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Powerful technologies

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Digital technology is revolutionizing the real estate business everywhere, forcing industry players to rethink their ways of doing business and make necessary adjustments. And that disruption has been amplified by powerful developments that have emerged in recent years. Here are some of them.

Augmented and virtual reality technologies, which have shaken up the gaming industry, have potential to do the same to the real estate industry, where they are gradually being adopted. “Imagine if people could take a virtual tour of a potential house before they went to see it. It could make the whole process much more efficient and it could also make people more likely to make a purchase,” wrote James Paine, founder of the real estate investment firm West Realty Advisors, in a post published on the Web site of the American magazine Inc.

“Meanwhile, augmented reality could come in useful when people are trying to visualize what an empty house will look like once they’ve moved their furniture inside. If a potential buyer has already taken the step of planning out exactly what the house is going to look like, the chances are that they’re keen enough to make an offer,” Mr. Paine added.

According to Onboard Informatics, a provider of real estate data information services, chatbot has started to emerge in the real estate industry. These chatbots, which are virtual reality assistants, are bound to get even more popular than they are today. Tractica, a market intelligence firm, predicts that by 2021, the number of consumers of virtual digital assistants will have reached 1.8 billion, from 390 million in 2015.

“Texting and typing is so 2010. Consumers of 2018 want to speak to their computers. With the advancing technology of chatbots, this is now easier than ever,” the company said. One example of a chatbot specifically made for real estate purposes is Ask DOSS. “Users of this platform can speak their real estate search into Ask DOSS in their natural voice and get accurate, easy and instant answers,” Onboard Informatics said.

The triumvirate of big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning are giving real estate companies the power to make more informed decisions. “Just imagine how powerful it would be to have advance notice of a trend that will affect house prices such as if a large number of college graduates are suddenly flooding into the area,” Mr. Paine said.

Data, along with the ability to understand it, in Mr. Paine’s view, “could well be the key to success in the real estate industry moving forward.” “If we’re able to get a comprehensive view of the housing market, we can more accurately react to what’s happening and use data to back decisions instead of simply reacting to things on a hunch,” he said.

And the amount of data real estate companies can mine is colossal. “90% of data today was generated in the last two years,” Onboard Informatics said, citing a 2017 report on marketing trends IBM, an information technology giant, put together. “The digital universe is doubling every 12 months,” the company added.