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Teaming up: 2 Houston-based tech companies enter strategic partnerships for global opportunities

Houston-based companies Alert Logic and Innowatts each announced partnerships that will provide international opportunities. Getty Images

Not sure if it's because of a rush to close 2018 deals before year end or just the collaborative holiday spirit, but two Houston-based, tech-focused companies have announced partnerships with other service companies that will expand the two entities' reach worldwide.

Innowatts Inc. inks partnership, expands into Japanese market

Courtesy of Innowatts

A Houston utilities analytics company has linked up with one of Japan's largest consulting and management advisory firms to bring its software and AI technology to the country's newly deregulated energy market. Innowatts announced the strategic regional partnership with ABeam Consulting December 13.

Innowatts launched in 2013 and has provided about 20 million retail energy consumers with cost-cutting predictive energy analytics. The new alliance will allow Innowatts to utilize its analysis software and AI-enabled technology in Japan's evolving energy market.

"As market reforms take hold and competitive pressures increase, it's important that we provide our clients the most effective tools and solutions to help them compete effectively," Takahiro Yamada, principal and head of financial and social infrastructure business unit of ABeam, says in the release. "Adding the Innowatts technology to our solution suite adds a wide range of new tools and capabilities that leverages the experience of some of the world's largest and most competitive retail energy markets."

Entering the Japanese market, Innowatts' focus will be on reaching out to new retail energy providers.

"As one of the largest and most respected consulting firms and system integrators in Japan, ABeam brings a deep body of energy industry expertise and regional knowledge that will help us localize and scale our eUtility™ Platform to Japan and other Asia Pacific energy markets," said Sid Sachdeva, CEO of Innowatts.

Innowatts employs 55 people — roughly half are based in Houston — and has clients in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

In October, Innowatts appointed Krishnan Kasiviswanathan as chief commercial officer, overseeing the upstream sector of development. He's based in the Houston office. Prior to the appointment, Kasiviswanathan worked as chief commercial officer at Just Energy, a Houston-based retail energy company.

Alert Logic taps Chicago-based AVANT as first master agent partner

Photo via alertlogic.com

Houston-based, security-as-a-service company, Alert Logic, has its first master agency partner. The collaboration means AVANT Communications, a technology distribution and channel enablement company, can sell Alert Logic's software and services. The partnership was announced on December 11.

Christopher Rajiah, senior vice president of global alliances and partnerships at Alert Logic, says in the release that its AVANT's global network and trusted advisers that made the partnership so appealing.

"AVANT is an exceptional partner to bring Alert Logic to the Agent Channel community. This partnership will power AVANT's network of Trusted Advisors to help businesses navigate today's ever-changing threat landscape, while addressing compliance risks and resource constraints," Rajiah says. "Together, we're going to bring SIEMless Threat Management to organizations worldwide."

Alert Logic announced its SIEMless Threat Management™ in November as its new all-encompassing security technology at an affordable price for lower resourced companies.

"The partnership with AVANT is the first of its kind for Alert Logic and will be directly enabled through the agent channel community at a very critical time, when the growing shortage of security talent is driving the highest demand ever for managed security offerings," says Ian Kieninger, CEO and co-founder of AVANT, in the release. "Welcoming Alert Logic to our expanding portfolio of security services will advance our mission to drive the agent community into one of the fastest-growing sectors of the information technology industry. This is going to drive sales for our network of Trusted Advisors now and in the months and years to come."

Chris Church and Misha Govshteyn founded Alert Logic in 2002. The two now lead electronics manufacturing company, MacroFab.

Millennials have brought in new, game-changing technologies into the housing market — for better or for worse. Photo courtesy of HAR

It's official – Millennials have arrived in the housing market, and they're expected to take it by storm. After spending the earlier part of the decade preferring to rent in hip urban areas, the entry of older Millennials now in their 30s is already impacting how tech and the real estate market coexist.

Like many industries that are traditionally people-facing, real estate has been slowly digitizing for many years. Most of the general public has used a variety of apps that help them search for available properties to buy or rent without talking to an agent. However, within the real estate industry itself, technology has expanded like wildfire in the past few years.

We see these changes most acutely in the services that influence our day-to-day operations:

  • Digital applications
  • Electronic documentation
  • Online income verification
  • Automated notaries
  • iBuyer
  • VR / AR home tours
  • Smart security services

These digital transformations have altered the way agents, title companies, and lenders conduct business. Real estate professionals have varying sentiments regarding the efficacy and role of technology in our industry. Recognizing the importance of erring on the side of caution is key, especially with the rise of wire fraud targeting the real estate sector, robo-signing, and the creation of questionable title transfers.

But these new technologies aren't going away. It's important to choose to focus your energy on recognizing and implementing key precautions regarding how technology is used, especially with the new buyer's processes.

For example, when it comes to wire fraud, we deploy simulated phishing tests to ensure that our employees are alert and aware to the new nefarious activities targeting our sector. Additionally, title agents hold the singular obligation to discover and evaluate faulty proceedings before a closing. This is why we take our duties seriously and meticulously research any unclear title issues that need resolution.

Millennials + Technology = Game-Changing Access to Knowledge

In the past, the title industry has operated mostly for realtors, lenders, and other real estate specialists. In fact, traditional homebuyers were unaware of the importance of their title insurance and property/ownership rights. However, the real estate industry has shifted with millennials entering the housing market. These consumers are more engaged with the ins and outs of the homebuying process because they're using technology as an opportunity to learn.

Thanks to these new plugged-in homebuyers, title agents must use technology to communicate with, educate, and simply keep up with their clients. The current state of the closing process is a cross between electronic and wet signatures. However, as homebuyers demand more digitization and states pass bills permitting cyber notarizations, title agents must actively adapt by building the groundwork to address those tech needs.

Millennials in the marketplace also demand more of the life-simplifying tech they use in the rest of their lives. While technology does streamline the process and allow clients access to more information (and on their terms), it should not take the "personal touch" out of the equation. This is why title agents and other members of the real estate community must pursue the happy medium between digitalization and personalization.

For most millennials, this is their first time buying a house, and many of them want someone by their side to walk them through the process. At Patten Title, our goal is to make the process clear, transparent, and convenient for people making one of the biggest financial decisions of their life.

The short-sighted among us will claim that technology will definitely sap that "personal touch" from the real estate relationship. We believe the opposite is true. Technology enhances the entire homebuying experience because it gives people-first agents the power to build strong relationships with truly engaged buyers.

The experienced title professionals at Patten Title couldn't be more excited by the promise of 2020. We are big fans of facing challenges head-on, from housing rates to technology, property developments, and more. This is a time when a forward-thinking real estate agent will thrive: by combining their willingness to adapt to change while ensuring standards are still met, they can strike the right balance of products, services, and skills that are both personable and tech-centric.

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Eric Fontanot is president at Houston-based Patten Title Co.