Posted by Joe Averill

Posted 6 November, 2017 OBI BLOG

Innovation and disruption are words you hear a lot in business right now – but these aren’t just buzzwords. Failing to be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things can result in businesses failing, and nobody wants to be the next dinosaur, rendered extinct by an inability to adapt.

The digital age is now upon us, as businesses look to technology to make processes more efficient, reduce long term costs and subsequently improve their competitive position in the market. Business leaders from all walks are now asking themselves, how is technology going to shape their industry and ultimately their business?

Property is an industry that’s slowly but surely warming to the idea of technology. A number of ‘proptech’ businesses have emerged, all with the aim of shaking up the sector. We have seen a number of firms embrace new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality as they look to revolutionise how they engage their audience.

Although a relatively new concept, proptech is gaining significant traction within our industry. A prime example is Wired Score, which rates the connectivity of a building and provides transparency to occupiers on the quality of digital infrastructure. With speed and reliability of digital connections so critical to businesses these days, it’s a vital factor in choosing one location over another.

One relatively unknown area which forward-thinking property businesses need to be looking at is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI and ML are already being utilised in the residential market, and will make their presence felt in commercial property too.

Take a look at exciting businesses such as Wondrwall, who are looking to monitor the behaviour of humans in the household to provide a more efficient home. For example, the home will learn activity to respond adequately, automatically adjusting heating and lighting relative to human behaviour to improve efficiencies. Building their understanding of human health to improve well-being is part of Wondrwall’s roadmap.

Artificial intelligence will certainly enable property businesses to enhance opportunities for savings in the future. Areas of savings will include;

  • analytics in building automation systems
  • automation in property management job functions
  • machine learning in real estate marketplaces

There are two ways to perceive AI: threat or opportunity. Artificial Intelligence, on the opportunistic side, will allow professionals within the world of property to work more efficiently. There will be a level of automation that will replace certain tasks, freeing up time for property professionals to concentrate on more challenging matters.

At a recent Business Cloud event, Richard Potter, CEO of Manchester-based data analytics and AI firm Peak, talked about opportunity: “in many cases it’s automation and repetitive tasks that can be taken on by AI – people can concentrate on the creative jobs, the jobs that you can’t automate.”

As these technologies improve and their commercial development advances, business will adapt and move forward. That’s what Manchester business does well, and we at OBI intend to be a part of that journey.