It’s said necessity is the mother of all inventions. Indeed, given the myriad challenges that we used to face in the past, there’s no other statement than this old adage that perfectly describes the extent to which the world has worked towards solving the problems bedevilling it. This is according to the number of technological solutions available currently with many more in the pipeline. Technology has changed our lives by influencing major sectors of the society such as transport, health, business, and communication. Today, you can travel to distant places courtesy of aviation and automobile technology or deposit money in the bank without visiting a banking hall. Indeed, the impact of technology is profound and the possibilities of what can be achieved are endless.
However, there are still many problems that bedevil the world and thus constant research to find new ways of doing things, as well as solutions, must never cease. To this end, each day we get to witness new technological innovations that are aimed at making our lives better. The real estate industry is progressively embracing technology so as to improve on efficiency and creating sustainable built environments. This mindset has been necessitated by the consumer's ever-changing needs, tastes and preferences. Some of the key technology areas that Kenyan real estate companies are focusing on include:
Building Technology: The spiralling cost of construction with the traditional building materials has forced many developers as well as individuals who would like to put up units to rethink their approach. In 2014 Winsun, a company based in China pioneered a 3D printed house. Compared with the traditional construction methods, they were able to save up on 80% of the construction costs and 60% on labour. These are just a few of the innovative ideas that real estate companies are exploring globally in order to reduce cost. In Kenya, perhaps the most common building technology in use of prefab building material and modular construction where a building is constructed offsite and then assembled onsite. This comes on the background of affordable housing programme-one of the President’s Kenyatta legacy projects that seeks to address the housing shortage estimated to be about 500,000 per year.
The Internet of Things: The Internet of Things (IoT) is a key component of home automation and smart homes. This involves automating the ability to control items around the house from curtains to electricity with a hand-held device or voice command. Smart home technology has started changing the way home-owners view a property. It is becoming a game-changer for real estate developers in Kenya. Instead of selling a shell for a house, developers are enticing buyers with internet ready homes. You must have encountered features like home intercoms, CCTV, Metered Gas System, Automated Parking System, Automatic Gates, Automated Garden Sprinklers, and so much more.
Real Estate Operations Automation: Real estate operations can get complex more so if the development is large. Thanks to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems technology, real estate companies or even individual landlords can now oversee their properties with many conveniences. It's now possible to automate rent collection, tenant correspondence, cleaning, security, support, front house, technical support, space planning, procurement, and many more ultimately in the process, delivering improved efficiency and productivity.
Real Estate Marketing: Augmented and Virtual Reality technology has taken real estate marketing by a storm. Virtual Reality (VR) enables customers to tour predevelopment or ready house units from anywhere in the world. Real estate developers, hoteliers and other businesses are using the technology to give their prospective clients a feel of the product virtually. Sultan Palace Development Limited was one of the pioneers in use of VR to showcase its development in Kikambala, Kilifi. It really came in handy given the fact that the resort is quite a distance from Nairobi and site visits are not cheap.
The shift towards real estate technology cannot be ignored anymore. As real estate technology in Kenya continues to evolve, there is no doubt that the industry is destined for a transformation. Players along the entire real estate value chain must be prepared to embrace technology not only for their own benefit but for their customers as well. As the industry evolves, individual companies will fight to become undisputed leaders by offering solutions such as renewable energy and smart homes that are beyond real estate products and services, in order to have a tight grip on customer loyalty.
The views expressed here are of the author and does not necessarily represent position of Sultan Palace Development Ltd and as such does not warranty any particulars. Click here to read our Terms & Conditions.