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Shaping the future of shopping for properties

Nurdianah Md Nur | Sept. 20, 2016
Instead of shying away from emerging technologies, iProperty is embracing AI-powered chatbots and virtual reality to provide a better customer experience.

Explaining the rationale for launching such an offering, Singh said: "Despite being in a digital age, consumers' habits when it comes to big ticket investments such as property remain largely unchanged - buyers still prefer to see how the property unit they want to purchase looks before making the decision. This is an issue for international developers and property buyers when it comes to cross-border property investments."

"Prior to our internally developed iProperty Goggles, bringing entire showrooms to international buyers was almost impossible. Buyers would be restricted to seeing the product either in a brochure format or a scale model at a property sales office or expo. Since this obviously does not give them an accurate representation of the property they wish to purchase, this is where the Goggles come in. Property developers could now create a 360 degree view of their properties that can provide potential buyers with a real life view of the property regardless of location."

"Best of all, property developers could also render a 3D image from an architecture plan which could be used with the Goggles. This meant that a VR experience could be created very quickly once the project was conceived, which is much faster and cheaper than building an actual model home. We've had a lot of interest from customers for this product, and it also generates a lot of buzz from the public when we put it on display at our property expos."         

 "Our aim was to create a win-win situation for property buyers and developers. Buyers get a better understanding of the development project, while developers have a higher chance of closing deals with buyers, regardless of their location," he remarked.

The development and roll out of Rebecca and iProperty Goggles did not come without challenges. "The challenge with any new idea is getting a proper scope defined, which allows you to hit the market quickly to test it out. This means the features and functionalities need to be right-sized to allow quick development and prototyping to test out the concept without compromising the product/ideas value. This is called the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and once it has been validated then we can add the 'Bell and whistles' to further enhance the product," Singh said.

Following the success of the above-mentioned projects, Singh shared that he is looking to better use big data and mobility tools to improve the company's current offerings in the next 12 months. He is also planning to experiment with emerging trends in the Internet of Things space, as well as deploy serverless technologies to enable his software developers to code and deploy faster and more efficiently.

Getting buy-in for innovation
Even though it is vital, using technology to transform and innovate is still not a top agenda for most organisations. Singh advised CIOs who intend to push for innovation in their company to "focus on the value innovation brings to business, rather than the technology itself."


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