As part of Techstars Startup Week Dublin last week, Proptech Ireland was delighted to host Antony Slumbers at the RDS Members Club for a session exploring the use cases of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in real estate. Antony Slumbers is a renowned international speaker on a range of emerging technologies that are transforming the global real estate industry, including artificial intelligence (AI), which has the potential to transform aspects of urban planning, construction and property (development and management). With more than two decades of experience in software development and as a technology strategist in commercial real estate, Antony is also a member of the Leadership Board of CRETech, mentor at MetaProp RE200 and ranked as having the no.1 non-US commercial real estate blog. He was also listed as No. 7 in Duke Long’s Top 10 Most Influential Online Commercial Real Estate People in 2018.
The topic was met with a roomful of interested attendees that combined the proptech community, real estate sector professionals and enthusiastic startup entrepreneurs. Antony started by pointing out this on one of his first slides.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”
Arthur C Clarke Profiles of the Future (1962)
Antony said, ‘technology doesn’t sleep’ and showed the trinity of transformation over the years with huge increases in data, huge increases in computing power and huge increases in algorithms deep learning. Antony said, “AI reduces the risk of prediction but that the superpower has to be controlled – humans have to help AI”.
Antony’s knowledge led him to share the five key capabilities in AI including, perception, communication, knowledge, reasoning and planning. Antony’s knows businesses can exploit these capabilities by automated processes, creating content and making predictions. Antony then shared the use cases for AI in real estate with insights about computer vision, predictive personalisation, facial recognition, IoT network data analytics, energy, Wi-Fi usage analytics, workplace optimisation and NPS & productivity analysis. Satellite and aerial imagery were another topic discussed covering how satellite imagery integrates with additional data sets and development site by satellite as well as drone integration with BIM.
Antony then showed the differences between human and AI with human being imaginative, inspired, creative, emphatic and boasting social intelligence. The AI (or the machine) is structured, repeatable and predictable with Antony saying how human complements machine through training, explaining and sustaining while machine complements human by amplifying augmenting and embodying.
The consensus was the best formula was human + machine to exhibit new skills. By doing so it frees up human time thus increasing time a human spends being human but never forgetting why you make things smart and determine how smart you want them to get!
Antony told listeners the essential components for a successful AI strategy – see below:
▪ Understand what AI is good for, and what it is not.
▪ Look for use cases – ‘88% of the core tasks’
▪ Are these commonplace and repeatable within your own business and/or applicable to many of your customers?
▪ Do you have, or can you obtain large quantities of data?
▪ Are there clear metrics by which you could judge success?
▪ If you have all the above, is that something that will create significant value.
Antony closed his talk by reminding attendees of Robert Fox’s quote:
‘The only way round is through’
Robert Frost 1915
When Antony Slumbers made his closing remarks to attendees the group applauded and Carol Tallon of Proptech Ireland thanked Antony for his time and for sharing his expertise on a fascinating subject.
Further AI Presentations
Next up were presentations by Dr. Houssem Jerbi, CEO of Smart PMO and then Mihai Penica, Head of Software at Standard Access.
First up was Dr. Houssem Jerbi, CEO of Smart PMO who spoke about inefficiencies and a lack of data-awareness in construction projects, what Smart PMO does for projects and how the technology works. He helps companies and government agencies realise their visions from the development of a data strategy through its implementation using artificial intelligence and data analytics. In the talk he guided attendees through the problem with project management and operations with delays, cost and complexity. Houssem showed that AI can learn from experience and how to automate with confidence as well as sharing more information on how the process works. He told the room why Smart PMO works and how it helps maximise margins and keep projects on track.
Mihai Penica, Head of Software at Standard Access was introduced by Damien Browne, CEO and Founder of Standard Access. The Standard Access platform is designed specifically as a commercial solution with businesses and business needs in mind, created to integrate with existing HR, Financial, Booking, and Client Proprietary systems. Mihai’s talk started by asking what AI was and how it was so much more than software and automation. Mihai showed how real estate could use AI with high speed data connection and the expansion of IoT devices bringing a wide range of conveniences to property managers. Mihai talked about how real estate is being impacted by AI with cost reduction, reporting and user experience being the main benefits of AI in real estate. The talk went on to show how systems get data and how the data is sent to the AI system in the cloud that is learning the user habits, like the time a person leaves home or returns from work. The systems learns user behaviour and it uses a trained model to start adjusting heating. The end result is saving money in heating costs as the AI is predicting human behaviours and learning more as it progresses.
Lucinda Kelly of Popertee gave an impromptu talk about what her company does and the challenges they have faced. Popertee connects brands with spaces for short-term marketing and retail campaigns. What became evident very early on was the requirement from brands and marketing agencies for data to help drive better decisions for planning and measuring physical campaigns. A lack of data compared to other marketing channels to ultimately drive ROI meant an updated business direction for Popertee with a singular focus of bringing data to marketers and retailers and becoming global leaders in this space.
When Lucinda Kelly had finished speaking, Carol Tallon joined the speakers of the day to host a panel discussion on the challenges and opportunities of AI for real estate. It was a panel of significant experience and industry insight with Antony Slumbers, Houssem Jerbi, Mihai Penica, Damien Browne, Lucinda Kelly and Carol Tallon all answering questions from an engaged audience.
Team members from CBRE who attended the talks mentioned the proptech competition they are running – Proptech Challenge. CBRE is seeking emerging businesses and ideas with the potential to transform the real estate industry with creative, innovative and disruptive thinking. Deadline for applications is on 11th November for those who are interested. Full details are here.
When all was wrapped up and everyone was ready to go there were lots of little conversations between attendees and the speakers for the afternoon. A great day was had by all. We were delighted to be involved in the Techstars Startup Week Dublin and we are already looking forward to next year!