CREs are in the process of a digitally-driven transformation. Below are a small handful of companies who are on the leading edge between now and the future.
CityBldr’s proprietary software seeks out and discovers properties in cities that aren’t being utilised to their full potential. So in Seattle, Washington state, CityBldr is using its software to buy up properties, beginning in late 2018 or the beginning of 2019, that can be converted to multi-family homes. CityBldr CEO Bryan Copley says, “The big problem we’re trying to solve is that everybody’s moving to the city and there aren’t enough homes in the city to accommodate that growth. [The reason that we’re able to guarantee property owners a higher price on properties we buy is because] we’ve built a tool that understands the development potential of every property.”
IKEA’s Place App has come to Android after getting its exciting start on Apple’s iOS. In case you’re unfamiliar with it, the app allows you to see exactly how furnishings (the ones stocked by IKEA, needless to say) would look in your home or apartment, exactly to scale, by way of augmented reality (AR). It probably goes without saying that Place can be used to furnish commercial properties such as office buildings, too. The bottom line here is that IKEA is showing a pragmatic example of how AR is fast becoming a powerful tool for CRE.
Leverton is leveraging a proprietary AI program to mine for “hidden in plain sight” data in the documents of real estate professionals. The purpose is to let CRE buyers and sellers, as well as agents selling residential properties, find the “structured data” that once upon a recent time was only the provenance of statistics scientists and their ilk. Abhinav “Abe” Somani, CEO of Leverton, says, “Without capturing structured data, you lose the ability to process information across an entire portfolio. An entire paragraph or clause is hard to do a trend analysis on, but a binary field (yes/no) or a pick list of four choices can be heavily analysed.”
While there may be some hurdles to get over, AI assistants (think Alexa, Google Now, Cortana, and Siri) are slowly but surely becoming more of a fixture in the office. For instance, New York workflow management company Goodwinds, Inc has an Alexa stuck to the ceiling of its central office, to let employees quickly and easily add calendar events and meeting reminders via voice commands without disrupting flow. In 2016 Dell, Intel, and consultants Penn Schoen Berland put together a report based on surveying in which they concluded “30 percent of employees around the world chose ‘digital helper’ as the potential use of artificial intelligence that they would be most excited about in their jobs.”
MasterCard’s “Smart Mirror” payment function is going to rock the UK. Clothing retailers in shopping malls and stores everywhere will be able to allow customers to personalise their shopping experience while shaving off up to 40% of the time currently taken up in fitting rooms, all by way of touching a fitting room mirror with a MasterCard to make a purchase. Mike Cowen, Head of Digital Payments at Mastercard UK, tells us, “Augmented and virtual reality is transforming how we shop. And while high streets are being challenged by the popularity of online shopping, these technologies allow retailers to fight back by giving the public the digital convenience they demand.”
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