Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning driven automation, analysis and personalized services are transforming the real estate business. The enthusiastic adoption of Digital Transformation and AI in the UAE will reshape the regional real estate industry dramatically.
A 2017 IDC FutureScape report made the prediction that the vast majority of enterprises will have become a ‘digital native’ within the next two years (1). That prediction might have seemed bold a few years ago, but recent trends underscore the fact that it is likely very accurate. The enthusiasm with which customers are driving the adoption of technology means that businesses will have little choice but to follow suit. Internet searches, for instance, have already become the primary means for 72% of UAE consumers to search for properties, while 65% research where to live, and 64% explore prospective home prices online (2).
In December 2017, a Gulf News report quoted Finnish data expert, Dr. Johan Himberg describing Dubai as one of the most prominent and driven adopters of AI and Machine Learning technology – across all sectors but particularly in real estate.
Property Management is a challenging and multifaceted service for a business to provide. Keeping track of leads, site visits, mortgages, customer profiles, requests and individual preferences is no mean feat. Automating these functions will help businesses deliver levels of service that meet the highest standards in unfailing, personalized and rapid service. Employees can then be freed to provide the human touch and higher level services, while also increasing conversion rates and reducing time from lead to cash.
Today’s connected and online world allows real estate enterprises access to a very large volume of data generated by individuals as well as the industry. While this information is definitive, its sheer scale requires AI to identify actionable insights. Algorithms can help real estate companies identify customers most likely to close a deal and focus their efforts.
AI can learn from consumer behavior, search patterns, income patterns and taste to make targeted property recommendations. Similarly, intelligent search services – that process natural language – can help both consumers as well as real estate businesses to focus on leads that are guided by actionable information. These results are a much more sophisticated match than those generated by ordinary search engines. It is also important to note that multi-cultural environments require detailed understanding of customer preferences, and new players and brokers need to get quickly up to speed to understand the inexplicit needs of the customer.
Chatbots are another instance in which AI is being used to delegate common queries to a virtual assistant, so that human resources can focus on more sophisticated tasks. Chatbots have a significant role across the real estate spectrum from enquiry capture to facility management. Virtual reality functionality is another automated interaction that can enhance the customer experience dramatically by allowing the ability to inspect the digital representation of a property. Especially when dealing with busy and oft out-of-town investors, VR could provide that edge in delivering a near real world site visit experience.
On the whole, AI is still in its infancy and the full extent of its application in the real estate industry is yet to become apparent. Many of these enhancements will, no doubt, mature and become mainstream with the passage of time. Blockchain technologies allied with AI – for instance – will probably deliver groundbreaking and dramatically transformative effects in the near future. There are very few industries that work so closely, at a personal level with the end customer, and the people-centric nature of the real estate industry will prove to be a fertile ground for AI-powered applications and services.
This article was published in Thomson Reuters Projects Mena