Real Estate and Technology – the event of the year

by Alistair Helm in , ,

This week will see me in San Francisco attending one conference and hosting another; both of which are central to the future of real estate's reinvention through the power of technology.

Inman Connect starts on Wednesday 10th and runs through Friday 12th July. This conference operated by Inman News through its inspiring publisher Brad Inman has for over 15 years, created a forum to chart the future of the impact of technology on the real estate industry domestically in the US and internationally. Hosted bi-annually; July in San Francisco and January in New York, these events attract an audience of over 1,500 from across the US and the world – a mix of real estate agents and business owners as well as technology companies and property portals. The format is rich in content, and fast of pace; presentations, discussion sessions and face-to-face challenging debates. 

I have attended a number of Connect conferences over the years in my role as CEO of In the early years these events were pivotal in identifying the trends such as social media and mobile which I brought back and enthusiastically adopted in some cases a year or more before the competition. Inman Connect was the reason I started blogging back in 2007 with the Unconditional blog as well as starting a closed industry forum for agents. As for mobile, certainly benefited hugely with an 18 months lead and 100,000 download advantage over Trade Me before they launched their specific property app as a result of the focus that capability showcased in 2009.

The conference I am hosting this week in San Francisco is part of my 'other day-job' as CEO of Property Portal Watch. To coincide with the Inman Connect conference we organize a one-day conference for CEO’s / owners / founders / executives and investors in, and partners to the world of property portals. This event will be the 8th Property Portal Watch conference and our largest yet in San Francisco with at this time 120 attendees from 24 countries representing 41 different property portals from the powerhouse operations of ImmobilienScout24 in Germany, Zillow in the USA and in Australia to the emerging markets in Africa and South America. These attendees will participate in discussions around the core themes of Big Data, Social, Mobile as well as operational topics and strategic investment issues and opportunities.

Both of these events will I am confident provide rich pickings for future articles. I will be ready with laptop in hand to cover the core sessions and emerging ideas as well as hopefully to chance upon a few new start-up companies that showcase their wears at the Connect conference offering new functional services for real estate companies. I will be writing a couple of articles here on Properazzi, but also check out the article over on Property Portal Watch.

New appointment at Property Portal Watch

by Alistair Helm in

Since leaving last year I have been taking some time to “Setting a new career path” as my LinkedIn profile states. I have been keen to remain involved in the real estate industry and be a catalyst for the greater influence of digital technologies in the reinvention of the industry – grand words, but I believe that real estate has to change and become more efficient. I don’t want to destroy the industry or those operating the business, I just want to see better use made of technologies that aid the consumer experience and enhance professionalism in the industry.

A core part of this digital revolution over the past 15 years has been the emergence of the property portal as the preeminent form for home shoppers searching for property to buy or rent. Globally the combined mass of real estate website would conservatively exceed 200 sites with a collective audience of 200 million unique visitors per month and represent commercial businesses generating revenues in excess of $1 billion. Real estate online is a massive global business and its growing fast.

With this as a backdrop and given my passion for running websites and being a part of this global expansion, it was not surprising that I have accepted the role as CEO of Property Portal Watch. This website is a highly specialised site established some 4 years ago by Simon Baker who was the former CEO of

The website business comprising the news of the property portal industry across the globe, together with international conferences as well as emerging business opportunities for added value services to property portals. The site is a core community for the many thousands of people who work in the industry each day.

This new role will fulfill my passion and ambition to remain part of the online real estate community, however it will not consume all of my time. I have gained significantly over the past 6 months running Properazzi. The site has grown a strong and loyal audience which this month will exceed 6,000 unique visitors, it has given me a media platform to share insight and analysis of the property market and also enable me to start to ask some hard questions about the industry.

I am not planning to move from New Zealand and will continue to run Properazzi and the business opportunities that come from it. That is the beauty of technology, I can run Property Portal Watch with a support team spread around the world and with customers and consumers across every country all based from my office in Auckland!