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New Technology in Real Estate: Benefits Get Real

Real estate is one of the largest and fastest-growing world economy sectors worth over $ 217 trillion. When it comes to digital transformation, however, real estate still lags behind other industries. That’s where expensive mortgages, overstaffing and cumbersome real estate transactions originate from. Why use technology in real estate industry and how to leverage new types data for business growth?

Technology revolution in real estate industry

Mobile tech

From the mobile-first approach to website development to enterprise mobile apps, the mobile tech has changed the real estate sector in several ways:

  • Reduced amount of paperwork (resulting from the widespread adoption of cloud storage solutions, digital forms, document scanning apps and workflow management software);
  • Increased flexibility (agents who work in the field can access property and customer data via smartphones or wearable devices);
  • Introduction of remote work models (enabling real estate companies to save on office space).

In a world where 89% and 68% of home buyers do research in mobile web browsers and use mobile apps at the early stages of the house-hunting process (respectively), building a brand mobile app/mobile-friendly website is no longer a nice option – it is the only way to stay afloat and outpace fellow realtors.

New Technology in Real Estate: Benefits Get Real

Virtual Reality 

By 2025, the global enterprise and public sector VR/AR software market is expected to top $ 16 billion. With $ 2.6 billion, real estate agencies will be the third-largest adopters of the new tech.

According to Pavel Shylenok, CTO at R-Style Lab (you can check his profile at r-stylelab.com), it is 3D home viewing that holds the most promise for property companies. Provided realtors invest in high-quality graphic content (i.e., models of real-world buildings) enabling customers to walk through virtual locations and interact with digital objects, the technology can become a real game-changer.

Blockchain tech

Now it takes you anything between 5 days (if you’re paying cash and not dealing with a short sale) and 3 months (bank-owned property, mortgage complications) to close a real estate transaction – due to the involvement of multiple stakeholders including inspectors, brokers and escrow agents and proliferation of databases where property and insurance data is stored.

With blockchain tech, real estate companies can successfully reduce the number of intermediaries between a buyer and property owner by storing all property data (occupancy, building performance, physical attributes, previous transactions, etc.) in one database, fight fraud and eliminate the information asymmetry problem.

Internet of Things

The Internet of Things is the global interconnected environment composed of millions of gadgets that collect data using sensors and exchange it over a network. With 8.4 billion smart devices out there, it’s not a sci-fi concept – it is the reality we live in.

  • 30 million US households either use a Home Automation system or have plans to install one within 12 months (with family safety and convenience cited as the key reasons for Smart Home adoption);
  • Smart Cities amount for 20% of all IoT projects;
  • The global connected water meter base will reach 130 million units next year.

What does it have to do with the real estate business?

IoT sensors capture real-time data on air quality, noise level, humidity, energy and water consumption, thus enabling property owners and realtors to reduce maintenance and operating costs and adjust buying/leasing costs accordingly.

New Technology in Real Estate: Benefits Get Real

Occupied by Deloitte, the Amsterdam-based Edge is known as the world’s smartest and greenest office building. Its Management System is connected to a sleek mobile app which is installed on Deloitte employees’ smartphones and manages their schedule and work environment settings. Also, the Edge utilizes solar batteries and super-efficient LED panels enhanced with smart sensors which consume little power and collect room occupancy data for HVAC systems.

As a result, the Edge uses 70% less energy than a typical office building of that size.

IoT offers real estate companies a unique opportunity to deliver better customer experience, reduce building maintenance costs and sell property at a competitive price.

Artificial Intelligence 

The Artificial Intelligence term can refer to both the intelligence displayed by electronic gadgets and software and the art of creating smart machines and computer programs. In today’s world, however, by “AI” we most often mean apps that analyze user activities and provide live feedback based on user behavior.

There are several reasons to make AI part of your digital strategy:

  • Improved brokerage services (resulting from smart search, personal recommendations and fraud prevention);
  • IoT data processing. Globally, smart commercial building systems employ over 518 million IoT gadgets; imagine the amount of data produced by these devices on a daily basis! Creating AI algorithms is the only way to boil tons of data down to something meaningful (actionable insights).

Factors slowing down new technology adoption in real estate

  • Cost of developing high-performance enterprise software. Software developers’ hourly rates range from $ 150 in the USA to $ 30 in Eastern Europe. If you’re eyeing innovative technologies like machine learning algorithms and IoT-based building management systems, the rates grow twofold;
  • Non-tech nature of the real estate industry. According to VentureBeat, the average age of a US real estate agent is 57. Most of 400+ thousand agents employed by US real estate companies are non-desk workers and use monolith enterprise apps from 10 years ago – and they are fine with it. What’s more, digital transformation often fails to provide immediate benefits: the Edge’s payback period, for instance, is estimated at 8 years.

Still, forward-thinking real estate agencies do identify their pain points and partner with software development companies to migrate to microservices, craft cross-platform applications and turn dumb buildings into data channels. Unless you follow their example now, tomorrow your company might be driven out of business.

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