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January Edition 2023

An innovator building real estate digital workforce: Travtus

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A domain-specific digital teammate helps every rental operator simplify and scale their operations. The more properties you manage, the more people you need to do the job. Knowledge is often lost in the field and the pains of growth often result in inefficiencies that hurt investors as well as customers. A digital teammate is the first step towards creating a platform to collect the experience and knowledge from the field. Adam can now help partners not just grow but truly scale. Travtus works with its partners to help them to better understand their operations and their customers. Adam learns from every interaction, helping partners identify and prioritize their efforts in efficiency and exceptional customer experience. Travtus brings its expertise in problem-solving to every industry partner and place customer success as our only measure of success.

Travtus’ team includes the best people to create ‘The future (digital) workforce’ for the real estate industry. The company is a cross-disciplinary innovation hub including real estate experts, software engineers, data scientists, academics, and creators from around the globe.

So How Can We Use AI?

It's hard to ignore the buzz around OpenAI's newest release, ChatGPT, the latest development in the GPT series of super large language models. It’s being hyped by some as a huge labor-saving tool. But how can this technology are leveraged to benefit real estate owners and operators? The answer lies in AI and real estate teams working together to develop domain-specific solutions, combining the most recent advancements in technology with industry knowledge to create practical solutions for your real estate business. Large language models are a type of machine learning model trained to understand the meaning and context of words and sentences from massive amounts of text data scraped from the internet. You already interact with language models every day: they're used to rank search results, automate translations, and summarize news articles. The auto-complete feature on your phone? That's a language model. Since their development started to accelerate in 2018, the use of language models has been growing at an astonishing rate. A new space race has been ignited, with larger and larger language models being trained. Supercomputers are processing datasets containing billions of words, and companies like OpenAI, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Salesforce are investing heavily to stay ahead of the competition.

In short, these models are mastering language and memorizing knowledge contained in the training data. The data is so vast that you can ask general knowledge questions and receive coherent answers. The conversational flow is very smooth and feels convincing. If you look past the hype, even ignoring some well-documented shortcomings of super large language models, including bias (racism, sexism, etc.), overconfidence (or lying), and unpredictability, why aren’t large language models replacing people in real estate? The answer lies in what your team can do that ChatGPT can’t.

  • Your team has industry knowledge learned, not through reading, but by doing.
  • Your team has experience of dealing with thousands of different types of requests from residents and prospects.
  • Your team can adjust its behavior based on changing situations.
  • Your team can interact with your other software systems.

Large language models can't do any of these things on their own.

In a nutshell, your teams have more than just the ability to use language; they have layered resident, property, company, and industry knowledge. They also have job experience, awareness of industry best practices, process knowledge, and decision-making experience.

To bring AI into your team, you need to turn to industry-specific AI solutions. Solutions like Adam, where a team of AI & real estate specialists work solely on layering real estate knowledge, processes and experience on top of more general models, to create a tool that compliments the work of property managers, allowing them to prioritize the tasks that are most important for their residents and team. The models that OpenAI, Facebook, Google, and others are pioneering form some of the building blocks, but to effectively supplement your team with an AI teammate, you’ll need to partner with domain-specialized R&D companies.

There’s no doubt that in the next ten years AI will impact your business. By partnering with specialists, you will be able to look past the hype and unlock the power of AI.

Customer Experience in Real Estate needs Tech

Financial services and retail industries are obsessed with a single customer view. Having a holistic view of your customers and being able to provide them great customer experience – with good reason – you hate having to answer the same questions 1000 times! The last 15 years have been a relentless drive for better customer experience, increased sales, and better customer retention through data. In 2004, the dot-com boom (and crash) had brought online experiences into general view, Amazon & eBay were stealing market share from traditional retail. Online payment standards brought to trust in online experiences. The retail world took notice and the ability to provide consistent customer experiences; online, in person, or on the phone became the key to winning new business and retaining customers.

Banking soon followed suit in this obsession, however, complacent in their dominance & regulatory protection and constrained the baggage of 30 years of legacy software (one system for credit cards, another for current accounts, savings, acquisition…) progress was slow. The same CTO’s that had implemented these systems turned to traditional “proven” technologies to integrate into a search for efficiency and that all-important single customer view. An entire industry of consultants, offshore development, and expensive tools emerged.

Tenants’ preferences are remembered and mapped to your properties, leasing policies, local amenities. You can offer suggestions from within your portfolio for a switch in the lease to a new apartment closer to their office. Rent pricing can now be linked to their history of requests and complaints. A single customer view that can help you focus your efforts on retaining good tenants, offering them bigger or newly renovated properties to suit their lifestyles. Enabling you to identify high-risk tenants that you need to manage more closely to recover rent.

It doesn’t stop there. This structure applies to your assets, to your vendors, employees, company policies, and the overall health of the portfolio.

These capabilities are within our reach now! Powered by open data, big data tools consolidating information from across your business, and AI tools that offer customer-centric experience. Look to the future to drive your business not the past!

Tripty Arya, Founder

“We are the think tank for real estate operators and investors to make the most of their data. Our platform solutions, innovation labs or guided advisory, transform operations by adopting machine learning with ease.”