Artificial Intelligence in Property – Interview with Dustin Strydom, Open Box

What does your company do?

Open Box delivers software & services to the Real Estate industry.

Open Box is a global software development consultancy focused on the Real Estate industry. We provide an end-to-end solution for our clients. From ERP implementations to custom software development, Business Intelligence, system integration and Robotic Process Automation. Our Real Estate focus gives us an unparalleled advantage to service the unique needs of the industry in an ever-changing technology landscape. We’ve worked with some of the leading names in global Real Estate since 2001 and have been privileged to be involved in defining industry best practice, for not only the use of technology, but also business processes.

In layman’s terms please describe how you are using AI?

Open Box Software uses AI tools in combination with best-of-breed RPA tools to provide Intelligent Process Automation. RPA is designed to automation simple, repetitive tasks; with the addition of AI it has evolved to take on more complex tasks that would traditionally have needed human intervention. For example:

  • Machine Learning in a workflow scenario can be used to review applications prior to approval and determine if they are likely to be approved. Requests could then be pre-separated into risk categories, auto-approved in some cases, or directed to different approvers in others.
  • Natural Language Processing could be used to automatically process email requests sent in by clients or external parties, which typically won’t follow a standard layout.
  • Document Scanning tools can quickly digitize or abstract contracts, invoices or brochures and make the information available in more convenient formats.

What should real estate companies consider before trying to adopt AI? 

Before Real Estate Companies consider adoption of AI, it’s important to approach AI tools as highly specialised solutions that often do one thing very well, but only as well as they’ve been taught. AI tools rely on good quality data or performance history to learn from, so expect to conduct a fair degree of process analysis and re-engineering both before and after adopting AI into your workflows. Further, this specialisation means a robust AI strategy will include integrating multiple different solutions into your processes and systems in different ways. A strong integration plan to connect people, processes, AI and existing systems is going to be very important to making AI a success for your company.

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