Wow Lisbon is a cool city. The people are a pleasure to be around, the transport system works and the city is hungry to do business. I will be back and hopefully someday soon Klyant will be used by some of the growing estate agencies in Portugal. Go check it out.
The Web Summit has been circled in the Klyant diary at the start of every year for the past 3 years and we just circled it in the 2017 diary. It is an opportunity to meet other innovative companies in property tech, incredible start-ups working on the latest trends (AI, AR, Bots & VR) and to network with the thought leaders in our industry as well as other sectors.
I wanted to share some of the big trends being discussed.
For those of you that are a little frightened about the unstoppable force that is AI, I urge you to jump into the debate on the positives and negatives of this growing technology. It already is and will be even more a part of the property sector in the near future. And the good news is it will be a good thing if we get it right.
For the uninitiated AI is software doing things that are normally considered to require human intelligence like understanding natural language, recognising faces in photos, driving a car or predicting what we like or are likely to do next based on patterns in the data provided.
The biggest take away for me from a number of talks on this subject was that the tech industry needs to stop and think about the effects developments in AI will or might have on us – humans! I had a few drinks with a guy called Tom Dotan (@cityofthetown) of The Information (if you like well written analysis pieces on the technology sector as opposed to some of the junk written on tech sites, check out this online publication) and we spent some time discussing the views of his interviewee that day – Andrew McAfee, co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. You can have a read of the article here :
One of the questions Mr. McAfee raises is : what will happen to the workers of the future that are left behind those who have kept up with the pace of change. Our mission at Klyant is to keep our customers ahead of change so that they have a competitive advantage but we, our customers and world leaders need to try to make sure all societies are also ahead of such change to avoid a world where the haves and have nots are even further apart.
Personally I am both scared of some of the effects AI will have and excited about the possibilities for our customers when it comes to considering how we could use AI in the future. Yes knowing when a buyer who bought a property through one of our customer’s businesses is likely to want to move again (even before that buyer knows themself….) will enhance our customer’s competitiveness and growth but if AI means a society that is less likely to try out a new type of music because a computer only ever recommends another type due to musical tastes at a point in one’s life, then we need to know when to say no to such a path.
Ask a bot it
As my team will tell you I am fascinated at the possibilities a Klyant bot and specifically a Klyant chatbot could bring to our customers. Chatbots are applications that now leverage AI and machine learning to help you do things like order food, buy some clothes or in the case of Klyant ask whether a particular tenant paid their rent through text messages in a messenger similar to whatsapp.
Bots have been used by companies for years to respond to online customer queries without human interaction. What a terrible experience this can be for the customer. The latest advancements mean that these applications can be so much more powerful and beneficial to business owners, managers and of course customers.
We want our customers to be able to write a message in a Klyant chatbot requesting the current balance in the office account, the latest receipts from a particular tenant, the terms of a lease, the profitability of a client’s portfolio or even to transfer some money from the client to the office account for payment of an invoice. Watch this space.
If you have not experienced VR, see if you can find a millennial that has splashed out on an Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear device and be blown away. VR offers total immersion in a digital world and was huge at Web Summit this year. Feel like you are standing beside Paul McCartney while he plays to a packed arena like I did or peer over a cliff and feel your natural instincts to step away go berserk.
Yes I think we should be concerned about a world where the brain thinks that the body is experiencing something in the real world when in fact it is not. I worry about a day where people do not bother meeting up as they can just jump into a virtual world to have a chat as demonstrated by Mr. Zuckerberg recently : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCpNKLXovtE However it is highly likely we will soon work in a world where all purchasers and tenants expect to check out the property in VR before or indeed if ever they visit the property. So probably time to think about what your business will do when it becomes the norm.
We live in very exciting times for the property sector and having been to Web Summit again this year I am excited about watching our future plans for the Klyant platform take shape. The guys at Web Summit make a lot of the talks available so if you want to check them out go to their facebook page.