Insights 5 February 2020

“Adjusting quickly and knowing how to use technology” paves the way to the top of the real estate business pyramid.

The digital disruption era does not only pose challenges but also offers opportunities for those who know how to use disruptive technology to their advantage. Although many people whispered that digital disruption would not cause significant impact on the real estate sector, entrepreneurs should not establish themselves in complacency since the real estate business is another industry sector with many hidden opportunities. Therefore, using technology in the digital era to help fill the gaps of the traditional ways of work to improve operational efficiency, convenience, speed, and responses to the ever-changing needs of the consumersin the long term is something that we should not overlook. We can apply technology to almost every step of the real estate business including land acquisition, project execution & delivery, sales & marketing, and after sales services.

“The new way of land acquisition leads to a higher chance of profitability” 

Traditionally, the decisions to buy land for development of residential projects were made by just a small number of management people who were capable of making assessments and were empowered to make decisions. This kind of land acquisition comes with certain drawbacks. For example, the job transfers or retirement of such people would lead to the loss of know-how regarding the organization’s land considerations. Also, with only certain groups of people handling the job of land assessment and acquisition, the land analysis would unlikely cover all the dimensions concerned, resulting in potential errors. 

These problems can be gradually reduced with the application of such technologies as AI and Big Data that replace humans to help analyze land acquisition information. AI can learn and memorize experiences of land purchase choices made from past records. It also incorporates other information on plots of land of interest in the analysis, such as nearby land areas, facilities, and electric trains linked to the construction sites. Furthermore, land values according to appraisal prices of government agencies, marketplaces and brokers as well as customers’ interests are used in the detailed analysis to determine whether the desirable plots of land match the specific types of projects or the expected responses. So, AI technology leads to a higher chance of successes than humans. Most importantly, by using AI to help make land acquisition decisions, know-how and information supporting land acquisition considerations are stored in specific formats which can further be used and accumulated by the organization. 

“Using Big Data to choose suppliers helps get required qualities and save money”  

After obtaining an appropriate plot of land, we are approaching the second step of Project Execution & Delivery. At this step, contractors are required to help design and develop a project. The old-school way of choosing contractors comes with the risk of the unknown qualities of the new contractors in terms of their skills and responsibilities, especially when they execute the project for the first time. 

Currently, AI and Big Data are in place to help fill the gap of the aforesaid problem, reducing the risk and helping find the right contractors with required qualities through the analysis of the contractors’ past performances. Feedback from the previous hirers also helps make a decision as to whether the existing or new contractors should be hired, which choice renders the best value.

Moreover, these technologies help evaluate demand and supply levels of required construction equipment and materials to ensure alignment. This effectively helps control costs and predict the right time to purchase new construction materials to maximize cost-effectiveness.

“Use of Big Data helps derive accurate customer analysis and right marketing strategies”

The third step is called Sales and Marketing. This step plays a crucial role in communicating with the right target groups as we should not rely upon only off-line marketing channels, such as billboards or leaflets. Currently, online marketing can be done using a two-way communication approach, allowing wider and closer access to customers. More importantly, online marketing allows us to collect relevant information to analyze customers’ feedback for particular marketing activities or advertisements. The analysis result will then be used to assess a conversion rate to see whether the return is worth the investment. 

These technologies help people make decisions to buy houses or condos based on various types of sales offers through websites with focal points providing customer services such as scheduling appointments to visit projects, requesting other services through online media, etc.  The use of information of the interested target groups plus creative marketing helps offer services according to personal needs and promotion campaigns that match each customer’s lifestyle.

“Converting existing customers into new customers; changing interested customers into future customers” 

The fourth step is After Sales Services & Asset Management. This step is about using technological tools to engage customers with businesses, leading to next sales offer opportunities in an efficient manner. 

According to past statistics, out of 100 visitors checking house or condo information, only an average of 15-20 of them conducted the real bookings. The use of Big Data to analyze the needs of this group of customers helps identify the reasons for their decisions not to buy the properties. The salespeople can use such analysis result for better persuading the customers right to their needs, leading to a higher chance of bookings and purchases.

Apart from their roles to support the real estate business processes, these technologies play a part in the well-being of the residents. For example, in terms of smart home or smart condo development, IoT can be connected to various utility devices to collect usage data to enhance administration efficiency. For instance, information on turning electricity on/off can be used to determine the times to automatically turn electricity on/off for the residents. Another instance is the collection of device data in order to accurately formulate repairs and maintenance plans according to appropriate lengths of service and avoid fixing devices at an undesirable time.

Technology inevitably plays a part in every pace of business. Without utilizing it to our advantage, numerous business opportunities would be missed. On the contrary, a visionary leader who views technology as a key to organization growth would be able to grasp new opportunities in the real estate business ocean.