The 21st edition of EXPO REAL took place in Munich from 08 to 10 October. The international trade fair for real estate and investment broke its own records this year, with 44,536 participants and 2,095 exhibitors, proving once again that it is indeed Europe's most important meeting place for real estate and investment professionals.
Marking a decade since the Global financial crisis, the real estate industry is booming and still plays an important role across all markets. Economic policy trends, especially at the EU level, current investment opportunities across various regions, in addition to forward-looking topics such as ‘intelligent urbanization’ and ‘digital transformation’, were therefore met with great fervor.
Smart and Digital
The real estate industry is on the verge of a complete digital transformation. So, it wasn’t too surprising to note that the ‘Real Estate Innovation Forum’, that showcases the most recent advancements in digitization and innovation in the real estate industry, once again proved to be a real magnet for visitors.
The ‘Tech Alley’ featured more than 60 young, emerging technology companies presenting their innovative products and services for various functions within the real estate industry, each of them categorized into well-defined spaces such as ‘Invest’, ‘Market’, ‘Plan & Build’, ‘Smart City & Work’, ‘Manage & Operate’.
For the first time, LEVERTON were also invited to the Tech Alley to showcase our market-leading data extraction and management platform across three days, represented by our Sales team including Bastian Schulz (Head of Sales), Franziska Kuntz (Partnership Manager), Bastian Külzer (Sales Executive), Sascha Bouveret (Sales Executive), Marjan Vicentic (Sales Manager), Una Zsuraleva (Sales Manager) and Annika Brien (Marketing Manager).
(The LEVERTON team from left to right: Bastian Külzer, Marjan Vicentic, Franziska Kuntz, Bastian Schulz, Sascha Bouveret and Una Zsuraleva)
LEVERTON sought-after interlocutor
Our Sales team met over 100 delegates from real estate companies and law firms, all of whom posed a common thread of questions that focused on how our AI works, how it can be deployed to specific applications, what kinds of data can be used and what concrete benefits can be derived from our platform, especially in terms of improved data quality and time savings. Several delegates were also keenly interested in knowing whether LEVERTON was already working on new use cases beyond the real estate sector.
We witnessed a pattern emerging from these questions, that was later highlighted in a panel discussion that the German real estate market was still lagging behind other countries in their understanding of how technologies and algorithms can benefit businesses. We also particularly noticed that the subject of artificial intelligence was still a “black box” that intimidates and provokes fear in many potential prospects.
Our team got down to business, educating the delegates on alleviating some of the more common fears around AI and how these technologies can be seen as an enabler.
Getting down to business
As part of the conference programme for the ‘Real Estate Innovation Forum’, specially conceived for the purpose of educating delegates on new ideas for the real estate industry, key note speeches and panel discussions featuring renowned international experts were used as an opportunity to discuss how technologies will transform the market and business models in a radical way, in addition to discussing the opportunities and challenges that may arise as a result.
In his keynote speech, Chris Boos, CEO of Arago (an AI-based Business Process Automation solutions provider) and member of the Digital Council of the German Federal Government, highlighted the importance of artificial intelligence in real estate and promoted a consistent and pragmatic approach for the adoption of AI and machines in situations where they can outperform limited physical human resources.
“We’re already bringing value to the table”
On Day 2 of EXPO REAL, our Head of Sales, Bastian Schulz, took to the stage for a panel discussion, chaired by Christian Ehl, Managing Director of Hillert & Co., along with Matthew Webster of Cloudscraper Inc, Nicolai Wendland of 21st Real Estate and Sascha Donner of Evana to discuss the status quo of the use of artificial intelligence in the German real estate market, but also to answer the more pressing question around whether and what real value it can add to existing business processes.
"We have use cases and we already bring value to the table", commented Bastian, signaling our intent to the audience right at the start of the panel. He went on to add, “the good thing is, with the help of AI, we can solve a lot of different use cases in the real estate market, for example speeding up due diligence processes. Nobody likes to read hundreds of pages of contracts in foreign languages – here we can use AI to extract data from these documents and then optimize buying decisions based upon the extracted information. One important thing to note about AI and machine learning is that with every new contract the AI is presented with, it is continuously learning, constantly improving and getting better results, thereby adding more value to existing processes.”
The panel also unanimously agreed that the benefits and value of AI's use in the real estate market, which is still in its nascent stages, to a large extent depends on the scope and quality of the data available.
The panel also agreed that while innovative technologies may be readily available, unless the situation improves in terms of the way in which data is collected and managed improves, its quality can only improve to a certain extent. This realization should serve as a wake-up call for the German real estate market, that still has a lot of catching up to do, in comparison to the other industries in the country.
However, according to Sascha Donner, the industry needs to think long and hard about whether 100% automation is the only way to go about, or in fact, whether AI and machine learning could end up replacing 100% of human tasks. Thinking about more routine tasks, he says, 50% of time savings is already a great achievement in terms of efficiency gains. “The industry’s awareness and willingness to offer up data to let the machines learn is still at the very beginning and we need to improve that whilst managing expectations,” added Nicolai Wendland.
(Panel Discussion on AI in Real Estate from left to right: Christian Ehl, Nicolai Wendland, Matthew Webster, Sascha Donner and Bastian Schulz)
The question on the great vision for AI for the real estate industry was answered quite differently by each of the panelist on stage. Nicolai Wendland saw AI as an enabler for online trading of real estate with regards to stocks and shares. For Matthew Webster, rather than the big picture of AI, its potential for constant optimization with regards to the simplification and acceleration of routine processes were more of particular interest.
For us at LEVERTON, it is important to enable the asset manager to manage an international portfolio from a centralized location, meaning access to insightful data from thousands of contracts in over 30 different languages. We also focus on creating seamless integrations of our AI platform into the customers’ software infrastructure. But not the very least, we are also dealing with the combination of AI and robotics to transfer documents, with extracted data, from one party to another efficiently,” emphasized Bastian pragmatically.
The panelists also agreed that without specific identification of use cases, the potential for AI cannot be fully harnessed. This means that businesses need to be developing clear concepts and strategies by answering questions such as what goals are we trying to reach and where do we want to get to with AI.
Lastly, on the topic of economic policy trends, the panelists all opined that companies in Germany and Europe need to drive the AI issue forward and become active themselves, instead of waiting for an AI agenda from the Government, if they do not want to fall behind global competition. They also went on to agree that there needs to be a common responsibility to develop the market consistently and sustainably.
Cooperation between start-ups and established corporates, for instance, is an important step in the right direction – as is the willingness to invest appropriately in emerging technologies. Without appropriate budgets however, the panel agreed, no competitive advantages and success stories could be achieved.
Lastly, the panel suggested some practical advice for the audience looking to wrap their heads around the AI issue, specifically around use case identification, implementation, getting company-wide buy-in and showcasing value add and returns on investment.
Take a look at some of the most interesting quotes from the panelists below:
“Define your pain points, get a budget and start projects –there is no other way to do it.” - Nicolai Wendland
“Don’t be afraid.” - Matthew Webster
“Stop watching, stop reading – start trying.” - Sascha Donner
“The use cases are all on the table – talk to us to find out what we can do for you.” - Bastian Schulz
Tech Pitch on AI
LEVERTON’s participation at this year’s EXPO REAL was rounded off with a pitch at the ‘TECH TALK Zone’ on day three. Our Sales Executive, Sascha Bouveret presented LEVERTON‘s market-leading AI platform in a 15 minute ‘elevator pitch’ to a packed audience, giving an overview of how LEVERTON extracts and structures lease data automatically, and then integrates data with existing accounting and/or property management systems to provide access to valuable insights.
(Our Sales Executive, Sascha Bouveret in action on Day 3 of EXPO REAL)
To say we had a great time over three packed days at EXPO REAL this year would be an understatement.
We would like to thank each and every one of you who took the time to meet us and understand how our platform can be applied to supplement your existing business processes.
In case you missed us there or require any further information about our service offering, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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