How AI is Altering the Commercial Real Estate Industry
Commercial real estate technology has traditionally lagged behind other business industries.
And the industry is well beyond the colloquial handshake and "location, location, location" cliché that many brokers have hung their hats on for business. Commercial real estate technology solutions to streamline business are now becoming the norm and increasing productivity.
Cue: Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) has already been heavily used in other industries. In education, as TeachThought points out, AI saves time and money grading assignments, improving courses and fulfilling other tasks. Robotic surgery even assists the healthcare industry, according to Healthcare IT News.
In commercial real estate, the practice is a newer development — though no less valuable.
"Chat bots" were recently highlighted in a Cushman & Wakefield report. This platform, which might be most known to consumers as Apple's virtual assistant Siri, can help brokers more efficiently make appointments, assist in customer-service questions and give property suggestions to potential buyers and lessors.
Bisnow recently featured a commercial real estate technology report about AI, listing several recently adapted practices used in the industry. On the retail front, IKEA, a major landowner, is reportedly using an app that can show how its furniture would appear in a consumer's home. Meanwhile, other companies are analyzing how tenants and landlords utilize office space and giving suggestions on how to operate more efficiently. There are also certain types of software that can analyze the ROI on a commercial real estate transaction and help find buyers the best potential acquisition opportunities.
How Commercial Real Estate Technology Helps Brokers
There is always an intimidation aspect to new technologies and for good reason. There are many employees that believe that the adoption of these innovations can lead to the elimination of jobs.
But looking at the overall economy, this doesn't actually seem to be a huge threat as companies increasingly upgrade their technical abilities. After all, we are looking at an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent, the lowest it has been for more than a decade, according to the New York Times. Commercial real estate firms like JLL, which are broker-driven, are embracing technology by launching proprietary software platforms that can do things like give potential buyers or lessors 3-D tours of assets and markets.
And other than chat bots, as Real Estate Tech News points out, there are several commercial real estate technology programs that can cut down the time it takes for brokers to generate solid leads. Of course, there are some naysayers who claim that several tasks of brokers will one day be automated, but it will be hard to replace personalized local area knowledge.
CRE Hesitance in Embracing Tech
Despite commercial real estate technology improving over the last few years, the industry has admittedly taken a while to get on board. Other than fears about job elimination, according to BisNow, many private commercial real estate companies have reportedly been slow to share data about their assets because it was viewed as proprietary information. That's not going to fly, though, with unsurpassed investor interest and the need for data transparency.
While the commercial real estate industry was slow to adapt, all of the major firms seem to be taking tech seriously. And considering Amazon, one of the largest tech companies in the world, and its never-ending hiring, workers in the commercial real estate space will likely still have jobs in the future.
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