Interview: Chris Roberts, group CEO of Eltizam Group
Now Reading
Eltizam Group’s Chris Roberts shares AI’s impact on property management, other trends

Eltizam Group’s Chris Roberts shares AI’s impact on property management, other trends

The group’s chief executive officer tells Gulf Business why digital transformation and upskilling are key to the future of a company, and how tech is transforming the real estate and property management sectors

Neesha Salian
Chris Roberts group CEO Eltizam Group Image Supplied

Tell us about Eltizam Group and its operations across the UAE.

Eltizam is a joint venture between International Holding Company and ADNEC. Founded in 2009, it is the region’s leading physical asset management company and investor into the built asset environment.

The group’s operations encompass real estate management, facilities fanagement, development and industrial management, powered by our technology and innovation backbone. With a comprehensive range of services and specialised subsidiaries, Eltizam’s footprint covers the UAE and extends to other parts of the region, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and beyond.

Our portfolio is a powerhouse of end-to-end technology-enabled built environment services, that cover: designing, building, managing, maintaining and innovating in the industry.

What are some of the key developments in the property and asset management sector considering the robust performance of the UAE’s real estate industry over the last two years?

The impressive performance of the UAE’s real estate industry in recent years has spurred significant advancements within the field in a relatively short time frame. The UAE’s real estate management sector has witnessed accelerated adoption of advanced technologiesn including artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoT. Smart buildings and smart cities have entered the spotlight and with the upcoming COP28, there has been an increased focus on sustainability. Real estate companies are prioritising customer experience and innovation, and as a consequence, they are actively developing and embracing proptech solutions.

It’s worth mentioning that the UAE government, in its ongoing commitment to further develop the sector, has introduced regulatory changes aimed at promoting transparency and instilling investor confidence. Additionally, the UAE is focused on enabling the required infrastructure to globally lead in this sector, as well as becoming a global technology hub; creating the perfect conditions for innovation and positive disruption in the industry.

Proptech has been gaining ground in the UAE over the past two years. What is the outlook for the sector in H2 and beyond?

As the public and private sectors continue to embrace digital transformation and technological advancements within the industry, proptech is expected to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of real estate in the UAE and the outlook for H2 and beyond remains optimistic.

At Eltizam, we are investing in delivering in-country proptech innovation that will further accelerate the growth of the ‘built environment’ industry.

Overall, the combination of continued investment, government support, technological advancements and collaborations, we can expect the proptech sector to flourish in many aspects including sustainability, smart buildings and intelligent cities.

How is AI transforming the real estate and property management sector?

Artificial Intelligence is fundamentally transforming how organisations operate globally in real estate. Companies in the UAE are leading the charge in the region with constant waves of new technologies that align with the country’s sustainability, innovation, and resource efficiency goals. The powerful capabilities of AI allow businesses to significantly enhance their operations, leading to an increase in efficiency, cost reduction and service quality improvement.

From a strategic perspective, AI helps us identify and analyse market trends that help fact-based decisions to drive the future of our business.

What I call “intelligent buildings” is the future of the built environment, where AI powers efficient management of communities and maintenance of assets, while enabling us to bring to life our sustainability agenda. Proactive management, as well as energy and water consumption optimisation across the assets, have been key areas where AI has enabled us to advance.

Furthermore, AI enhances the customer experience by offering personalised interactions, based on individual data, ensuring tailored services for clients that constantly evolve by learning from the customer feedback.

How has technology transformed your operations and where do you see its maximum impact and its future implications?

We have harnessed the power of technology to transform our operations across various sectors as well as using it as an engine to power our customer experience.

Our technology approach covers the end-to-end built environment offering from designing, building, managing, maintaining to innovating and creating the future of the sector.

As an example, in real estate management, we employ AI to enhance stakeholder engagement, optimise energy consumption and improve security and surveillance.

Our facilities management division utilises advanced analytics and machine learning for optimised maintenance practices and real-time monitoring, enabling proactive decision-making and resource allocation.

In development management, AI plays a vital role in layout optimisation, construction monitoring and workflow automation for efficient project management. Additionally, our technology division leverages smart hardware and AI-enabled software for comprehensive environmental monitoring and automated property management. We have successfully deployed AI-camera systems for number plate recognition, human detection in airport baggage handling and embedded ChatGPT in our PropEzy community management app.

As a collective effort, we are putting together the know-how and our experts in the industry to develop the ‘City of the Future’ concept. We are also developing the future of predictive maintenance, energy efficiency monitoring and AI-powered finance. Through these deployments and future plans, we are revolutionising operations, improving decision-making and driving overall efficiency within the group.

What are the ethical considerations of AI development? How can companies comply with them?

The matter of ethical considerations is a critical one and must be carefully addressed by organisations across all industries that are investing in these technologies. Some key considerations include data privacy, transparency, accountability and human oversight.

Companies must ensure that private and sensitive data is handled responsibly and securely and implement data protection measures to safeguard the privacy of individuals and corporations. Providing clear explanations of how AI-based decisions are made is key, which can help build trust with customers and stakeholders.

Developers must establish clear lines of accountability for AI systems, as it’s essential to determine who is responsible for addressing potential liability issues. Finally, companies should always consider human oversight; involvement in critical decision-making has to complement AI systems to make the most out of these technologies.

Why are upskilling and digital transformation key to the future of a company? How can leaders ensure their employees are well-trained to adapt to the new technologies and AI-driven solutions being implemented?

Digital transformation will be a crucial skill for most companies’ workforces, as it will enable competitiveness, agility, innovation, customer-centricity and long-term sustainability, which are all key aspects for a company’s growth and longevity.

Companies that have embraced the AI trend, need to ensure their employees are thoroughly trained to handle this technology.

Some of the strategies we have implemented include developing comprehensive training programmes that cover essential AI fundamentals, organising training sessions led by external experts, providing learning opportunities through well-established programmes and more. Not to mention, we have invested a lot in developing a learning culture across the whole group, to ensure our employees feel encouraged to evolve and broaden their expertise in key areas.

Image: Supplied

You might also like


Scroll To Top