Generative AIs are remaking the industry’s operation model
By: Yip Wai Fong
No industry seems immune from using generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools ever since such technology made its appearance just barely a year ago.
But in such a short time, real estate industry practitioners have said generative AI can greatly empower work efficiency, accuracy, personalisation and decision-making.
Global real estate firm JLL, for example, found ChatGPT to be a strategic tool. Its Asia Pacific head of client growth Vivek Satpathi said the AI tool is being utilised at JLL to process and analyse vast amounts of data, enabling various teams in the organisation to identify patterns and trends more efficiently.
“By automating data analysis tasks, our teams have been able to save time and focus on higher-value activities such as complex problem-solving,” Satpathi said, adding that the JLL team’s experience with using the tool has been a positive one.
“The technology has empowered JLL teams to work smarter and more efficiently, allowing for faster insights and more informed decision-making. While there is a learning curve associated with adopting any new technology, our staff members have found that generative AI tools streamline their workflows and improve the overall quality of their work,” he said.
JLL Malaysia chief growth officer Christophe Vicic added that JLL Malaysia has a customised internal JLL GPT platform, designed specifically for real estate purposes.
“This platform is highly valuable for conducting quick searches and finding information on real estate-related topics. It is trained to understand real estate language, which helps save time for users. JLL welcomes the use of the GPT platform by its employees as it increases our efficiency and allows us to focus on more creative tasks,” Vicic said.
“However, it is important to exercise caution and remember that although the platform is powered by AI, human verification is still essential to ensure accuracy and validity of the information generated,” he shared further.
Impact on the industry
Gleaned from the results of using generative AI in JLL, Satpathi’s forecast is that generative AI’s capacity in data analysis will cascade into multiple areas such as market analysis, process automation, customer experience and even sustainable development, leading to a significant impact on the industry.
He said as it is able to analyse large volumes of data, identify patterns and trends and make accurate predictions or suggestions, many types of analytics can be fed into it. Give it data on market and property valuations, the technology can assist real estate professionals to make more informed decisions and reduce risk. If the data are rental rates, occupancy rates and property performance, it can identify opportunities for portfolio diversification, help recommend optimal rental rates and suggest strategies for maximising property value. Feed it with environmental data, energy consumption patterns and construction materials, generative AI can provide insights into sustainable building design, energy-efficient retrofits and green infrastructure planning. This supports environmentally friendly decision-making that aligns with the growing focus on sustainability.
On the customers’ side, the technology can analyse customer data and preferences, thus providing tailored recommendations and suggestions to buyers, sellers and tenants. This helps in delivering a more personalised and engaging experience. Generative AI’s potential also extends to automating tasks such as property appraisal, lease analysis and tenant screening to save time, improve efficiency and reduce human error.
A super app
Other than generative AI, the application of other machine learning models has also put real estate practitioners at an advantage. Global real estate technology group Juwai IQI has a super app powered by machine learning to provide convenience to both agents and customers. Using the super app, known as the IQI Atlas to validate consumers’ identities when they purchase property, the transaction process is made much quicker, simpler and more transparent.
“Ultimately, we want to liberate our agents and negotiators to spend nearly 100% of their time advising and consulting with clients. Consumers need the advice and support of an expert to help them feel comfortable with their decisions and work through the process. Naturally, agents who use technology to help support their clients will do the most business,” said co-founder, group chief operating officer and chief information officer Nabeel Mungaye.
IQI Atlas is specially built for Juwai IQI agents and gives them access to the group’s technology infrastructure while they are on the go. The app has functions for marketing and sales, data management, contact management, social media and access to training programs, combining features on multiple apps into a single and powerful tool.
“Juwai IQI’s (operation model) combines marketing portals, a super app, back-end technology and a global agent network. That makes it easier for us to apply new technology and amplify the benefit of efficiency. We believe you need the right business structure to thrive in the face of rapid technological change,” Mungaye added.
Other technologies at play
Satpathi said there are other cutting-edge technologies that the industry has been exploring, such as IoT, blockchain, robotics and augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) to foster more growth and address certain challenges. For example, the use cases of IoT were in enhancing a building’s energy performance, blockchain in making secure property ownership records, streamlining title transfers, reducing the risk of fraud and making smart contracts, while AR/VR’s application area was in marketing and customer experiences such as virtual property tours, 3D visualisations and AR apps that allow remote property viewing.
As fast-paced technological changes are always followed by an uncertain scale of disruption, the real estate industry is constantly adapting itself.
Satpathi said that JLL has several forward-looking policies, such as having a dedicated technology team, investing in R&D, collaborating with technology partners, having a client-centric approach and an agile work culture.
“(Our) forward-looking policies and initiatives demonstrate JLL's commitment to embracing technological changes and disruptions. By staying proactive, adaptable and client-focused, we aim to leverage technology as a catalyst for growth and deliver exceptional value to our clients,” Satpathi said.
Mungaye said that Juwai IQI will be leveraging its global clout to build a 1,000-strong data and technology team with operations in more than 20 countries.
“That allows us to take innovative tools from one market and apply them in others,” he said, adding that it is more important than ever now for real estate professionals to have access to the latest tools.
“The immediate impact of AI has been to make clear that continuous education and adaptation will be even more essential than it has been for agents and negotiators, (and for this end) IQI offers regular weekly training programs,” he added.