more details comes at a price – a price I would have thought worth paying for this peace of mind for your family.

Clearly many will judge that a simple spreadsheet with all the accounts and passwords will suffice as it may, but be aware of the problems some have experienced trying to get access to even email accounts of loved ones. Calling customer service to get a password from global sites with 100 million + accounts is not as simple as calling a number!

I am grateful for Technometria and IT Conversations for their excellent podcasts which first highlighted me to this excellent new online service.

5

Google Wave heralds a new form of collaborative conversations – it’s relevance for real estate?

Posted on: May 29th, 2009 | Filed in Technology

istock_000004224281xsmallRemember a time before email?

Communication in a written form was incredibly slow – days would pass as formal documents carefully typed would be passed between people and organisations. The fax brought immediacy of delivery but you still needed the formality of production of a letter. Then of course came email and then instant messaging, the latter a very useful tool but limited due to the fact that documents and content could not be shared.

Well now we are on the verge of a new mode of communication medium and who else but Google would provide such a transformational change – years ago significant communications applications were the exclusive domain of Microsoft, now with everything on the web and in the cloud we look to Google to shape our communications future.

Just this week Google has announced a new concept in communications online – Google Wave. However before we all rush off to download the application; we unfortunately will have to wait patiently until later this year!

wavelogoSo what is Wave and why is it potentially important?

Wave is part email, part instant messaging, part collaborative content sharing. In one of the demos one of the developers talks of the analogy of a cafe conversation in which people almost collaborate in a mashed conversation – you add a comment half way through someone else’s sentence and the conversation become dynamic – now that does not happen online as with email and instant messaging each conversation is discrete and sequential – not with Wave – it will show a more collaborative online conversation.
Not only that Wave will allow documents of all types to be added to the conversation in a collaborative fashion – great in an office group or between friends with photo images.

Google Wave applications and their opportunity for real estate

So what is the potential for the real estate industry?

Looking at it at this stage (which is limited to screen shots and demo videos) I can see the potential for a powerful collaborative tool whereby agents can regularly converse with vendor clients and also prospective buyers helping explain information relevant to the property purchase. The structure of the dialogue will be a great management tool for agents to be able to track their conversations and possibly better able to demonstrate workflow as a better method of highlighting client services.

It could also be extended potentially allowing buyers and lawyers in a secure but open and collaborative environment to discuss purchase negotiation. One of the other attributes of the service is the ability to rewind conversations and dialogue to see how the discussions evolved and thereby to ensure clarity and to improve communications.

One of the great principles of Google services is free access, but added this time is the ability of extending Google Wave and adding it to existing websites, this could be a powerful component of real estate websites allowing contextual discussions around properties whilst in the details of a listings.

Clearly as yet we have not had the chance to see a live application and sense how this may evolve – for that we will have to wait until later this year – but I sense a very interesting development. What is also kind of nice is that this new Google initiative has been developed by the Sydney based Google team – nice to see some local skills shown to the world (maybe we can get a NZ sub development team of the Sydney office in time)!

0

Broadband roll out for NZ – will it effect real estate?

Posted on: March 31st, 2009 | Filed in Technology

istock_000000295237xsmallThe government today unveiled plans for the committed $1.5bn investment in bringing fibre delivered broadband to NZ’ers. There are two key elements of the plan that are critical for the future of the NZ economy – one certain, the other not so certain.

The first element is the decision to invest in fibre to deliver access speeds of 100 Mbs – this is to be achieved by a Crown owned investment company working in partnership with private sector investors to lay “dark fibre” to bring this broadband to 75% of the population through 25 towns and cities. The decision to commit to the laying of dark fibre is exactly what is needed as explained in this prior blog post entitled “True broadband for NZ – our future will be dictated by who owns the dark fibre“.

The second element is going to be socially and economically contentious. The announcement speaks to 25 towns and cities being the recipients of the investment support of the new Crown owned investment company. These towns and cities are going to be gaining an advantage in access to true high speed broadband that those people living outside of these towns and cities will not have.

This differentiation will impact real estate, for whilst we may not fully appreciate the impact today; in the coming years we will see more and more of our lives focused around the online world – for education, for learning, for entertainment, for services, for monitoring, for communications and so much more – all we know for sure is that we don’t yet know quite how important / critical it is going to be.

We certainly face a dilemma in NZ of scale – we live in a huge country with a tiny population, this leads us either down a path of the lowest common denominator for services or we have to choose to be selective and seek to help the majority  for the long term good of all NZ’ers.

It is likely that property on the wrong side of the cut-off of scale (population of less than 12,681 which is Oamaru) will suffer a decline or a lesser growth in demand in time as the lack of fibre access for communications makes people question the value of being outside of the fibre network. That will be a factor which the inhabitants of these smaller towns will have to grapple with and make hard decisions, in many ways decisions they make everyday as the weigh up the pros and cons of rural NZ life.

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