A multitude of tech advancements and innovations have made inroads into the Indian Infrastructure and real estate sectors, which are likely to reshape the future of the industry. It would be interesting to check here what 2019 has in store for the infrastructure market of India. Views shared by key players:

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

Aditya Kedia
Aditya Kedia, MD, Transcon Developers

One of the most potent and radical ground-breaking technologies set to transform property markets in current times is artificial intelligence (AI), which along with machine learning are reforming technology all around the globe. Both are essential in determining most of the approaching novelties in every possible field. AI, in layman terms, makes machines execute compound tasks, related to human minds, in a smart method. Machine learning makes computers (machine) scrutinize and solve problems by teaching it basic logic and making the machine intellectual enough to learn on its own, as it advances to solve diverse variations of the problem.

When it comes to assimilating AI, the Indian property industry is not far behind. From the way property seekers scout for property to offering probable buyers with applicable information to investigating property values – all the phases of property procurement are now powered by AI and machine learning.

In recent times, the Indian realty players have countersigned the revolutionary effects of the cloud, VR (virtual reality), the Internet of Things, Machine Learning and AI. Currently, there have been indications that more realtors and real estate companies in India are positively resorting to their customers’ need for transformation, particularly within the domains of AI. In the Indian property sector, AI has the vast scope and ability to lessen operative expenses, augment and advance customer service, recover competence and condense resource depletion within the industry.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning in real estate investing lets private investors, builders and property managers to regulate costs, get a rise in returns, and cope with the risk of using mechanical systems

Ways in which AI is modifying the real estate:

Chatbots: One of the most understandable ways artificial intelligence is renovating the over-all real estate industry is through chatbots. A multitude of Indian realty companies from brokerages to real estate crowdfunding podiums have started integrating chatbots into their websites. These digital marvels let companies save on costs pertaining to customer service and also facilitate in optimizing time intervals spent on responding to questions by allowing a computer-generated assistant to reply to common queries that don’t modify from customer to customer.

Investor Analytics: Property investors can set revenue and growth goals and have them checked by an intellectual robot, who can evaluate risks based on investor parameters and make all the necessary modifications to benefit the investor to meet their monetary goals more competently.

Forecasting Loan Defaults: Platforms pertaining to real estate crowdfunding can make use of artificial intelligence to forecast loan defaults, which upsurges investor profits. By envisaging defaults, the process of risk valuation is well-organized, and podiums can pay emphasis on profitable investments while reducing non-profitable ones.

Indian Real Estate

Deal Matching: Buyers can set their criteria of investment and be informed when a deal matches their benchmarks. For example, investors keen on investing only in a first lien position on commercial properties earning at least ten percent returns, can set those standards on their investor dashboard and acquire a list of properties that match those principles, which will also be exclusive of properties that do not fall within their preferred investment constraints.

Construction Automation: Tools are being developed that aid builders in obtaining quality materials at the best price from the finest suppliers in the market. By allowing the robots to handle the acquisition of materials, construction companies can cut down on expenditures and upturn profits by utilizing artificial intelligence as the chief technological driver.

Property Management:Artificial Intelligence can be applied in property management to observe and envisage when the systems of critical maintenance are ready for replacement. The technology is also valuable to keep a tab on rental trends in particular geographical zones and increase tenant rents automatically when leases terminate. Other details of property management such as building automation and growth analysis can be achieved by property management companies to regulate probable returns on the basis of critical inputs that influence rents, expenditures and proceeds in rental housing.

Intelligent Search Platforms: Major search engines have started making use of AI to support users get much more information even from a very basic property search. Conventionally, investors, brokers, property buyers and sellers were often limited to a minority of search criteria such as the value and property location. Now, with the help of AI, searches have become more refined with numerous information layers being made accessible for detailed properties. Users are now able to obtain details specific to ROI, good neighbourhoods, and other apparently tiny property details, prior to buying.

Drones: The Next Big Disruptive Innovation in the Indian Construction Industry

AV Antao

AV Antao, COO, Synergy Property Development Services

The Indian construction industry is undergoing a seismic transformation, with technology playing a pivotal role. One new-gen technology is the drone, which is poised to serve as an effective medium towards building smart cities in a cost-effective, faster and safer manner. It is expected that in the next 10 years, the use of drones in construction will register a manifold growth and will play a leading role in futuristic buildings.

According to an industry report, India is one of the fastest growing markets for UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and by 2021, the Indian UAV market is expected to reach USD 885.7 million. Usage of drones in the construction industry has seen a 239% growth year-over-year globally, higher than any other commercial sector. The most notable sector of economy being benefitted by drones is construction. Drones can add significant value to a project throughout its lifecycle.

Drones will play a fundamental role in ensuring that the construction industry can deliver huge and complex projects with a better finishing and on-time results

Benefits to the construction process

Improvised quality and thermal imaging: Drones equipped with high-resolution thermal cameras serve as an excellent investigative tool for a host of building-specific applications and energy efficiency audits, including roof insulation inspection. They can also graphically depict energy inefficiencies and identify wet insulations in the roof or elsewhere by displaying temperature variations within the building.

Drones integration with BIM: Drones have proved themselves to be an asset for data-driven approach and thus can effectively undertake numerous tasks to aid the BIM (Building Information Modeling) workflow. Giving an aerial perspective in the creation of the initial BIM, drones also provide scalable point cloud scanning and photography at different stages of construction.

Highly cost-effective in topographical surveys: A drone carrying out standard survey and inspection is a very cost-effective approach as it removes the need for any kind of monetary or physical efforts for the surveys. For a typical topographic survey, a drone can help reduce costs by about 50%.

Ensuring completion of projects: Drones eradicate the need of shutting down active work sites for maintenance and inspection work like pipelines or flare stacks, which can be carried out safely under UAV supervision. Drones can monitor site activity and provide a comprehensive overview of the site through land surveying, and are, therefore, highly efficient in reducing the construction timeframe, leading to speedy delivery of projects.

Reducing risk and keeping people safe: UAV technology helps in supporting the drive towards zero incidents onsite as it takes away some of the risks from construction activities like the need for labourers to work at heights when inspecting bridges, for example. Drones are effective in conducting safer, faster and more accurate inspections instead of safety managers, who physically conduct the site walk-throughs to identify potential hazards.

Compact and intelligent results: Acute 3D software can dramatically enhance productivity by turning a simple series of digital photos taken with a smart camera. When these cameras are mounted on drones they give a 360-degree overview of the project into a 3D reality mesh model. The result is a compact, intelligent representation of the asset in its current operating context. This also eases out the task for engineers and designers allowing them to work on an up-to-date 3D model for their enhancement and maintenance plans.

Technology Disrupting the Construction Sector

Anuj Puri
Anuj Puri, Chairman, ANAROCK Property Consultants

Technology has disrupted almost every facet of the real estate business today. By adopting innovative technologies like automation in construction, innovative designs, sustainability, use of prefabricated material and online marketing, developers can value-engineer their product. A look at some of the existing and upcoming technology disruptions:

3D Printing: 3D Printing (large-scale printing of homes) is anticipated to change the way real estate is built over the next decade. Though still very nascent, 3D Printing can potentially replace a substantial amount of construction across major segments, including residential, commercial or even retail. Apart from reducing waste, cost and labour, 3D printing will help builders penetrate the hitherto inaccessible areas of dense urban centres, where it is impossible to set up heavy machinery for construction. 3D printing technology will eventually also involve the printing of internal structures such as walls, plumbing, electrical systems, venting and so on. While 3D printing in the construction sector is yet to kickstart in India, an entire two-story house was 3D printed from concrete in Beijing in just 45 days - from start to finish. On the downside, 3D printing machines usable in the construction sector can cost as much as $2,000,000. Also, their current capacities are limited to structures of less than 33 feet (10 meters) in height, with a throughput of less than 550 pounds (250 kg) per hour. For large-size buildings, multi-storey offices or large malls, machines of considerably higher capacities would be needed.

A lot of 'human inputs' related to the conception and creation of the required real estate can either being replaced or improved upon by technology

Building Information Modelling: BIM software allows designers to produce 3D mock-ups of planned structures along with critical information about costs and construction timelines. Many small and medium organizations are shying away from adoption of BIM technology as it involves high implementation fees and training costs, including the cost of hiring experts, training the existing workforce - apart from the investment in the technology itself. However, BIM technology has certainly found a foothold in India. Some of the companies using BIM software include the Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) that adopted 5D BIM technology for practical completion of the project and created an Issue-Based Information System (IBIS) for each phase of the project. In Amritsar, a rapid transit system was constructed using Virtual Design and Construction technology. Spread over 4 km, it is one of the finest examples of the application of BIM technology in India.

3D printing
Virtual / Augmented Reality Technology: Construction companies worldwide and also in India have begun using Virtual/Augmented Reality technology to enhance construction worker safety training. VR allows workers and work managers to visualize the more serious construction site hazards and prepare for them adequately. Firms also use apps that link VR/AR tech to their BIM software. This allows contractors and developers to create virtual walkthroughs of a structure even before it is complete, enabling them to make more informed design decisions early in the construction stages and save on both time and costs.

Drones: Although expensive, the use of drones is gaining popularity for managing and inspecting sites. Drones allow developers to map a site and create 2D as well as 3D images. Most of the advanced drones use a coordinate-based system which helps achieve absolute accuracy in measurements.

Brick-laying robots: Labour costs can be significantly reduced, and quality and precision standards increased by using robotics for the repetitive, mechanical functions such as bricklaying. We have already seen the introduction of a semi-automated mason aptly called 'SAM'. This robot, which lays bricks rapidly and precisely, has been designed and engineered by Construction Robotics. It is the first commercially available bricklaying robot which works in collaboration with human masons and increases their productivity up to five-fold. For all its innovativeness, it is definitely only the first iteration of many even more efficient machines to come.
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