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Technology and Automation in Real Estate: Ian Campbell

Week 11: Our Transform Masters 2017 Supersix learn about automation, AI and the future of technology in real estate.

Transform Masters 2017 is brought to you with thanks to our sponsors Property Tree, and Real+

In this preview of his Transform Masters Coaching session, Ian Campbell from Aire Software talks about the importance of technology audits, tips for team software training, and how the future of technology will impact the real estate industry.

Ian will also be speaking at our event “How to lead a winning team in 2018”. For more info and to book tickets visit



I’m Ian Campbell, I’m the founder of Aire. We’re a software company. We build digital employees for the real estate industry.

Q. Why is a technology audit important?

Ian: Unfortunately, it’s easy to get sucked into the next software as a service subscription.

What an audit does, is it kind of allows you to add up the cost of your technology stack – we call it technology stack – making a list of every piece of software or tool you have, how much it cost you and then evaluating it in terms of what benefit it provides.

Also whether or not you’re extracting the value it should be. It’s a really simple process. You can save thousands, and if nothing else, you might actually use something you’ve already got a bit better.

Q. How do you determine what technology to invest in?

I think the technology you use, the first indicator, if you haven’t used it, like clothes when you go and clean your wardrobe, just get rid of it. You’re obviously not investing the time or the energy to get any value out of it. That’s number one, if you don’t use it, get rid of it.

The second thing is, diarise the time to get to know and actually document the benefits you expect from that particular product.

Q. Any tips for software training with your team?

Unfortunately, a lot of the end price solutions that we use are not user-friendly, so they do require training.

The second thing is, training is often expensive and most businesses will only invest in training when they first buy business software. You generally get the person who learned the software first to train the next person, to train the next person. What you get is, you get a dilution of knowledge, and actually you’ve got a continuous investment into the technology that you buy and I always recommend to try and budget.

Take, in your technology audit, whenever you are spending on technology. I would recommend at least 20% of that goes back into ongoing development and training for your staff.

Q. What is an API and how does it work?

API stands for ‘Application Programme Interface’. If you think about the software that you know – be it an app or a website – that has what we call a user interface. It’s clickable, you interact with it as a user, as a human being.

What an API is, is it’s an interface that a computer can interact with, so it allows a piece of software to talk between each other. It does two things: one is, it generally allows transfer of data and information, but also it can allow the ‘Software A’ to use the functionality of ‘Software B’.

Why is that important as well, because all of a sudden when you get two pieces of software that talk to each other, and leverage each others functionality, we get an exponentially bit of benefit and result.

Q. What areas of real estate can be automated?

There’s a documentary by the ABC called The AI Race, which tried to analyse the percentage of different jobs that could be automated in the future. Luckily for the real estate industry, I reckon it’s only about 9%. I think that’s probably undercooking it a bit.

If you look at what the industry is doing today, a lot of the bigger agencies are trying to achieve the economies and scale through outsourcing. Effectively what they require is their administrative processes, pushing data, pushing paper, pushing very simple business processes that ultimately can be automated in the future.

Where it gets really exciting is when we start to talk about artificial intelligence and how that will drastically improve the capability or the capacity of automation for different business processes. Because often those business processes require decision making. Decision making is where AI comes in.

Q. How will AI change the real estate industry?

What we’re going to see AI does is that, it frees our ability to make decisions as human beings. So a lot of what we do every day is make decisions based off what we know and our experiences in life.

What AI can do is, it can accumulate knowledge sets and experience from the entire human industry, upscale and then make those decisions to a reasonable degree of accuracy on our behalf.

All of a sudden if we’re not required to make a decisions for the mundane, for the things that we already know how to solve, then we can start to focus on the next big problems.

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