Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate sector had been slow to adopt new technologies. However, now it is in the midst of a technological revolution, with new systems and operations being implemented to change the industry forever. Some of the areas which have received the most focus have been AI tools, IoT devices and scheduling software. Safety, sanitation and preservation of buildings, have also been short-term focuses due to reduced occupancies and the prioritization of occupants’ wellbeing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The focus on technology has largely come from millennials’ growing interest and presence in the home buying market – nearly 48% of Canadians aged 25-35 currently own their own home, with a quarter of these homeowners having purchased property during the pandemic. In order to cater for an increasingly tech-savvy market, it’s vital that the real estate sector keeps on top of evolving tech trends.
Technology providers have historically struggled to properly break into the real estate sector, but now there is a shift towards more adoption as interest from residents grows. Let’s take a look at some of the key areas which show how technology is not going to be a fleeting trend in the industry, but one which is here to stay.
Technology for shared spaces
Swathes of condominiums in Canada, and further afield, are adopting booking systems for contact tracing due to the COVID-19, to limit the number of people with access to the facilities at a given time. However, even after the pandemic passes, this technology solution will prevail as it provides numerous other benefits outside of the context of social distancing.
The main benefit of these booking systems is that they allow facilities managers to see utilization rates in much greater detail. For example, those managers may have previously had no idea how often a gym was being used, as bookings were not required or made with an ad hoc sign up sheet. However, with scheduling technology, everything is automated via an online system. This technology can be used for function rooms, games rooms, and offices, and there is plenty of scope to use it beyond just scheduling amenities – facility managers could use it to track property maintenance and create community events. Residents can also feel a much better sense of community as they engage more with the available facilities and access all of the information they need online, rather than relying on an out-of-date noticeboard or word of mouth.
AI and virtual reality as tools for house hunting
Although realtors are still a valuable part of the real estate industry, the internet is still the go-to tool for finding homes – 51% of home buyers use the internet for researching and decision-making when it comes to real estate purchases. Property search sites have put increasingly more emphasis on improving their website user experience, and AI chatbots are an important part of this. Chatbots can provide tailored, relevant responses to consumer enquiries, as well as take data on personal preferences into account.
If real estate companies continue to adopt chatbot technology and feed the AI with more data on categories such as crime, schools, and transport, then they will be able to provide accurate custom insights that help inform customer decisions. Real estate companies could even consider integrating google maps data in order to provide information on how busy a particular street is.
Aside from AI, virtual reality is another advanced technology which is starting to be utilized in real estate. Realtors can use it to create virtual video tours of properties, and can combine it with 3D software to create online models and floor plans, which is particularly beneficial for long-distance buyers who can’t visit the building.
IoT technology devices for residential and commercial buildings
IoT technology, particularly in residential and commercial buildings, has developed rapidly in recent years – there are set to be 75 billion IoT devices in use by 2025. IoT devices are appliances which are connected to the internet and receive and send information to improve performance. A smart sensor is an example of an IoT device which can be used for thermostats, and smoke and carbon monoxide detection. They can also help with energy efficiency, by monitoring the temperature of the building and adjusting it accordingly to the occupants needs, saving costs in the process.
As IoT and scheduling technologies continue to develop, it will become imperative for property owners to install them as an attractive feature for the homebuyer. In the not too distant future, more and more homes will become reliant on smart devices, and the sending and receiving of data will pave the way for AI to create even more useful insights. The technological developments in AI and virtual reality are also bringing the real estate industry into a new age, where those interested in purchasing real estate have more access to the property than ever before.