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Value added: How cutting-edge technology could transform the surveying profession

Value added: How cutting-edge technology could transform the surveying profession

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are beginning to harness the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI), augmented reality and more to satisfy the demands of an increasingly time-poor world.

Property expert Sunny Landa MRICS explains how the surveying profession and valuers in particular could benefit by employing the latest tech.

It tends to take surveyors a week to write a valuation report, but most of the content is usually overlooked – all most people want to see is the headline figure at the end. Especially if they’re a small business owner who doesn’t have enough hours in the day.

Valuation is the most regulated area of the surveying profession, it’s time-consuming, and there’s a huge skills gap in the industry. That’s a big problem, because a bad valuation is the most likely cause of a surveyor getting sued. It erodes trust and piles on the stress for all concerned.

So, what’s the solution?

As RICS acknowledges, the expectations and requirements of clients are constantly changing, and “new and more sophisticated factors” such as big data are influencing markets in a variety of ways. We need to harness that data and make cutting-edge tech solutions do the work for us.

Let’s follow the example of our colleagues on the Continent, particularly in the Netherlands, by bringing AI – and more – to the table.

Augmented reality solutions are already transforming the way overseas property transactions happen. Data can be beamed to your laptop or phone while you’re sat on the plane. The data is already verified – it is trustworthy, in other words – so you don’t even need to physically inspect a property to complete a valuation or sale.

Take a second to think how much time and effort that is going to save you.

Other industries are becoming increasingly tech-driven too. Auditing in the accounting industry is being transformed by software solutions because they make number-crunching more accurate – and do it quicker.

In the residential property world, sophisticated tech solutions are being harnessed to verify and vet tenants.

Rightmove’s ‘Rent in 5’ lettings solution, for instance, shows what can be done. Landlords get more flexibility in the tenant selection process, and they’re better able to secure the right tenant because their data has been processed instantaneously by a computer.

Why do the bulk of the work yourself when technology can do it for you?

The commercial leasing process is still quite old-fashioned and time-consuming, so why not employ similar software there too? There will be regulatory questions to answer if technology is brought increasingly to the fore, but that shouldn’t be a reason to sit on our hands and let the world pass us by.

Valuation is both a science and an art.

Surveyors tend to be good at the art part but computers are able to process data more accurately than your average human.

The question is, can we teach computers to interpret that data?

In 2019 a computer beat five other players in a game of Texas Hold ’em. Already skilled at comparing inputs and outputs, the software only had to be taught how to bluff. While this was pretty much a one-off, it stands to show what AI could be capable of in the future.

If the objective is to make surveying more accurate, quicker, and potentially more sustainable, what better solution than to join the tech revolution?

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