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Ravi Bhushan

Ravi Bhushan, Group Chief Product and Technology Officer of PropTiger.com, Housing.com and Makaan.com, is an industry expert with close to 12 years of experience in technology and digital domains. He came onboard PropTiger.com as a Vice President with key focus on enhancing product and technology functions. In his current role, Ravi spearheads new-age technology innovations to strengthen the ground product, design and engineering aspects.

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Artificial Intelligence: Disrupting the Real Estate Sector

As a sector, real estate has always been a little more conventional, both from a consumer and a supplier perspective.

Artificial intelligence (AI), as the term suggests is a capability of independently processing information and self-learning exhibited by machines. Having started as an academic discipline a few decades ago, AI has evolved at a phenomenal pace in the last couple of years owing to the advancement in computing prowess and democratization of technology. This, combined with systems becoming smarter by the day has led to the application of AI across all possible fields - from governance to NGOs fighting AIDS, transportation to telecommunication, gaming to finance, medicine to music and even the apps on your mobile handsets.

Renowned technology thinker and writer Kevin Kelly has predicted that AI will be one of the strongest technological forces in coming days which will shape our future. A claim corroborated by his statement, “now everything that we formerly electrified, we will cognify” while alluding to AI and comparing to electricity.

As a sector, real estate has always been a little more conventional, both from a consumer and a supplier perspective. However, AI has managed to shake things up and from the looks of it, is poised to significantly influence the real estate industry in the following ways:

Price valuations: Prices in real estate are influenced by many factors such as locality, infrastructure inside and around the house, quality of construction, developer’s brand equity name, demand, size and interiors among others. And to complicate matters, these factors also vary with neighbourhoods and localities within the same city. Given these factors, building a neural network system which auto learns and builds the right model for prediction by learning on millions of listings is an area could play a crucial role in future.

Nurturing leads: Purchase cycle in the real estate sector are longer than for most other verticals and users go through various touch points before consummating the transaction. Many of these interactions happen with the brokers / developers / owners on phone. In order to effectively nurture these leads, it is very crucial to understand the right context from these conversations. Advancements of technology in big data audio and image processing has opened an opportunity to bring about a disruption in this area. Once this is done, a lot of signal which is generally hidden inside the conversation will help create a prediction and nurturing model which can significantly change the way leads are treated.

Portals: Apart from consumer analytics and personalised behaviour, digital real estate portals in many countries are also struggling with basic issues like fake listings as well as irrelevant images and videos in the listings. AI has enabled us to build learning systems on top of images and videos that gradually start understanding the context of these binary data files from real estate point of view. There are now systems, trained with millions of images, that verifies and auto tags the images with relevant segments of the house. This essentially enable portals to address these basic issues in a cost effective and scalable way.

Understanding user behaviour: Studies have conveyed that a significant percentage of home seekers are not sure about their requirement when they start their search and discovery process. But when they visit online platforms, they provide indicators through their interactions which can be leveraged to understand their requirements. Advancements in AI technologies have enabled to build models for user segmentation using big data of user interactions and enhance the experience through personalisation and more relevant drip marketing.

Like with all technological advancements, AI too has started disrupting a very traditional business sector – real estate. However, what will determine the success of these advancements is the manner in which it can be leveraged to address problems pertaining to the home buying process. Despite it being Artificial Intelligence, these solutions are consumed by real humans and pertain to housing, which is one of the most basic and important aspects of our lives, so the key would be how well we are able to humanise it.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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