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Why Commercial Real-Estate is the next industry to be disrupted by Visual Artificial Intelligence

By Prabhu Ramachandran|13th Dec 2019
From Human Vision to Computer Vision- how far off, are we?
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Humans rely on their senses to understand their world and interact with it. While all five sensory abilities function in unison, sight is the one that we rely on the most. Our preference for being visual-heavy in how we relate to the world around us is reflected in our language as well. After all, it’s not a coincidence that we instinctively refer to a deeper understanding of something as ‘looking at the big picture’. Visual Artificial Intelligence mirrors our ability to make quick and detailed assessments based on sight. It’s now becoming possible to create powerful and intuitive interactions between humans and machines, through means that align with how we instinctively operate.


In a hyper-connected world, where the digital elements within networks are now also gaining powerful cognitive capabilities, the commercial real estate industry is approaching another iteration of a technology driven revolution. Deloitte’s “Data is the new gold: The future of real estate service providers” study, issued in 2018, notes that actionable knowledge derived from the Big Data generated by buildings will be the most powerful future enabler in the commercial real estate sector. As another layer of empowering technology, Visual AI will escalate these advantages exponentially.


Visual AI will unlock gamechanging value in the industry, using powerful Machine Learning models and algorithms that have been pre-trained using millions of use cases. Automated assignment of categories and classifications to elements captured as visual data – objects, individuals, text and more – will empower digital systems and their human users in unprecedented ways. For instance, Visual AI driven facial recognition, can automate the surveillance aspect of building security. Depending on humans to keep looking at screens in real-time, is an inefficient way to identify security problems, and exhausting for security personnel.


The impact of Visual AI in commercial real-estate

Emerging Visual Property Intelligence tools and Automated Valuation Models will help the commercial real estate industry be more responsive and efficient on the basis of accurate, rich and instant insights. Being trained by user preferences, and use cases in the millions, allows Visual AI to unlock value that can be leveraged for multiple purposes. For instance, Visual AI driven access control for entry to premises, or specific areas within them, not only enables heightened security, it can also be used to streamline scheduling of meeting rooms and other shared resources.


Every real estate image and property photo contains a wealth of information that isn’t always obvious to the casual observer. In fact, even the most discerning human expert can gain in significant ways from being able to rely in cognitive technology that automatically extract rich real estate insights from images. Furthermore, Visual AI allows commercial real estate businesses to apply the capacity to gain insights and the data it unlocks, at an unprecedented scale. From property value assessments, to tenant preferences and specific elements that are making positive outcomes most likely, Visual AI can empower workflows and decision making like no other technology before it.


How CREs can leverage Visual AI

Some of the primary concerns of commercial real estate owners center on being able to maximize revenue through high occupancy rates, as well as ensuring that their assets are operating optimally. Being able to identify specific trends in tenant searches is a crucial component in proactively ensuring that buildings correspond to them. Visual AI gives CREs the capacity to include services, facilities, physical elements and aesthetics that buyers and tenants are responding to, increasing the chances that their assets generate productive value. Visual AI also adds considerable capability to assessing operations on the go. Visual AI based real-time insights are one of the most effective ways to assess operational requirements and process efficiency. Possible applications are numerous, from adjusting HVAC loads based on automated headcounts, to adjusting cleaning schedules, for shared resources such as conference rooms and rest rooms, based on footfall.


While IoT and a network of sensors is invaluable in giving real estate businesses constant and real-time insights into their operations, being able to analyze visuals at the same speed adds huge advantages. From security to maintenance and several other key functions, visual intelligence empowers the ability of CREs to monitor their assets. Much like vision transforms a human beings ability to gauge their environment and react to it, Visual AI unlocks tremendous capacities for assessment and analysis. The possible applications of Visual AI are endless and emerging innovations driven by it are vindicating that view.

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