Here's how proptech is changing the real estate industry
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Here’s how proptech is changing the real estate industry

Here’s how proptech is changing the real estate industry

Over the years, more complex technological tools have found their way into the real estate industry, changing the way properties are constructed, sold, and managed

A growing number of companies in the real estate industry are embracing digital transformation, according to the latest KPMG Global PropTech Survey. “This widely spreading trend is driven by the need for better efficiencies, cost reduction and enhanced decision-making that will help the organisation become more agile to deliver better customer experiences and satisfaction,” says Jayesh Maganlal, chief information officer at Damac Properties.

Over the years, increasingly more complex technological tools have made their way into the real estate sector, transforming how properties are developed, sold and managed. For instance, data analytics is being used in developing more accurate property valuations. Virtual reality (VR) tours have also become more popular, mainly because it allows property buyers to virtually visit and immerse themselves in the property from wherever they are. This technology is taking over the entire spectrum of real estate transactions, from virtual property staging to property displaying. According to estimates by Goldman Sachs, the market for VR in real estate alone could generate as much as $2.6bn by 2025.

The adoption of smart home devices and services have also seen an uptick as technological advancements in the internet of things (IoT) have started to improve connected lifestyle. According to a recent report by YouGov, an international research data and analytics group, more than one-third of respondents from the UAE indicated a more positive sentiment towards artificial intelligence (AI) and automation compared to more mature Western markets.

Damac envisions a tech-driven future by reengineering its processes and simplifying its technology architecture, with the objective of providing a smoother customer experience. It has implemented a series of technology and data transformation initiatives in consultation with leading global consultants to achieve agility, gain deeper business insights and therefore, greater operating efficiencies.

As part of this process, for example, it offers residents, tenants and prospective clients 360-degree views of its ready apartments to help them get a feel for the premium quality of its homes. In addition, customers can also virtually customise their apartments or villas through this virtual viewing experience to suit their preferences so that they may begin to experience what it would feel like to live in their future homes.

The real estate developer has also developed its Living app, which seeks to make a number of services and processes easier and more seamless for homeowners – from settling payments, to uploading documents for property handover, making amenity bookings and getting special discounts on services, among others.

Technology is the business
Damac recognises that technology is no longer only a driver of business, but it is the business. “IT has become the forefront of our business operations, and we are ensuring that technology is engrained into every single process and business function,” continues Maganlal. “More importantly, digital transformation must be seen as an ongoing process – it has no end for as long as technology changes, organisations must adapt, or become irrelevant.”

He emphasises that any digital transformation initiatives, to be successful, must never lose sight of people. “It’s not just about setting up the platform to digitise the processes or installing the software or app to make processes work. People within organisations need to have the right skill set to be able to proceed and adopt the transformation,” he adds.

According to Maganlal, talent acquisition is critical to building up the digital capabilities of an organisation, as well as providing constant training and continuing education opportunities.

In all this, the chief information officer, chief technology officer and in some organisations the chief digital officer or however the title of the person leading the transformation is called, must be a key voice now more than ever, especially in a post pandemic world where digital channels and tools are increasingly replacing physical platforms and processes. Almost every aspect of an organisation now relies or utilises digital tools or processes, which means the chief digital transformation leader must be a primary decision-maker, and a key partner of management.

Looking ahead
Damac’s next phase of digital transformation is about building shared experiences for everyone who engages with the brand, a holistic experience across its customers, employees, partners, etc. This total experience (TX) is all about operating experiences without vacuums or silos. It seamlessly combines and overlaps various disciplines i.e the multi experience (MX), customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX) and user experience (UX). “We have made significant progress in addressing customer experiences through new digital touchpoints, changing the user experience to simplify ways of communicating and interacting with our customers and digitising the journey of all our processes across the organisation,” Maganlal concludes.

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