Disruptive Innovations in Indian Real Estate

By Arshdeep Sethi, Managing Director – Development, RMZ Corp

Introduction

Over the past several decades, the real estate industry across the world hasn’t changed much. The Tsunami of change brought about by growing influence of technology till recently had not touched the real estate sector. However, that is changing and in a big way! Today, we are seeing the mushrooming of start-ups that are developing products aimed squarely at real estate industry. From residential to commercial and from retail to hospitality, the entire space is poised for change. People are analysing the industry with a microscope to seek areas where technology can bring efficiencies and ease. Let us explore few such innovations that are showing potential to disrupt the industry.

Market Comparables

Real estate, as an industry, has been notorious in the past for being fairly opaque. And, that has affected growth adversely. Seeing this opportunity, we now have several players trying to address this ‘defect’. Several websites now give information about projects, their specifications and also about their micro-market. This is particularly so for the residential space. Online discussion forums and mobile messengers have made it very easy for people to share information and also their views about the projects. This has led to making buyers more informed who also demand transparency. Even in the commercial segment, technology start-ups are coming up with apps that allow one to check out what is available in a particular market or even a particular building. Details like available space, lease rentals, leasing terms, etc. are available simply by tapping the screen. These innovations have reached an advanced stage in developed markets like the US and Europe and now are even being seen in India.

Smart Cities and Master-planned Communities

One of the biggest problems of urban India is bad civic planning. Foresight is a quality that is lacking in a large number of urban developments. And, many a times even if we have great planning, bad implementation and maintenance get us to the same result. But that will hopefully soon be a thing of the past. People prefer to live in properly planned areas which offer a good quality of life and have good physical and social infrastructure. Due to this reason, we are seeing the development of large, master-planned communities that are like mini cities. These projects are planned and are executed meticulously and provide a great lifestyle to its residents, in addition to being clean, green and sustainable. These projects combine homes, work and leisure spaces that allow one to even walk to work. These mini cities are like living micro-organisms which are smart and change and evolve as per the needs of the residents. The government too has realized this and is actively promoting the up-gradation of existing cities to smart cities. It has put in action a program for the creation of 100 smart cities in the country.

Drones

Drones have a huge scope in the real estate industry. They can be applied in a variety of ways to suit various uses. For example, equipped with high resolution cameras, drones can provide unprecedented aerial views of any property, be it land or built-up space. The perspective that they can provide is invaluable while understanding a micro-market and the potential of any given land parcel or building. They can be used for surveying and land mapping, or even for construction management and project monitoring. They can be used to get beautiful flying shots which can be used to great advantage while marketing any property. The possibilities are vast. However, there are some caveats too. Legal permission is needed to fly a drone. Additionally, there are privacy/security issues and also issues of crashes due to inadequate training/expertise.

Geofencing

Geo-fencing is essentially using information from the mobile network’s towers, or alternatively, the GPS of a person’s mobile phone to determine his/her location and using this information to direct advertisements, etc. that are directly relevant at that particular location. For example, a buyer may be sent a message about a discount being offered at a particular store he is close to upon entering the geo-fenced area. Geo-fencing has great potential in marketing as it allows targeted marketing.

Data Mining and Big Data

The availability of large chunks of data and massive computing power these technologies. The information derived shows the patterns that the data set is following. This has great scope for decision-making. For example, this analysis can help determine the growth direction of the city, or the preference for a 2 bedroom house in a particular area, etc. This information can then be used to base business decisions e.g. determining the product mix of a project located in a certain area. This technology is still in its nascent stages and its potential will only be realised with the passage of time. Needless to say, the impact will be unprecedented.

Conclusion

Everyday more and more innovations are being made in the real estate space. And, the innovation will only increase in the future. The impact of these technologies will definitely cause a shake-up in the real estate industry. There will be even more emphasis on transparency, brand value, increased use of technology across all areas of business, etc. This will at the end, be good for all, real estate developers, consumers, and the society in general.

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