In a rapidly evolving real estate landscape, the integration of technology is reshaping traditional processes and revolutionising the industry. Maximiliano Sanchez, Founder of Nox Development Group, is at the forefront of this transformation. With a visionary approach, he envisions a future where artificial intelligence, robotics, generative design, and financial technologies harmonise seamlessly with real estate development, construction, and management.
In this Q&A session, Mr Sanchez shared his insights on the most promising emerging technologies set to revolutionise the real estate sector in the coming years. From automating land acquisition and design processes to enhancing construction site monitoring and building maintenance, he delved into the potential impact of these technologies on efficiency and outcomes.
#PTS: In your opinion, what are some of the most exciting emerging technologies that have the potential to revolutionise the real estate industry in the next few years?
Mr Maximiliano: The real estate industry is already in the midst of a full blown revolution, with several aspects of the real estate development lifecycle being disrupted by emerging technologies. We are at the threshold of revolutionary advancements in artificial intelligence, generative design, robotics, financial tech and computer vision. I am particularly excited about infusing outdated processes with these groundbreaking technologies. Here are some ways in which these innovations are set to revolutionise industry practices:
- Automating the Land Acquisition and Design Process- Artificial Intelligence and Gen Design
- In today’s landscape, you can use existing technologies to evaluate the feasibility of acquiring and developing a new parcel of land. These technologies provide comprehensive zoning analysis, enabling you to determine the maximum development potential of any given plot. However, this remains a somewhat manual process, often requiring the engagement of an architect or designer to confirm assumptions and to create 3d renderings. I firmly believe that in the near future, a combination of artificial intelligence and generative design will streamline this entire workflow.
- Tools like Midjourney are only the beginning. We can already generate images, designs, and ideas with a single sentence prompt--- so imagine this:
“Locate an off-market land parcel that is zoned for mixed use and allows me to build 240 rental units. Then design a structure with a 54% efficiency ratio and produce a high quality 3D render.” This is the future I foresee. The automation and accuracy of this tech-infused process will save real estate developers and builders lots of time.
- Verifying Work and Issuing Payments – Robotics, Computer Vision & Financial Technologies
- Today, most construction sites employ some form of reality capture or computer vision technology, ranging from 360-degree photos to smartphone pictures and lidar scans. These tools are valuable but still fall short in efficiently documenting job sites, monitoring construction progress, verifying work, and managing payments. Most of these tasks are still reliant on manual intervention.
- In the coming years, we’ll witness remarkable advancements in robotics, financial technologies, and computer vision. This progress will enable us to virtually monitor construction sites with ease. With a simple click, we will deploy our terrestrial robots while the computer vision technologies alert us if something is off schedule or misaligned. Today, financial technologies are creating opportunities to incorporate smart contracts into these workflows.
This fusion of these technologies will grant us the ability to autonomously document construction progress while, streamlining our payment processes. That’s how you improve efficiency.
The potential of this transformation is revolutionary!
- Building Maintenance and Asset Management – Robotics
- Lastly, I am excited about automating building maintenance processes. Far too often, buildings lose their lustre within the first year of operations due to poor maintenance.
- One exciting development is the utilisation of drones to automate the exterior power washing of buildings. This innovation holds the promise of extending the aesthetic appeal of buildings and keeping cities vibrant.
Overall, the real estate industry is on the cusp of a technological revolution that will reshape the way we acquire land, manage construction sites, and maintain buildings. These advancements hold the potential to enhance efficiency and create new tech-infused processes. It’s an exciting time to be in the industry!
#PTS: Can you share some specific examples of how you've successfully integrated technology into your real estate development projects to improve efficiency and outcomes?
Mr Maximiliano: Real Estate Development is a complicated business, and to navigate its complexities effectively, we’ve integrated custom built applications into our daily operations. For example— we encountered two significant challenges in the projects we developed in Miami:
- We underestimated how long our plans would take to get permitted
- We chose the wrong contractors for certain scopes of work.
In response to these valuable lessons, we proactively developed our own proprietary tool known as the “Expedition App”. This innovative application harnesses open permit data, providing us with data on the average approval times for various project types and ranking the most suitable contractors for any given project.
Our commitment to leveraging technology for continual improvement remains unwavering. Whether through strategic partnerships with tech companies or the creation of our own cutting-edge solutions, we are dedicated to refining our processes and building technology on top of the wisdom we have gained.
#PTS: What challenges have you encountered when implementing new technology in traditional real estate processes, and how have you overcome them?
Mr Maximiliano: Integrating new technologies into a real estate development project is hard. We often see the same obstacles emerge:
- Cost of Testing New Technology: Testing new tech is always a financial risk. Margins are thin in construction and development so when startups don’t offer free trials, this deters project teams from exploring innovative solutions.
- Securing Buy-In: To successfully implement technology on a construction site you need the support and cooperation of every stakeholder involved. Subcontractor buy-in, in particular, is the biggest challenge to attain, they usually don’t have the same incentives as the GC or developer. Most of the time, getting their buy-in requires effort, patience, and persuasion.
- Inadequate Customer Support: There are lots of new real estate technology companies that don’t have experience in the industry. This leads to a lack of quality in customer support which is followed by frustration and reluctance among project teams.
To address these challenges effectively, we advocate for the establishment of technology standards at the project's inception. This proactive approach helps us mitigate apprehensions associated with testing and adoption, it ensures our budgets account for new tech, and gives us time to choose the right technology for our projects. By setting clear expectations and guidelines, we create an environment where the benefits of technology are shown early and often.
#PTS: With the industry moving toward sustainable and eco-friendly practices, how do you see technology playing a role in shaping the future of green real estate development?
Mr Maximiliano: From a real estate developers standpoint, I am continuously looking to empower my architects with the ability to select a multitude of sustainable materials for our projects. However, I’ve consistently encountered a significant challenge: the absence of a comprehensive marketplace that sources eco-friendly and sustainable building materials which match my project specs and design.
Looking ahead, I anticipate the emergence of an all-encompassing technology that can ingest all your project information, offer eco-friendly recommendations or substitutes while providing the marketplace on where to source them. That would be an exciting and practical technology that can help shape the future of green real estate development.
#PTS: Your plans for a charter school focused on Industry 4.0 are intriguing. How do you envision the intersection of education and technology within the real estate sector?
Mr Maximiliano: I am glad you found this project intriguing! We are still in the early stages, but we believe education is vital to creating meaningful change for the real estate industry. We are in a time of extraordinary opportunity and growth– America desperately needs qualified, tech-savvy, skilled professionals to continue building.
As businesses go digital and technologies give way to new platforms and ways of doing business, the workers behind it must evolve too.
Our mission is to build a workforce of the future by providing a progressive and tech-friendly educational program that prepares students for post-secondary and career opportunities in emerging 4.0 industries and technologies.
For the first few years we will prepare students for the future of human and machine collaboration in Applied Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Building Technologies.
Historically, industries like construction have been looked down upon as dirty, rugged, rigid and old school – we aim to erase that image and fundamentally change the definition of a skilled tradesmen.
With this future in mind, we will teach middle/high school students that building a foundation in construction with a tech-forward mindset will open endless opportunities for them.
#PTS: How do you believe events like the London Proptech Show can contribute to fostering collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and innovation within the real estate and construction industries, particularly in the context of integrating technology into traditional processes?
Mr Maximiliano: Events like the London Proptech Show are at the heart of change in the real estate industry. They play a pivotal role in fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing by providing a unique platform for professionals, thought leaders, and innovators to come together.
Events like these create melting pots of knowledge that enable individuals to exchange ideas that often lead to groundbreaking concepts and solutions. These ideas and concepts may not have emerged within the silos of individual companies.
Furthermore, the London Proptech Show often features showcases and exhibitions where companies can present their cutting-edge technologies and products. This provides a hands-on experience for attendees to see how technology can be integrated into real-world applications.
These events are instrumental in pushing forward what’s possible for the real estate and construction industry.
I’m excited for what’s to come!