7 Uses for AI in CRE

Don't fear artificial intelligence! At the CREW Convention, MIT’s James Scott outlined how that technology can make your life easier.

James Scott of MIT at the September 2023 CREW Convention

James Scott of MIT’s Center for Real Estate explains how CRE can utilize AI. Image by Jessica Fiur

“AI is no longer science fiction,” James Scott, director of the Real Estate Transformation Lab at MIT’s Center for Real Estate, said at the recent CREW Convention in Atlanta.

Though some might be leery of artificial intelligence, it is here, and the industry is taking note.

Scott made note of several applications of AI that can be used in CRE.

  • Generative design: AI can be used for building exterior design, floorplate design, sustainable building design and city and neighborhood design.
  • Chatbots/artificial assistants: While in the past, people knew when they were talking to a bot versus a person, according to Scott, “they’ve got incredibly more humanistic.” This technology is useful for people who want information about your company, especially after work hours. “(Bots) work 24/7, not Monday to Friday,” he said.
  • Robotics: Particularly useful for industrial and warehouse spaces, robots can help with automated storage and retrieval systems.
  • Automated valuation models
  • Predictive analytics: In addition to aiding in financial matters, this could also be a benefit to maintenance teams, for example, helping them determine when an appliance might need to be replaced.
  • Automated report generation
  • Property inspection drones: According to Scott, you can even use a drone with infrared cameras to see where energy is being used, or conversely where it is being wasted, so you can make your building more efficient.

Of course, AI is not perfect and still needs human oversight. “Is it fact checking?” Scott asked. “Absolutely not!”

But AI can make CRE processes more efficient, allowing you to focus on more important aspects of the industry. And don’t worry about losing work to a robot.

“Real estate is a people business,” Scott said. “AI is not taking over jobs. It’s facilitating tasks.”

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