Innovation in technology has evolved the way we conceptualize, design, build and buy real estate.Digitisation, artificial intelligence, big data, new construction methods, augmented reality, war for talent and innovation, are all transforming how people and companies think and function. Today technology has permeated into every aspect of real estate. The result is increase in productivity which has a direct impact on the economy of our country.
Cities in India are expanding and the construction industry has become multifaceted by adopting many new construction methods and technologies. Building Information Modelling(BIM) is being extensively used these days to design and operate buildings. The digital technology helps in creating and analysing multiple vertical models of a building under different construction and operation scenarios. These tools are effective in not only saving time and money but have also helped in simplifying the design and construction process drastically. Construction industry professionals can visualize building components from early design stage and make design and structural modifications accordingly. Today BIM is used for architecture, structural design and load estimation, sustainability, project scheduling and estimation, construction management, project management.
Use of Big data is revolutionising the real estate industry. Big data refers to huge pool of structured or unstructured data which companies are analysing to gain insights on consumer behaviour patterns, identify future areas of growth, keep track of property price fluctuation etc. This is helping companies in identifying and targeting the areas that need focus. It has also helped in reducing the risk associated with real estate business as companies and consumers are able to take informed decisions based on real time facts and numbers. Real estate companies are using big data to identify how people conduct their property search, what tools or features are they using more, what type of properties and areas are in demand. The main source of big data is online search data from search engines like Google, crowdsourcing and open data. Even consumers have access to some free information which they are using to find the correct price of the property, areas with better future potential etc.
Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence are fast emerging as an efficient and powerful tool to negate, not only the gap in consumer’s perception and expectation, but also streamline many other aspects of real estate such as property search, site visits, average time taken for decision making, property valuation adapting to user/ buyer behaviour etc. By using interactive tools like the 360-degree interactive video tours, immersive photo realistic experiences etc. a potential buyer can virtually experience inside and outside areas of the house he is interested in, hence giving him more confidence when purchasing of the plan.
Artificial intelligence (AI), as the term suggests is a capability of independently processing information and self-learning exhibited by machines. AI enables to understand your needs and learns with your preferences and choices, meaning buyers are better equipped than ever to find properties that meet their requirements in the very first step of the searching process, bringing in enormous efficiency. Requirement of a broker or an agent especially at an early stage gets reduced drastically as more and more tasks such as providing property information, initial shortlisting of properties etc. will now be handled by machines.
Energy Modelling is another technological innovation which is helping Real estate industry in a big way. In the past decade these energy simulation tools have become highly advanced and have helped in designing buildings which use minimal energy during their construction as well operational stages. Many buildings today use green energy solutions like photovoltaic, solar panels, high efficiency appliances, wind turbines. The main focal areas of these tools include energy consumption, life cycle costs and utility bills of items like air conditioning, hot water, lighting etc. These energy analysis models help in comparing different design models for efficiency, predicting future energy consumption and energy cost, carbon emissions etc. In long term energy conservation not only helps developers, building owners and tenants, but also the environment.
Faster construction methods like Pre Fab technology, quick concrete and use of robotics and drones in construction has not only reduced construction timing, but has also resulted in better quality buildings. Prefabricated structures have been common in infrastructure projects for few decades now, but the technique is now becoming popular for constructing buildings as well. Various building elements are casted off-site and then bought and assembled at the site.
Quick concrete technology called MIVAN or Aluminium wall formwork has reduced the curing time of building structure by almost half of that of conventional casting methods. The method reduces labour intensive activities like masonry, with very few joints it reduces chances of building seepage, buildings are more seismic resistant and durable. Also the building finishing is smooth and of high quality.
Another futuristic technology which is now being commercially used in construction today is robotics and drones. The technology is still new and works around the motive of making the construction process cheaper, faster, safer and creative.
Technology has resulted in better and quick manufacturing and construction methods. With the help of computer aided design and energy modelling tools, pre fab technology, shorter curing time for concrete, use of robotics in construction, 3 D printing – the overall turnaround time of a building from its conceptualisation to being occupied by users has reduced drastically. Efficient building designs have resulted in better space utilization and creation of better working environment which has directly impacted productivity of employees. Big Data is playing a major role in analysing market trends and user patterns. It has not only changed the way companies think but has also made real estate investments less risky.
By Ganesh Vasudevan, CEO, Indiaproperty.com
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