7 DIGITAL TRENDS IN THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY
Many people may consider real estate to be less innovative than other sectors of industry and to be lagging behind in some areas. A closer look shows that much is afoot in this field, however. These seven trends are shaping the present and future face of the property world.
A blockchain is a decentralised database which enables any transaction without requiring an intermediary. The best-known example of a blockchain is the crypto-currency Bitcoin. The performed transactions are entered in encrypted and compressed form in a continually growing list. Each transaction constitutes a block which is provided with a hash – a digital fingerprint. Each block additionally contains the preceding block’s hash. The individual transaction blocks are thus interlinked, forming a blockchain.
The compelling feature of a blockchain is that it enables so-called ‘smart contracts’. These are intelligent contracts which are generated automatically when a certain event occurs. This means that a lease agreement can be concluded when a tenant enters an apartment, for example, without you having to be on site.
Property investments can also be effected via blockchain. The prop-tech platform Exporo issued token-based bonds on the Ethereum blockchain for the first time in 2019, for example.
BUILDING INFORMATION MODELING (BIM)
Building information modeling involves the use of software designed to optimise the planning, construction and management of a property. The full scope of data from all parties involved – from investors through engineers and architects to the subsequent property managers – is collected, combined and modelled in the BIM software. BIM can visualise the timeline, reflect the costs of a project, take life-cycle aspects into consideration and also take account of building usages. As such, building information modeling represents an ideal method for the entire property cycle.
While BIM cannot prevent errors, problems can be recognised much earlier with the aid of BIM software.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)
Many of us already use artificial intelligence in our everyday lives without noticing it. When we have songs or films recommended to us by streaming services or navigate to a certain location, for example. Artificial intelligence spans a range of different disciplines, such as machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing. Put simply, AI is an algorithm which operates along similar lines to human thought processes.
The term ‘big data’ refers to large collections of data which are generally unstructured and beyond the capacities of conventional IT infrastructures and methods. The term is also associated with the technology which helps to process and analyse these vast (unstructured) volumes of data. There are also numerous ways in which big data can be used in the field of real estate. It can help to optimise maintenance, to assess investments more accurately and to improve internal analyses and reporting.
Virtual reality (VR) refers to the visualisation and perception of reality in a computer-generated, interactive, virtual environment. As virtual reality is not constrained by physical laws, the scope for visualisation is boundless. VR goggles or special rooms (CAVE: Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) are required in order to experience virtual reality.
In the real estate industry, VR is most commonly used to visualise developments.
The term ‘augmented reality’ (AR) refers to the computer-assisted enhancement of reality. AR enables all human senses to be addressed by way of imagery, sound and spatial perception by presenting additional virtual information via smart glasses, a display or a smartphone. AR can be used in the real estate industry to simulate design proposals, for example. This enables customers to see at a glance whether planned office furniture will actually fit into their new premises.
INTERNET OF THINGS
In the Internet of things (IoT), everyday or industrial objects become smart objects which are able to communicate with one another. The technical basis for this networking is provided by a structure similar to the internet. In the real estate industry, IoT is used in building automation, for example. Here it enables the ‘predictive maintenance’ of escalators, elevators, ventilation and air conditioning systems.