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Big Data And Iot - The Two Pillars Of Real Estate Technology Trends

Amit Bhatia ,Group-CIO, Jaquar Group

The term ‘Real Estate’ in simple term refers to ‘Property consisting of Land or Buildings’. Hence the Real Estate business in layman terms refers to “Selling or Buying of Property”. It is one of the most sought after investments after Gold. In countries like India, it is still a dream for many peoples to own a Home. Though like other businesses, Real Estate too has its ups and downs, but viewing in long term it has tremendous growth potential.

As in other fields, the Technology is slowly but steadily penetrating into Real Estate business too. And as per current trend, the two major technological domains that are propelling the growth of Real Estate sector are, Big Data and Internet of Things (IoT).

Big Data – Impact on Real Estate Sector
“Big Data” is gaining lots of popularity in recent years. It has its impact on each and every industry across the globe, like Healthcare, Education, etc.; and Real Estate is no different. So let’s investigate further on how Big Data is impacting on the Real Estate sector.

“Big Data” is simply defined as a huge amount of data, both structured and unstructured, which can be analysed to get deep insight of a business.

Today Real Estate is one of the most unorganized sectors. Further augment it with large amount of data that is being generated from this sector. Now the conventional database technologies used are not sufficed to handle and analyse such huge amount of data in effective manner. Here Big Data comes to great help which when analyzed computationally reveal actionable trends, patterns and associations. With the help of Big Data, Real Estate business can grow in leaps and bounds in coming years.

Here are some of the important aspects of Real Estate business that will greatly benefit from the implementation of Big Data.

Accurate Property Appraisals
Appraisals are one of the most important aspects of Real Estate business. Real Estate agents use it to determine the property price; home buyers and investors depend on them for good offers, and Lenders and Banks need them to determine the actual Market Price of a Property. Now, the Market Price of a Property varies greatly depending on parameters like building condition, location, area and so on. With the traditional database technologies, it often gets difficult to accurately appraise a Property. Hence, here use of ‘Big Data’ comes for big rescue. With the use of Big Data technology and related analytical tools, the Real Estate agents are able to accurately appraise a Property and set a realistic monetary value for the same. Big Data will provide users with realistic information on the basis of the actual condition of the Property, age of the Property, neighborhood locality, total area of the Property, amenities provided and so on. Thus, both agents and consumers get the most realistic price of the Property, and both get benefitted.

Targeted Marketing
The most common problem faced by Real Estate Agents is the unclear and unpredictable customer behavior. Hence, it is difficult to analyse the trend of likes and dislikes of customer pertaining to a type of Property. Here too Big Data could prove to be fruitful. Using Big Data technology and related analytical tools, Real Estate Agencies can analyze trends in the age, gender, behaviors, and interests of customers related to a Property and accordingly can suggest the best suitable Properties for the customers.

The Targeted Marketing has evolved greatly in recent times. With the use of Big Data, Real Estate Agencies can deliver some great targeted marketing assets by predicting the trends, behaviors, and success factors.

Automating Financial Fitness Determination of a Customer
Most of the Real Estate purchases strive on Bank Loans by customers. However, determining whether a buyer should be sanctioned with a Loan often is a time consuming process. It depends on lot of factors of a customer like Salary, Age, Current Debt, Residing City, Number of Dependents, Co-Applicant, Credit History, etc; and evaluating a customer on all these parameters is a lengthy process. With the use of Big Data technology, evaluating a customer to determine his or her financial fitness on the mentioned parameters can be entirely automated. It results in faster disbursal of Loans and thereby increasing the sale of the Properties; thereby increasing the growth of the Real Estate business.
Internet of Things (IoT) – Adding Different Dimension to Real Estate Business
Apart from Big Data, one more technology that is revolutionizing the Real Estate business is the Internet of Things (IoT). Before delving further, we should first understand what is IoT. In simple terms, “IoT is the computing concept where the everyday used physical objects are connected over Internet, enabling them to send and receive data. These devices are embedded with sensors, software, network connectivity and necessary electronics to make them responsive”. By integrating IoT into Real Estate development results into creation of ‘Smart City’, which is reshaping the entire Real Estate business. Now what makes a City Smart? The design of ‘Smart Buildings’, ‘Smart Parking’, ‘Smart Street Lighting System’, are some of the significant happening in a ‘Smart City’.

Smart Buildings
In a simpler term, Smart Buildings are the structures that use wireless connectivity, Sensor and IoT technology to automate the control of various building operations like lighting, ventilation, heating, so on. For Smart Buildings, the Smartphones act as devices to access and control the various building operations.

Here are some examples that a Smart Building facilitates for its owners:

Smart Light Management
Light Management is an important component of a Smart Building. Lighting solutions as implemented in these buildings are auto-adjustable to Condition and Occupancy in the building. For example, Occupancy sensors installed in the Smart Buildings can switch on or off the lights automatically based on whether any persons are present or not in the area. Similarly Light sensors can adjust the brightness of indoor lighting based on the amount of available ambient light i.e. how bright/dark is (also called daylight connection).

Intelligent HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning)
The main objectives of installing Smart HVAC technology is to improve the comfort conditions of its occupants, reduce energy expenses and also put lessen workload on facilities staff. But what is Smart HVAC? The Smart HVAC, like other Smart Building Technologies, has sensor embedded within it and is integrated with the building automation system. These sensors monitor temperature, humidity, air velocities, presence of occupants, air and water flow rates, pressures, electricity or gas consumption, etc., in the building and based on the data received from the sensors fine-tune them to optimize comfort while reducing energy consumption.

Here are some of the different types of sensors as used in a Smart HVAC:

Thermal sensors
Thermal sensors are used to detect the differences in conditions in different zones of the building space. For example, an open office area with high ceilings can get chilly quickly; similarly a crowded conference room can get warm in short time. A smart HVAC system uses that data to adjust the temperature of a room based on changing conditions throughout the day or week.

CO2 Sensors
According to a recent study by Harvard School of Public Health, it has been observed that high CO2 levels in a building can have a direct negative impact on wellbeing of people within the building. Now CO2 gas level increases as the number of people increase in the area. The CO2 sensors in Smart HVAC detect the levels of CO2 gas in the area, and when it reached upto a threshold value, the Smart HVAC system increases the levels of fresh air supplied to the space. This will have a significant impact on workforce wellbeing.

Occupancy Sensors
Another important sensor used in Smart HVAC is Occupancy Sensor and is especially useful in Office workspace where the different areas have different usage of HVAC system. The employees often move from one desk to another, entering and leaving Conference Rooms, and so on; and hence the heating or cooling of the space greatly varies. At times it happens that heating and cooling system is operating for those areas where there are no people. Hence to save energy consumption and optimized usage of HVAC systems, Occupancy sensors are inbuilt in them. Occupancy sensors perceive the presence of people (typically by detecting motion) in the various spaces within an office. And according to the data collected it adjust the temperature of the space based on real-time utilization, saving both money and energy consumption.

Smart Parking
Today the rapid growth of vehicles poses a problem for parking space, which is not confined to India only but is a worldwide problem. The current unmanaged car parking areas and transportation facilities make it difficult to accommodate the rapidly rising number of vehicles in a convenient but systematic manner. Hence it becomes necessary to devise a parking solution that is both efficient and smart. This leads to implementation of Smart Parking System.

The Smart Parking System, also called Automated Parking System, like other Smart technologies, use sensors, cameras, real-time data and applications, for efficient management of on-street and offstreet parking spaces. The sensors embedded in the ground, or cameras fixed on light poles or building structures, determine which area of the parking space is vacant or occupied. This data is routed wirelessly to a gateway, and relayed to a central cloud-based smart parking platform. It is aggregated with data from other sensors to create a real time parking map. This map is then accessed by the driver using the relevant mobile application as installed in his smartphone. Furthermore, the application will also identify the nearest parking space to the driver and direct him to drive and park his Car there. It helps the driver to find the nearest parking faster and easier instead of blindly driving around searching for the same. Hence, it saves both time and oil consumption of vehicle.

The other facilities as provided by the Smart Parking System are making online payments, parking time notifications and car searching functionalities.

Real estate developers, nowadays, are adopting Smart Parking Systems in their projects, which have also become one of key strategy to promote their Projects.

Smart Street Lighting System
With the advent of ‘Smart City’ where everything is ‘Smart’ why the Street Lighting System be left behind. The existing Street Lighting systems around the world consume a humongous amount of energy, which, many estimates put at about 19 percent of world’s energy consumed. Though the older CFL and incandescent lamps are being replaced by more energy efficient LED, but more than three fourths of the existing streetlamps are more than 25 years old. Now, the problem with the existing Street Lighting system is that most of the streetlamps are ON throughout the night, even when there is no one around. Now to avoid such a huge wastage of energy and also to reduce the carbon footprint, most of the cities around the world are opting for Smart Street Lighting system.

The Smart Street Lighting system comprises sensors that detect the presence of people and the light intensity of an area. The data thus gathered is then transmitted to a Controller. The Controller can be programmed to ON/OFF lights as per a predetermined schedule or as per people occupancy. The Controller can also be programmed to vary the intensity of lighting to suit predetermined situations. Henceforth, the implementation of Smart Street Lighting system results in considerable amount of energy saving and avoids wastage of energy by glowing street lights in unwanted areas.

With such great benefits of Smart Street Lighting system, Real Estate developers are also incorporating such systems in their Projects.

With the increasing competition and decreasing Sale in Real Estate sector, more and more players are now focusing on latest technologies to increase the sale prospect of their Projects. Two of the most widely used technologies that have had great impact on Real Estate business are Big Data and IoT. In coming years, with more advancement in these technologies, we also expect to see various more innovative features being incorporated by the Real Estate developers in their Projects.

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