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How ICPs are leveraging Disruptive Technologies to revolutionize the Indian Real Estate Industry

Saturday, June 08, 2019

By Phoolendra Gangwar

Like numerous other industries, technology has started to make a notable advent in the Real Estate space. It is estimated that more USD 10 billion has been poured into the global Proptech space during 2016-2018. Out of which, around USD 250 million has been invested in India.

The first wave of Proptech emerged in India during the early 2000s, when numerous search & discovery platforms set their footings- Magic Bricks, 99 Acres, Common floor & Makaan etc. Until then, the Indian Real Estate industry was mostly run by middle-men & individual brokers. As these small times brokerage houses were highly unorganized, the overall industry was opaque & lacked organization. These online portals were successful in waging a systematic war against the prevalent information asymmetry and helped discerning buyers search and discover properties online. However, as pure online models, little could they do to help home buyers purchase and close deals. Their role was primarily restricted to search and delivery.

The second wave of change came in the early part of the present decade when numerous Real Estate advisories emerged. Often called Institutional Channel Partners (ICPs), these advisories such as 360 Realtors, Square Yards, Anarock, Investor Clinic & Prop Tiger, etc. offered last leg support to home buyers.  Despite snag in the market, most of the ICPs grew vigorously by solving the pressing needs of the home buyers.

The success of ICPs was also underpinned on their technology friendliness. ICPs started making revolutionary makeover in the way properties are purchased by integrating technologies, innovations & analytics across the entire value chain.

VR/ AR: ICPs are investing in state of art virtual realties and augmented realities solutions to offer immersive experiences to home buyers. Earlier, Real Estate requires an iteration of property visits to before final closure. This is often a very tedious and time-consuming process. However, with the availability of VR/ AR based products, buyers can digitally inspect and view properties on a device without actually making a visit. Even if a property is under construction, such virtual tours can help you learn more about how the property will look post construction.

Big Data: The application of Big Data is gaining strength to strength. From a USD 7.5 billion industry in 2011, Big Data is expected to reach USD 103 billion in 2030, showcasing an 11.4% CAGR. The Real Estate transaction space is set to become one of the major beneficiaries of the boom in Big Data. International players such as Trulia, Zillow & Redfin have leveraged the disruptive use of Big Data to offer high-quality insights to discerning buyers.

In lock-up with their global counterparts, ICPs in India are also developing Big Data-enabled products to offer insightful advice to home buyers, sellers, developers & financial institutions. By compiling large chunks of data pertaining to home price trends, demographics, supply-demand dynamics, infrastructure, developer background, etc.- These ICPs will offer highly accurate, unbiased & usable insights on the home market. This will streamline the entire property purchase process & help home buyers take the best decisions with minimal risk involved. In the times ahead Big Data is going to revolutionize the entire industry.

Besides, Big Data will also help home users by targeting them with the exact kind of property they are looking for. This will further automate & simplify the “Search & Discovery” space with help of help “technology led insights”.

Digitized Marketing: Innovation & technology has also revolutionized the way Real Estate products are promoted & marketed. As more tech-savvy consumers are entering the space, technology has started to play a proactive role in the entire sales funnel of Real Estate. In the present scenario new age marketing such as digital advertising, content marketing, social media, chat bots & mobile marketing constitute a sizable part of the lead generation mechanism.

Other popular tools such as property transaction engine, online festivals, etc. will also poise to grow on the back of attractive demographic dividend coupled with spurred digitization. However, having stayed in the Industry for more than 5 years, we firmly believe that home purchase is never going to be a purely online game. It is primarily a “touch & feel” industry & hence a 100% online model is far-fetched.

The times ahead will see the growing popularity of hybrid models, marked by seamless integration between online & offline modes of marketing. Drawing the best of both worlds- online & offline- the new age models will offer higher values to customers & mitigate potential risks.

The Writer is a Chief Technology Officer of 360 Realtors

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