Real Estate

Real estate developers embrace technology to woo millennials

Venkatesh Ganesh Bengaluru | Updated on January 27, 2018 Published on January 24, 2018

Now, drones provide updates of housing projects

For Shruti Subrmaniam, booking a luxurious 2,000 square feet apartment was a cherished dream, which began with a nightmare.

Subramaniam, who hails from Bengaluru, invested in this flat a year back at a time when the project was under construction more than 6 years back. Later she had to move to the NCR region where she got a job. “I used to ask some of my dear friends and relatives to check on the project status every week and it was getting difficult,” she said.

Now things are beginning to change. Subramaniam gets a weekly update of photos taken by drones, which are then sent to her via email and WhatsApp. “The images, along with progress reports, are positive as I get even images of the surrounding area,” she said.

Innovation steps in

As millennials hop on to the home-buying bandwagon, realtors are figuring out newer ways to engage with them. “The effort is to move away from talking about the best marble flooring to a positive experience of buying an apartment,” Nirupa Shankar, Director, Brigade Real Estate Accelerator Program (REAP), told BusinessLine. Shankar is the daughter of MR Jaishankar, the founder of Brigade Group.

The experience, which Shankar talks about resonates at multiple levels – from using drones to environment-friendliness approach. However, to achieve all this, companies such as Brigade are reaching out to start-ups to help them in this journey.

Apart from Brigade, others are taking some steps, albeit slowly. For example, Brigade has incubated Naturaflex, a start-up, which is into growing rooftop gardens or vertical gardens. “Needless to say it helps in circulating clean air and is a strong selling point in upcoming apartments,” said Abishek Thomas of Naturaflex.

Similarly, ECOSTP, another start-up, which is into recycling waste naturally (without using power sources), is working with Brigade to set up sewage water treatment plants within the apartment complex. The buyer nowadays is much more conscious and builders are becoming more aware, according to Simar Kohli and Praseed KK of ECOSTP.

“We have to understand tech in order to stay ahead of competition and use it innovatively,” points out Shankar.

As realtors such as Brigade make efforts to be competitive, they have one eye on controlling costs and also get projects executed on time. “Delays impact us significantly,” said Shankar.

Add to that, labour productivity in the construction sector has not kept up pace with productivity. With IT spends less than 1 per cent of their revenue, real estate companies are laggards when compared to other industries.

“By using technology we can also hold contractors accountable and ensure that projects costs are controlled,” said Shankar. The real estate industry in India has been grappling with slowdown after demonetisation and GST as buyers have postponed their buying decisions.

Published on January 24, 2018
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