Real Estate and Technology

Real Estate and Technology

A recent report released by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in the UK set me thinking about the potential of cloud computing in the real estate market. If there’s one professional who would really love remote access to prodigious amounts of data that have been filtered down to usable information, it’s the real estate professional. In this one sentence, we have mentioned application of shared storage, data mining and remote access – all possible, in fact the salient features, of cloud computing. Oh yes, there are the reduced cost implications to consider as well.

Evidently, the RICS agrees. In a report titled The Role of Cloud Computing in Commercial Property, the industry body said that a move to the cloud can help real estate companies reduce costs, free up space and create a flexible working environment. It also mentioned that a number of businesses in the country were already enjoying the advantages of cloud computing and it was time the real estate profession also got into the game. In fact, such a move would actually help increase the rate of adoption of cloud computing, the report opined.

As more and more businesses look to reduce their expenditure, cost-efficient operating solutions will become an increasing priority. The impending impact of businesses adopting the Cloud will be far reaching for the property profession,” said RICS spokesperson Andrew Waller. Note that in the UK, the word “property” may be considered synonymous to “real estate”.

Organizations that choose to adopt these virtual IT systems will be able to reduce their running costs and smaller businesses will be able to access systems which would, otherwise, have been beyond their financial means. Furthermore, by using virtual IT systems businesses will require less floor space, as large servers are dispensed with and the smooth, reliable remote access allows a greater number of employees to work away from the office on a more regular basis,” Waller added.

Let’s explore the possibilities a little further.

It’s obvious that the real estate industry can benefit from migrating to cloud computing. By eliminating the need for servers at the Workplace, they can dispense with IT maintenance duties and concentrate their efforts in what they do best – develop, buy and sell real estate. Also, the space thus freed up can be used for other constructive purposes.

The real estate business can do with Data mining to extract relevant information and better target customers. With cloud computing, companies can get access to computing power they couldn’t dream of earlier. This is similar to smaller universities getting supercomputer access to run complex simulations, something I had explored in a previous article.

Now, think of the real estate professional out on the field. She is showing some properties to some potential client when the latter requests an in-depth analysis of all the properties on sale in the region. Instead of traveling back to the office to retrieve that information, wouldn’t it be preferable for the professional to tap into the company database from her Internet-enabled phone and download the required information? With cloud computing, it’s a cinch!

It’s clear that for real estate companies, SaaS (Software as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) will be much more important than PaaS (Platform as a Service), unless they want to develop specialized applications for the market. For a detailed look at the differences between these three, look up Cloud Computing For Dummies: SaaS, PaaS, IaaS And All That Was .

It is great for cloud computing that industry bodies are recognizing the importance of the technology in their respective fields. With more such endorsements, cloud computing can really take off in the broader market.

By Sourya Biswas

Martin Mendelsohn

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