Can Real Estate Brokerages Gain an Immediate Tech Competitive Advantage?

The waves of the Canadian real estate market are unpredictable and ever-changing. To surf and rise above them, brokers and real estate agents need to stay on top of the most current innovations in the market and embrace the most forward-thinking technologies.

According to PwC Canada’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2018, “competitive forces are causing owners, developers, and investors to rebalance their portfolios with the right deals, rethink how they grow in a high-price environment, and reinvent how they do business amid technological disruption and increasing regulation.”

Staying on top of these trends will be your key to prosperity over the long term. Virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and big data are just some of the technological advancements that are driving Canadian real estate trends.

How your brokerage leverages these tools could be your immediate competitive advantage. Here are just some of the innovations that you need to keep top of mind:

Reinventing Urban Design and Function:

The Rise of Placemaking and Virtual and Augmented Reality

Placemaking is an evolution of properties that combine residential, commercial, retail and social service spaces. It is more than just mixed-use spaces and looks towards the connectivity between people and their environment.

“Placemaking brings together diverse people (including professionals, elected officials, residents and businesses) to improve a community’s cultural, economic, social and ecological situation.” It helps celebrate the integration of historical spaces into modern life.

Virtual and augmented reality platforms are emerging technological advancements that will play a crucial role in the continued evolution of placemaking in Canada, and will work to help design and sell future properties by strengthening the connection between people and the spaces they move through.

For instance, researchers are currently using virtual reality to study how different environmental designs affect us on a psychological level. Their findings are being used to design buildings and public spaces that produce positive psychological effects for those who inhabit them. This research will lead to not only better designed spaces, but also better long-term physical and mental health.

Augmented reality is also creating dynamic public spaces that celebrate cultural and historical monuments. For example, the organization Montreal en Histoires harnessed the power of AR and VR with their free mobile app that allows visitors and residents to experience various historical monuments in Canadian and Quebecois history.

With AR tech that takes users back in time through 3D maps, this app is a revolutionary way to experience a city’s history.

Rethinking the Canadian City:

Creating the 18-Hour City with Artificial Intelligence

Living in a 24-hour city like Toronto has become increasingly more unaffordable, especially for millenials looking to start families. As a result, the emergence of the 18-hour city is becoming more of a reality in Canada.

The 18-hour city has “limited resources between the hours of midnight and six in the morning (airports stop, no ground transportation, and few restaurants as examples).” and artificial intelligence will work to drive the development of extended public and private services and city infrastructures.

Since the 18-hour city has developing infrastructures, these up-and-coming cities have a unique advantage when it comes to embracing the integration of artificial intelligence into daily life. Take a further glimpse into how cities may be influenced by artificial intelligence:

As self-driving cars and new AI innovations in public transit emerge, smaller cities will be able to afford transit infrastructures that support the lifestyle of the 18-hour city. From pizza delivery to restaurants, clubs and other social spaces, AI technology will play an important role in extending the hours of service.

This will take low-population cities from an 8-hour city to an 18-hour city, as AI will run things outside of “human” business hours.

Rebalancing Real Estate Portfolios:

Increased Profitability with Predictive Analytics and Big Data

A flexible portfolio that allows for quick movement will become imperative for successful brokers and investors in 2019.

Being able to evaluate complex deals, leverage strategic partners and quickly digest the massive amount of information provided by big data will “play an essential role in helping companies improve deals and investments, mitigate risk, better understand tenants and their needs and open up new profitable possibilities.”