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Design & Technology, Strategy & Organisation January 11, 2018

Digital Trends in Real Estate

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Real estate is in full speed when it comes to the digital process. People are getting more and more used to digital techniques in all aspects of daily life, so why would that be any different when it comes to real estate? It’s time to prepare for the latest digital developments so that real estate doesn’t fall behind. These are the most significant digital trends to watch in 2018 when it comes to real estate on the basis of three pillars.

Smart

We know smart cities, but builders nowadays increasingly think about the construction of digital facilities when they’re developing a new district, which enables people in the neighborhood to manage affairs themselves. These developments can be seen in the field of safety, care, maintenance, transport and purchase of products and services. By linking hardware in the neighborhood to custom software, people in the area can make decisions together, save energy and purchase services. Think of buying cost-effective paintwork together or electric cars connected to solar panels on the roof that function as energy storage.

Social concepts will arise to combine the strengths of people in the neighborhood, such as crowd sharing. In an area with smart digital facilities you can curb matters along the lines of demographic ageing and alienation. Think of remote communities or using seniors for certain activities in the area, like babysitting. Next Door tries to do so in America by joining neighborhood communities and De Alliantie does so in the Netherlands through a social network called ‘My Neighborhood’.

The house of the future will be a shell in which you purchase services such as energy, food and repairs. This form of self-organization of the neighborhood will lead to cost savings. In addition, the quality is good because it is controlled by the neighborhood. If something fails, a supplier immediately suffers the consequences.

The neighborhood will become a standalone economy, a marketplace in which involved parties will link the needs of the residents to suppliers of services and amenities. The only question is: who will own said marketplace? Disruptors will turn our traditional idea of a neighborhood and the maintenance thereof upside down. The house will become more of a service, with a matching appstore.

Buildings are getting smarter which makes them easier to repurpose. Nowadays offices and residences are pretty strictly distributed. Smart construction gives us the chance to say: this is an enormous house, the people that live in it are getting older, so we’re going to reach a point where we can move around components that will change the residence; for example, housing for the elderly downstairs and young professionals upstairs.

In addition, we’ll see that the house will become more and more robotized: Alexa will make a combination with internet of things: lights on, heating off, windows open, curtains drawn, intelligent kitchens – we’ll have a voice-activated ecosystem in which it’ll be possible to combine all of those elements. You’ll go on vacation and still be able to see what happens in your home. Alexa will give advice on maintenance and consumption for example, but she will also manage your calendar. She’ll take care of not only your home, but your appointments as well.

Technology

Let’s say you want to buy a house. It hasn’t been built yet, but you can already walk through it. You can decorate it any way you like, move a wall up a meter and change the color of the walls.

You’re in a 3D model of your future home and you’re experiencing what it’s like to live there. Does the idea seem far out of reach? Thanks to powerful game engines such as Unreal 4, the same engine World of Warcraft runs on, it is now possible to create photorealistic, real-time walkthroughs in houses that are indistinguishable from video.

With the addition of augmented reality (AR), it’s also possible to move objects to a different place than that of where you’re residing whilst still experiencing its true dimensions.

A house or public space is particularly suitable for this technology. 3D design is already being used in real estate, so the only question left was how to connect that information to the customers so it can be rapidly shown how the neighborhood, the house and the interior is progressing. The answer is augmented reality. AR makes it possible to experience real estate on your mobile phone. It’s a major advantage in comparison with virtual reality, which you always need goggles or a helmet for.

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Each party concerned in constructing a neighborhood – the architects, the construction company, the local authority and the suppliers – is increasingly working with these technologies. It’s made possible for these parties to incorporate all of the modifications in wire models in real-time. This results in an enormous boost in efficiency, but it also means that these modifications are implemented in the building model in real-time when the client is configuring the house. This way, houses can get more and more customized.

Other technological trends to take into account in real estate are Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Google Maps for real estate. AMP are faster, lightweight pages that are also a ranking factor for Google. Over two billion pages have been AMP’d by now and because the first interaction is of great importance when someone uses their mobile phone to view a house, we strongly recommend to get on it as soon as possible.

Google Maps for real estate is a layer that you can put on top of Maps. Instead of a self-made, custom implementation on your website which showcases the offered accommodation, you can upload that data to Google Maps. Then you’ll have the full Maps functionality with the houses you want to showcase on it. This way, a lot of information such as facilities in the neighborhood of a house, can be seen at a glance.

The feature also makes it possible to map customer behavior so you know just how and where to reach your target group. In addition, marketing campaigns can be adjusted based on location data and it will show the occupancy history of an area, so customers can get an insight into the developments of certain neighborhoods and relevant market values thereof.

Google Maps for real estate is mostly free of charge, which makes it a great solution for smaller companies.

Marketing

Cities, neighborhoods and houses are getting smarter, technology enables us to visit and decorate houses even before they’re built. Like pioneer BPD has shown us last year, it probably won’t be long before houses are sold online on a large scale. What does this development mean for marketing departments in real estate?

Firstly, it’s very relevant for the real estate world to question how you can connect offline consumer behavior to online efforts. How do you know if someone has already been to a brokerage firm? How do you know if they’ve already viewed a house on location? In retail, the connection between online and offline consumer behavior is made active. Why don’t we treat real estate as a usual shopping trip? Such insights lead to a more efficient utilization of the marketing budget.

Furthermore, you can use Predictive targeting in combination with marketing data to predict which people visiting your website have a higher chance of registering for a construction project or existing residence. Based on data sets and machine-learning, we can precisely predict what the chances are of a potential customer taking action. That existing data can also be used for new marketing channels. By making use of this kind of targeting, you get a higher return on conversion.

Lastly, it’s about connecting the dots: what is the best way to map the customer journey of a person that registers to your website? The data of your website can be found in Analytics, any information from calls can be put in your CRM system, a visit to the office is administrated and finally, conversion takes place. Data configured in these steps are usually separated from each other, but if you were to link them together, you would be able to follow someone’s journey extremely well. Those insights can also be very valuable when fine-tuning your message and increasing efficiency. With the help of an ATS connection we can connect Analytics to CRM data. This way, even human interactions can be measured all the way back to the first click on an ad. This is how we map the entire journey.

Questions? We are here to help!