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What Role Will Artificial Intelligence Play in the Future of CRE?


While the subject of artificial intelligence has frequently proven to be excellent fodder for science fiction movies in the past, the latest real estate news indicates that work is currently underway to deploy AI for the benefit of commercial real estate technology. Many of the films emerging from Hollywood have served as cautionary tales regarding what can go wrong with artificial intelligence; however, at its core, AI is simply the ability to teach machines to perform tasks better, faster and less expensively when compared to the ways they are performed by humans. In the retail sector, advances are already being made with such gadgets as Google Glass and iWatch.

Now, the startup firm BrokerSavant is now utilizing a technique known as deep learning for the development of commercial real estate tech tools, such as Property Index. Based on the development of advanced software that is capable of scanning a CRE property flyer and then analyzing the various points of data, Property Index provides brokers with a comprehensive view of relevant property data. Practically every attribute possible can be searched and filtered, with the use of the system, including sizes, property types, demographics and geography. As a result, brokers are able to make more informed recommendations and provide their clients with a greater competitive edge. BrokerSavant reports that 97 percent of all site selections now begin online. The startup's new tool is built directly into brokers' websites. Brokers are thus able to list properties in a manner that is highly visible and that can be easily searched, simply by uploading their pre-existing flyers.

The Chicago-based firm, founded in 2009, largely works with chamber of commerce organizations, municipalities and small brokerage firms. That is certainly not a small sector; however, considering that BrokerSavant reports that approximately 70 percent of the commercial real estate industry is comprised of such small organizations. BrokerSavant's stated mission is to help such groups work smarter, not harder.

BrokerSavant is not the only firm to leverage the power of artificial intelligence for retail or commercial benefits. Luminoso Technologies, Inc. is now utilizing AI for the purpose of delving deeper into the mindsets of consumers through the analysis of online forums, social media, focus groups and surveys to develop a deeper understanding of consumer desires. In the future, such AI tools could very well be used to aide in the design of commercial real estate projects to create facilities that are more likely to appeal to consumers.

The amount of ways in which artificial intelligence could be used in the future of commercial real estate seems without end. From property valuation to the selection of sites, AI has the potential to completely revolutionize the commercial real estate industry as a whole. Perhaps the next biggest area of commercial real estate that will be impacted by the evolution of artificial intelligence will simply be the demand for space necessary for the development of AI projects. Google and Facebook are both currently racing to develop the next big AI system, and will need the appropriate space to do it in.

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