A real estate leader interested in transforming residential housing, Ashish Acharya has a deep understanding of the value chain in residential real estate and the risks associated with it. With a rich experience of having worked with marquee brands like Godrej Properties and ANAROCK, Ashish’s sharp analytical mind, strong team skills and organization-building abilities are his key strengths. This combined with a deep desire to improve the home buyers experience in the unorganized and opaque real estate sector is what drives Ashish everyday.
Since the last few years, a culmination and maturing of several technologies in the real estate marketplace has transformed customer experience. Technology has become more interoperable, and the sector is now opening up to newer possibilities of succeeding with digital systems and platforms. From virtual interfaces, transactional exchanges to AI focused agent platforms, digital touch-points continue to increase.
The relevance of tech in real estate
Global (and Indian) focus has now shifted to online marketplaces, and innovation in business models is taking place at a fast pace and better efficiency. Real estate has seen a fair share of such marketplaces in the last five years.
The real estate marketplace is expanding with an infusion of prop tech – a term coined only a decade ago. With the growth of the fintech space, smart real estate exchanges came into being. From investment models to construction and ownership via tokenisation – prop tech has made real estate dynamic and modern, with the younger demographic actively participating in building this.
With the pandemic, the tech transformation became an imperative. Real estate firms are now relying on artificial intelligence, machine learning applications, VR and AR, which is helping provide an enhanced customer experience. For example, big data insights offer a structural view into industry trends, potential risks, and concerns, which is manually implausible to accomplish. Exhaustive online listings available at one simple click is a result of big data. AR and 3D modelling in virtual environments help firms make online sales and offer multi-experience design. Some firms are also now actively employing artificial intelligence that predicts customer input and contextual cues to actively assist them for queries and concerns.
The way the industry has moved from a traditional to a proptech mode, is a phenomenon worth studying. Real estate often depended on face time between Buyers & Sellers and a lot of paperwork owing to concerns with transparency. With digital processes in place, the Indian real estate market is gradually moving to become a paperless industry, boosting smart tech to fill the existing gaps in the system. With these benefits also come massive cost savings, lower risks and sustainable revenue streams for real estate agencies and firms.
Moving to smarter construction and infra development
The technology movement isn’t restricted to real estate firms alone. Allied industries like infra development and construction have also experienced the influence of technology, moving towards smarter homes, high end green commercial spaces, which have bolstered the use of technology in designing these structures. For example, WeWork has used AI-driven machine learning to forecast how prospective occupants use co-working spaces, and therefore have future designs prepared in the most optimal way, based on data from the company’s locations globally.
Another application is the prevalence of Internet of Things (IoT) and adoption of the ‘everything-as-a-service’ mentality which is a given for commercial and home installations nowadays. Additive Manufacturing 3D printing technology is also set to make its debut to scale up real estate projects, and reduce overall construction timelines.
Fractional ownership Platforms and tech defining the sector for the future
REITs (real estate investment trusts), and InvITs (Infrastructure investment trusts) have caught the eye of many investors who wanted to invest in Commercial and Infrastructure projects but did not have the ability to fund these high ticket investments. These trust companies enable partial ownership in the form of shares in income producing real estate, such as office properties and a consortium of rental spaces. This has enabled a retail investor to enter at very low ticket sizes. It is also touted to revive real estate investments, while delivering high yields and capital appreciation. Cryptocurrency and use of NFTs in real estate is also making fast inroads in this space. Cryptocurrencies will allow owners to transfer, hold, or use tokens to own their real estate combined with cloud-based brokerage models. It is also touted that blockchain will elevate real estate in a never seen before avatar – providing the much-needed ease of doing business, with less documentation and more efficiency. Further, new concepts like fractional ownership of real estate is also giving small scale investors an opportunity to grow. However, regulations will be required in the near future to prevent fly-by-night-operators from taking the retail investors for a ride.
Moving towards tech resilience
From a brokerage focused industry, real estate market has evolved to become customer centric, with technology. It is no exaggeration to say that digital disruption continuous to challenge the real estate status quo. As the sector is set to reach a $1 trillion valuation by 2030, real estate is set for a full stack transformation, which will witness use of drones, VR tools, blockchain technology, and IoT applications in the space. Developers and tech players are now collaborating with each other, to improve offerings, reduce costs and bring more transparency.
This in turn will drive the market upwards, as the momentum for demand and supply reverts to normal. High Growth will be seen as demand for property tech and digital experiences continues to evolve.
In conclusion, if you are a stakeholder in the real estate space, either as a developer, institutional investor, operator, Advisor or retail investor, its time to get tech savvy and stay on top of your game!