Want to Show Off? Surface Computing in Real Estate

< 1 minute read

Sometimes technology just comes along and you just go WOW! This is one of them and I can see it sitting in the demonstration room of the elite agents in the future. Just sit your potential vendor down and showcase to them the quality of your photography, movies, mapping and plans as well as images of how your listings look on websites such as your own, REA and Domain. Have a look for yourself and just imagine the possibilities.

This is just amazing….


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  • snoop
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 2:04 pm 0Likes


  • Peter
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 2:39 pm 0Likes

    Sorry for some reason the movie did not work after I edited some text (spelling mistakes) πŸ™‚ Up Now

  • Scott
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 2:50 pm 0Likes

    Seems like just a big tablet PC.

  • Craig
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 2:09 pm 0Likes
  • Sam
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 3:10 pm 0Likes

    Another gimmick set for the hard rubbish collection after the novelty wears off, in 10 seconds flat.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 3:16 pm 0Likes

    Hmm, not as great a response as I thought it would get. Architects demonstrating what a property could look like, agents showing detailed maps of local sales, current listings, trends in streets.

    Maybe a little imagination guys, I do not see this as a novelty at all, but something of real use and yes it is pretty sexy.

    Scott, can a tablet PC do any of these things?

  • Sam
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 3:29 pm 0Likes

    Presentations as you describe are better on a screen of some sort, this thing will have finger prints and coffee mug rings on it in seconds flat I would imagaine.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 4:01 pm 0Likes

    A cloth to wipe it?

  • Nat
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 4:07 pm 0Likes

    Definately 10/10 for “WOW factor”

    However, having a hard time imagining clients/agents leaning over a desk to view the screen. My back hurts just thinking bout that. So would be better wall mounted.

    But very very cool how u can interact with the camera and phone. But this requires it to be flat!!

    Kind of a predicament.

  • Peter
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 4:21 pm 0Likes

    Hi Nat and welcome, hope to have some more comments from you in the future. I do love it, I think it could have many great uses.

  • kAZ
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 6:28 pm 0Likes


  • Glenn
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 7:07 pm 0Likes

    Very very nice, but not quite a reality in our industry for a little while at least. It is a very good indicator of what is to come with surface computing.

    Microsoft have apparently advised that they expect it to be 3-5 years before we see this sort of computing in homes. These units will retail for over $10,000 US (and thats just hardware I believe) and it will take a few sales for the 5 years of R&D costs to be written off before the price point becomes attractive to small business and home users.

    These are a hardware and software combo to suit specific touch screen point of sale applications aligned with their partners. Its not like you could buy a unit and create your own software at the moment but that is coming soon.

    You have to wonder how long it will be before we can do this stuff with hand movement in the air in front of a screen like Tom Cruise did in Minority Report.

  • Peter
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 7:12 pm 0Likes

    Well I can imagine these being in windows, shopping centres tc (if it would work) and people being able to come up to it and view listings/sales. In 5 – 10 years having coffee tables, doing presentations on walls, being able to walk through new apartment developments. It registers ballistic on my cool factor but it will take some time to be of practical use to the home users.

  • Sam
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 7:41 pm 0Likes

    “Microsoft have apparently advised that they expect it to be 3-5 years before we see this sort of computing in homes”

    That’scode for “They expect it to be 3-5 years before they can bury it without anyone noticing”

    It’s nothing new, touch screens are everywhere and the addon gimmicks are just that…………..novelties.

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 9:08 pm 0Likes

    Sam, I think you will find that you may be wrong on this one. Microsoft do not own the technology they have licensed it, as have the US Army, Navy and Air Force, NASA and apparently 30 US Government organisations.

    Still you may be right about the home users as this seems to be a littler way off and practicality seems to be a little off as far as uses go. In relation to business uses I can see no end of applications in the real world.

    Touch screens may not be new, but have you seen this application used like this anywhere? I certainly haven’t.

  • Elizabeth
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 9:14 pm 0Likes

    Good Evening,

    This does look flash, but is it really new?

    A while back there was somethng similar, standing up, in one of the foyers of bondi junction. They were touch screens displaying real estate.

    Similarly, in the local Woolworths in Potts Point there are these green touch screens which you can use to find your products and what Isle they are in. They used to provide a print out as well.

    This looks a bit like those new horizontal poker machines. Or those now outdated table top electronic arcaid games outside a fish and chip shop.

    Perhaps I need to see one up close to appreciate it


  • adam
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 9:59 pm 0Likes

    Hi Elizabeth,

    Its different altogether. Touch screens are very different to the technology showcased here. There is nothing that will allow you to resize and move images around like they do in the demo shown.

    I can imagine showcasing property in a showroom with this. It would be very cool in fact.


  • Elizabeth
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 10:18 pm 0Likes

    Dear Adam,

    Thank you. For moment I thought you all Geek minded participants were facinated at the return of Pac Man.

    What a game that was for women, although I could never work the controls, it was the first time there was a female character for we girls (which I was at te time)


  • Glenn
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 10:46 pm 0Likes

    The technology behind is so far removed from the touchscreens you see on photo kiosks and the like it is similar to comparing a Model T Ford with a modern Ferrari.

    Touch screens can only record one pressure point on the screen at one time. Next time you are using one, press on two parts of the screen at the one time and see what happens. This system records multiple touches all at the same time. That is the key to the system and what allows the software to do things like resizing photos by pulling your fingers away and all of that stuff.

    I remember watching a video on this hardware 2 or 3 years ago.. I think it was a developed in a Uni somewhere. I am sure it is the same technology but back then it did not have the fancy software to go with it and it was not packaged in a pretty table top. It was bit clunky and it was demoed in a room like a lecture hall. They have multiple cameras on all sides that allow each point of contact to be tracked independently. I notice in some of Microsoft’s press releases that cameras are involved (although I have no idea where they are hidden on that tabletop) so I am sure it is the same system.

  • Sam
    Posted May 31, 2007 at 11:03 pm 0Likes

    Who wants to resize photos with their fingers ? It may be “amazing’ but is it really usefull?

    Lets face it people dont use the technology available today to it’s full extent. Advances in technology have gone beyond what people need or want.

    To create a successful piece of technology these days you must fully factor in the useability and usefulness, does this make life any easier does it do something that cant be done by something else ? or is it just technology for it’s own sake.

  • Glenn
    Posted June 1, 2007 at 12:26 am 0Likes


    It’s not the software thats of interest, its the interface. The ability to control a computer with the movement of your hands and fingers like this has huge potential. It’s success will depend upon where the software guys can take it and how the hardware guys can improve on it.

    Forget about resizing pictures. It is not about that. Even grandma can use this interface and its lightening fast to do anything. Try and emulate with a keyboard or a mouse what you can do with this interface on any of the videos currently running out there. Even with the very latest and fastest quad core computers you cannot even get close to the speed of this interface.

    The mouse was first designed in the mid 60’s, it took its design change into something we recognise today in the 70’s at Xerox and became popular in the 80’s. It was updated (optical) in the 90’s and was just recently updated again with Laser mice becoming popular. Where would we be if it were not for the humble mouse.

  • Paul Kravyen
    Posted June 1, 2007 at 10:17 am 0Likes

    I watched a few of the the D5 Conference movies and the surface presentation is what most impressed me the most. I personally see huge applications for this multi-touch technology in the future. I’m actually quite excited about it. I reckon 5-10 years down the track these things will be as thin as current LCDs and possibly just on a glass/plastic backing.

    Minority Report was a great movie showcasing the potential for applictions and advertising that this could be useful for.

  • Sam
    Posted June 1, 2007 at 10:29 am 0Likes

    Maybe I haven’t seen the thing demonstrated properly (I’ve seen the 3 videos) so perhaps it’s capable of things I haven’t noticed but to talk of it being available in 5 years or more is like saying it “may” be available if at all, 5 years is an eon in tech terms and anything could come along that’s better in that time frame, and if it does you can bet Google will be behind it and it WILL be good.

  • Kitchen Designer
    Posted June 1, 2007 at 10:30 am 0Likes

    I think that surface computing is a good idea. The problem with computing now is that when you are using it in front of a client the monitor or laptop screen becomes a ‘barrier’. This will not be the case with surface computing.

    One thing that becomes patently clear in regards to the future of computing is that no matter how much software or computers evolve, if you are looking for a property on domain.com.au (I like to call it remain.com.au) there will still be property remaining on the site months after it has been sold. πŸ˜‰

  • Glenn
    Posted June 1, 2007 at 11:05 am 0Likes

    Since it is really controlled with a cameras sensing the finger movement it is possible in the future that you will not even have to place it on a screen… just like Minority Report. Throw in voice recognition and you have yourself the future of computing..

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted June 1, 2007 at 12:49 pm 0Likes

    Seat Potential Vendors:
    “What I would like to show you firstly is your street, from a satellite image, here are the 15 most recent sales in your street. Here are the properties that sold at Auction and some photography of these properties, here are the properties that sold within the first 30 days of offering.”

    “Now here is a local trend report and prices over the past few years, you will notice that property prices for the past 6 months have risen by almost 15%”

    Now here is how we would like to market your property, we have taken the images shot this morning and placed them in newspapers ads like this, on REA and Domain like this, on our website like this! We would also like to shoot a 3 minute movie of your property that would look something like this.”

  • Nat
    Posted June 1, 2007 at 12:51 pm 0Likes

    Im sure in other industry’s this would prove to solve a lot of problems, and yes, be worth the investment, and loosing sleep over.

    But hey, if you want “wow” in a reale state agency, why not have Meegan Gale (or similar) there for the day. That will definately make the buyer/potential vendor go “wow”, yet after still allow you to comunicate to them the benefits of using your company using just a normal LCD screen and Windows 98 !.

    A vendor is going to think “This is all great, but how does it help me sell my property quickly for maximum price ? Thats all i care about. Show me….”

  • Louisville Real Estate
    Posted June 2, 2007 at 8:50 am 0Likes

    Fascinating technology, but it will probably be a long time until it is efficient and affordable enough to impact the mainstream.

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