With the future of digital real estate remaining at the heart of panel discussions, day two of Invest-Gate’s #DigitalWeek ended on a high note, with experts from all around the world casting light on how Artificial intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) can be “powerful tools” to invest in property.

Speakers at the second panel session, which was held from 1-3 pm (Cairo time), and called “VR and AI in Real Estate,” embarked on a quest to explore to what extent both digital approaches can better serve the Egyptian property sector. They also enlightened participants on how AI can be an infrastructure tool for smart cities and home automation, paired with its integration in companies’ data and analysis.

Moderated by BCIstudio Director Haitham ElMoheen, the online meeting saw the participation of Kerten Hospitality CEO Marloes Knippenberg and Course Director of “Artificial Intelligence: Cloud and Edge Implementations” at University of Oxford Ajit Jaokar as presenters, together with IGI Real Estate Chief Sales Officer Ali Abdel Ghaffar, Etisalat Misr Intelligent Automation and RPA Manager Ahmed Salah, and 5DVR Creative and Managing Director Maged Farrag as panelists.

For starters, Knippenberg exhibited the merits of AI applications across the different property sectors, including the hospitality industry. She underlined, “AI may be nascent, but the grounds have been preparing for its integral use within the market long before the COVID-19 outbreak.”

“Just like AI-enabled consumer apps, machine-learning interfaces and chatbots are already benefiting many businesses by the collection of customer data, while bolstering lead generation and content marketing. Interestingly, real estate is no stranger to the benefits that are being yielded due to these technological advancements,” the CEO further stated.

“Today, property executives are looking beyond datasheet toward predictive analysis, smart technologies, and the Internet of things (IoT) applications, in general,” Knippenberg pointed out, stressing that existing infrastructure should adapt to new technology, especially with the rise of millennials born in the digital era.

Given the present market conditions, the individual deployment of lead generation, demographics marketing, and unique selling propositions became inefficient, as collaborationism and IoT are key to digital transformation, Abdel Ghaffar argued.

“To sell real estate online, companies should work on building strong websites/platforms and create virtual tours that are as vigorous and influential as mockup showrooms. Consequently, sales can be seamlessly carried out, just pending the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) approval on the online transaction,” he was quoted as saying.

Specifically, VR is utilized in the pre-development phase of any real estate project, including designs and customer journeys, namely for the visualization of products. Meanwhile, AI allows developers to understand how they need to invest in their buildings and what returns they can expect, experts agree.

Better yet, AI-powered software, according to Jaokar, can be a solution for improving the ability of a real estate business to provide accurate, comprehensive information about a property to clients.

“In the context of current times, AI can refine the processes of the property sector, where there is quality data available, especially regarding sales, human resource planning, and financial management. It can predict decision-making, sales growth, optimal staffing, and business engagement, in addition to related cash forecasting in this crisis period,” the UK-based professional elaborated.

According to IGI Real Estate’s Abdel Ghaffar, the Egyptian property sector has lots of data, but there is a real shortage of “quality data,” along with a lack of awareness about the capability of AI, which is one of the prerequisites for AI adoption. Even further, the local government became a competitor instead of being a regulator, acquiring a myriad of land plots across the country for public developments, thereby hindering the innovation and expansion of other sector-related partners.

On the other hand, Etisalat Misr’s Salah stressed that it is highly possible to apply VR and AI technologies in Egypt’s newly-introduced smart cities to meet the needs of younger generations. Yet, proper research on ways to identify utilization patterns of these technological solutions in building smart cities is necessary to keep pace with customers’ changing needs.

“Accordingly, Etisalat Misr took the initiative to support Egypt’s smart city vision by introducing the City Operation Center (COC) in the New Administrative Capital (NAC), which will implement data management systems and efficiently support administrative function and smart city services for citizens,” Salah underscored, noting that one of the impediments to VR and AI applications is “the availability of comprehensive predictive analytics.”

Along the same lines, Farrag reckoned that most of the real estate companies are training on AI tools and optimizing their functions and, in doing so, preparing for the future.

“Red Sea’s El Gouna is the perfect model for international marketing being a cosmopolitan city for foreigners, and other property developers are currently verging to follow suit. Interestingly, in the post-Coronavirus world, there is a notable growing interest in AI from real estate companies, and thus, technology innovation is required at this point,” Farrag highlighted.

Invest-Gate’s #DigitalWeek is being sponsored by Tatweer Misr as the official sponsor as well as Mountain View and KVRD as the #DigitalWeek sponsors, in addition to Nilepreneurs as the strategic partner and Nile University as the learning partner. Better yet, media partners include Cairo 360, Cairo Gossip, and Cairo Talks (Kalam El Qahira).


There are still two days left for a wrap-up, don’t forget to take part in tomorrow’s online panel discussion on the impact of blockchain technology on the real estate sector … Click here to register!