The irreversible trend of migration to urban cities, that is inherently pushing our cities across the country beyond its existing limits, has increased over the years. The situation opens a plethora of opportunities for changemakers to create solutions for the population streaming into these cities. One of the biggest opportunities presented is the demand for housing. Home rental is a key segment of this market which remains a valuable revenue generator for any economy.
However, the home rental market in India has so far remained an unorganised segment due to low penetration of technology. The need for transparency in pricing, predictable daily commutes, and solving maintenance woes, are problems that are not very different from those faced globally. In this context, technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to play a massively disruptive role in the coming years.
AI can be described as the “intuition" given to machines. Soon AI’s role in human lives will be no different from what electricity is today - it’s simple and it works. According to Bill Gates, AI will be able to help humans be more productive, earn better and have better lifestyle with less labour. AI has the potential to disrupt every industry, and home rentals are no exception.
One of the biggest advantages in the home rental market will be the ability to understand a city through exhaustive knowledge of each of its neighbourhoods. What makes one neighbourhood similar or different from another. Is it the way people commute in that area? Or the mode of transport they use? Is it the number of continental restaurants in the area, or the way they are preferred over others? The number of malls, multiplexes, big brand stores it has? As they say data is the new oil, and once we can harness this data using AI, the true potential of API can be leveraged to ensure people live in the best neighbourhoods.
Currently, it is very cumbersome to run through classified listings to scout for suitable rental property, but the application of AI can turn the entire scenario upside down with individuals having all the required information right on their PC. Chat bots have become part of the standard features of a website. Standard queries of any potential tenant being answered through these chat bots, is just the beginning of AI.
Some of the early applications of AI in the home rental market are voice assistants and the Internet of things (IoT). Voice assistants understand humans and can map human choices to a specific locality or even a building thus disrupting the way a tenant chooses a house.
As the home rental market becomes much more organised there is every possibility that voice assistant devices, which are invariably connected to the internet, help in improving service quality. Imagine a scenario where the tenant has an urgent service requirement and all that individual has to do is to pass on the message to a voice assistant to do the needful.
Similarly, IoT also has the potential to be a game changer. As more and more devices get connected to the internet, the home rental market can proactively deal with various issues. IoT sensors, could possibly be used on plumbing pipes which can then provide instant alerts in case of any leakages. There are multiple instances which can be used to make the homes smart. This ensures the security of a house and increases the efficiency of all home utilities.
While the progress in technology may bring up anxiety regarding job losses, we must come around to the fact that the growing role of technology is inevitable. In fact, it would do us a lot good, to embrace the applications of technology such as AI, faster. As homes become smart with the applications of technology reaching to every nook and corner of a house, it is without a doubt that AI will be in the forefront of delivering a higher standard of services in the home rental market.
Smruti Parida is Co-founder and CTO of NestAway Technologies