CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr. Ketan Bhokray, Chief Technology Officer of Urbanrise (An Alliance Group Company)
- How has technology revolutionized the real estate sector, and what are some specific examples of traditional practices that have been transformed by these technological advancements?
In recent years, the pace of technological advancement has gained remarkable momentum. Notably, breakthroughs in AI, the Metaverse, and Blockchain are reshaping the real estate landscape, offering unprecedented possibilities for transformation. For instance, Blockchain is ushering in a new era where fractional ownership of land becomes globally accessible at affordable rates. Meanwhile, the Metaverse introduces an exciting dimension, enabling prospective property buyers to experience their future space before it’s even handed over. The power of AI further contributes to this narrative, facilitating businesses in precisely reaching the right audience and anticipating concerns of existing clients before they surface. This convergence of AI, the Metaverse, and Blockchain is reshaping real estate into an innovative frontier ripe for positive disruption.
- The company’s experiences in navigating the technological advancements in the real estate industry? How have these changes influenced market dynamics, customer expectations, and investment opportunities?
Urbanrise has boldly embraced the Metaverse, positioning itself among India’s pioneering real estate companies by offering an unparalleled walkthrough experience to our customers. We have seamlessly integrated Oculus-based metaverse walkthroughs into our customer journey for all new projects. Concurrently, we have assembled a top-tier in-house AI team, ensuring that we remain at the forefront of AI advancements. This transformative journey, though not devoid of challenges, has been instrumental in redefining our approach. While navigating uncharted territory, our primary hurdle was deciphering how to harness these technologies for maximum customer and business value. Achieving this balance required meticulous planning and adaptability. Our commitment to evolving technology underscores our dedication to enhancing customer experiences and sustaining business growth.
- Blockchain adoption, sustainable building practices, and IoT integration in construction have been identified as future tech trends in real estate. How are these tech adaptations expected to have a most significant impact, and how is Urbanrise preparing to leverage them?Amid the current fluctuations in the cryptocurrency market, the underlying potential of its technology remains substantial. Despite market cycles, startups are dedicated to creating innovative products, which are expected to yield favorable outcomes in the near future. India’s endorsement of blockchain technology signals forthcoming disruptions, particularly in land registration and fractionalized land sales. The establishment of an innovation team, comprised of top talents from India’s leading institutes, underscores our dedication to pioneering projects at the forefront of AI and the Metaverse.
- With the rapid pace of technological advancements in the real estate sector, what are some of the major challenges that developers, investors, and buyers might face? Additionally, what opportunities do you see arising from these challenges?The rapid pace of technological progress is gaining momentum daily. Staying up-to-date with these advancements poses a formidable challenge for all companies. Within this sector, failure to leverage these technologies to deliver top-notch customer experiences risks falling behind. The current juncture demands a paradigm shift in how we view innovation – an opportunity to enhance customer contentment. While AI offers considerable advantages, it is essential to acknowledge the potential for job automation. Nevertheless, with effective management, this scenario can be transformed into an opportunity for upskilling the workforce, enabling them to contribute significantly greater value to the organization.
- How do you strike a balance between adopting new technologies and ensuring that traditional values and practices in the real estate industry are not compromised?For the majority of prospective homebuyers, the choice to invest in real estate carries significant emotional and financial weight. While technology undoubtedly streamlines operations, preserving the human connection remains paramount. Urbanrise is committed to embracing cutting-edge technologies while upholding customer-centric values. Our unwavering focus is on placing customers at the core, utilizing technology as a tool to enhance their experience. The fusion of innovation and the human touch defines our approach—ensuring that amidst technological advancements, our customers receive nothing less than the finest care and attention they deserve.
- In terms of customer expectations, how has technology-driven innovation influenced what buyers are looking for in a property? Are there any emerging trends that developers should be mindful of to meet these evolving expectations?The real estate landscape has been reshaped by technology-driven innovation, significantly elevating customer expectations. Today’s buyers, armed with tech-savviness, hold high demands for technology integration in properties. The trend of virtually exploring properties before making physical visits is gaining momentum, in response to evolving preferences. Particularly, sustainability has emerged as a paramount consideration for property purchases. Buyers now prioritize eco-friendly features that minimize environmental impact and lower utility expenses, reflecting a growing consciousness towards sustainability. This synergy between technology and sustainability signifies a pivotal shift in customer priorities within the real estate realm.
- Are there any specific regions or markets where you see technology having a particularly transformative impact on the real estate sector? What makes those regions stand out in terms of technological adoption?On a global scale, technology is impacting the real-estate industry in both developing and developed markets alike. In well-developed markets, technology is democratizing land access making it accessible to anyone across the world. Conversely, developers in countries like India are leveraging the robust internet infrastructure to quickly pick up on the metaverse trends and showcase their projects to a worldwide audience. In India, we have seen an early adoption of tech from the governments and developers in southern states, but the northern parts have since caught up and there is now a healthy adoption of technology by the developers across the country.
- As we look into the future, what excites you the most about the potential of technology to further enhance the real estate industry? Are there any cutting-edge innovations on the horizon that you believe will redefine how real estate businesses operate?Many of today’s groundbreaking innovations, such as the Metaverse and AI, are still in their early stages, holding immense untapped potential. Generative AI, with its ability to automate top-tier creativity for marketing, stands as a promising avenue. As 5G advances and VR headsets become more accessible, the Metaverse could extend its reach to Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets, creating new opportunities. Beyond generative AI, the concept of autonomous AI agents supporting management in astute decision-making adds another layer of potential for enhancing business efficiency and efficacy.
- With the rise of the metaverse, how do you envision it transforming the real estate sector? What role do you see virtual properties playing in this evolving landscape?
The initial application of the metaverse streamlines remote flat viewings, enhancing customer convenience. However, a vast untapped potential lies within metaverse properties. Currently, a novel prospect is emerging wherein these spaces foster social connections. With maturation, virtual metaverse communities are poised to flourish, cultivating social interactions and shared experiences. As users convene, they will engage, connect, and socialize within these virtual realms, revealing a promising dimension of the metaverse’s evolution.
- As technology blurs the lines between the physical and digital realms, what opportunities do you believe the metaverse presents for real estate developers and investors? How can they leverage this new paradigm?The concept of the metaverse opens up new avenues, enabling the creation and sale of virtual properties. It also provides the opportunity to diversify investment portfolios by establishing virtual storefronts, event spaces, and offices, which is appealing to businesses seeking immersive experiences. Furthermore, there is potential for exploring virtual tourism, creative zones, and advertising prospects.
- The metaverse has the potential to create entirely new markets for virtual real estate. In what ways can the metaverse enhance the buying and selling experience for property seekers? How might virtual property tours and immersive experiences influence customer decision-making?Emerging markets are wholeheartedly embracing the metaverse to enhance customer experiences. Innovative startups now offer virtual property tours and immersive encounters, enabling buyers to explore properties from a distance. Furthermore, certain companies are developing virtual visualizations for home customization. This increased access to virtual properties, combined with real-time agent interactions, empowers buyers to make well-informed decisions and broadens the seller’s global reach. These advancements are revolutionizing the real estate journey, streamlining decision-making, enhancing engagement, and ensuring a more efficient and knowledgeable experience for both buyers and sellers alike.
- How do you believe the real estate sector will evolve in the coming decade, and what role do you see technology playing in shaping its future prospects?In the upcoming decade, the real estate sector is poised for a remarkable transformation, driven by the pivotal role of technology. Virtual real estate and the metaverse are on the horizon, offering novel investment prospects and immersive buyer journeys. The integration of blockchain and the metaverse, along with financial tools like REITs, will foster a globally interconnected real estate landscape. Complemented by data analytics and AI, these advancements will play a central role in decision-making and the creation of tailored customer experiences.