Technology has permeated into all aspects of our lives and has impacted all industries be it finance, healthcare, hospitality, transportation or real estate. Technological innovations such as 3D and Cloud Technology have revolutionized the real estate industry. Be it the 360 degree view (virtual reality) of a house enabling an individual to take an informed decision; or the use of real time data sharing on Cloud for monitoring, evaluating, and enabling decisions.
Here’s looking at a few of these technologies:
IoT (Internet of Things)-The concept of development and availability of internet in which everyday objects are interconnected to each other via the internet, acceding them to send and receive data. This interconnectivity includes machines such as automobiles, washing machines, lamps, wearable devices such as heart monitor implant etc. IoT is becoming a part of home and offices, where real estate providers are providing smart solutions such as sensors to control the various systems at homes, offices and other spaces. Data is captured from these sensors, combined with analytics to give a completely different perspective on the way we live and work. For example, IoT can automate building maintenance services - devices and sensors notify the need for maintenance, automate and track the usage and maintenance of elevators, HVAC system and lighting system while collecting data of operation time, idle time and maintenance cycle, also capturing the system's energy consumption patterns.
Also, catching on in the real estate industry is 3D printing or additive manufacturing. This technology lets one create a 3D object with the help of a digital design by adding material in multiple layers. In CRE, 3D printing could decrease the need for a factory space, warehouse and the time taken for transportation of materials. Various software are available for this purpose such as TinkerCAD, Cura, Netfabb Basic, Simplify 3D, Repetier, Meshmixer, Blender , which help design the required structure digitally before printing them. These software are also segregated on the basis of their functioning such as Slicer, 3D Printer Host, 3D Design, CAD, and STL Viewer/Checker/Repair/Editor.
According to a survey by Markets and Markets, 3D concrete printing market is expected to reach $56.4m by 2021. This technology effectively reduces construction aspects such as time (reduces production time by 50-70%), labor (reduces labor cost by 50-80%) and waste (reduces 30-60% of construction waste) thereby reducing the overall costs and provides customized manufacturing. The world's first 3D printed office in Dubai plans to 3D print 25% of its city's buildings by 2030. According to a report, "Chinese company Winsun has already claimed to have built 10 3D constructed houses in one day at a cost of just $5,000 per house." Those being the case, possibilities are endless.
Bitcoin, the world's latest investment asset, has some similarities with the world's oldest investment asset - real estate. Introduced in 2009, Bitcoins can be transferred digitally like any other currency. Bitcoin works through blockchain technology and has been recently used for transactions in real estate. Online ledgers called Blockchains are used to record transactions. Platforms like 'Ubitquity' are being launched as blockchain platforms for secured transactions; and 'Flip' is experimenting with storing records in the blockchain format. Currently, it is unregulated and not approved by FDIC.
Drones or unmanned aircrafts, previously used in military services; have found their way into real estate industry, where it is being used to capture aerial shots of the facility/ office/ building. Their usage comes with its own set of rules. According to the National Association of Realtors Survey, 20% of realtors plan to use drones in future. Several apps available in the market allow the user to export the elevation data to a 3D model, Geo Tiff or point cloud with basic elevation estimates.
While software management solutions such as Document Management, Space Management and lease automation have been around, usage of real time data is a trend that’s taking the CRE industry by a storm. Big Data makes it possible to for customers to make investment decisions based on sound intelligence and analytics.
Technology, while serving as a catalyst, is changing the way we do business and transforming all industries. Adapting to new tools and processes in real estate, will only enable seamless managing and operating of CRE, leasing, and asset management and other RE functions.