The Future of Real Estate will be driven by AI & ML: Compass IDC
By Rushi Bhatt, Sr. Director and Head of AI at Compass IDC

Rushi Bhatt, Sr. Director and Head of AI at Compass IDC
Rushi Bhatt, Sr. Director and Head of AI at Compass IDC

1. What are your views on the current scenario of AI in India & what’s your take on the Government’s stand on AI?

A recent research from IDC estimates that Artificial Intelligence (AI) market in India will grow at a CAGR of 20.2% and reach $7.8 billion by 2025. Given the current level of digital penetration and access to broadband technologies, AI-driven applications will see tremendous growth across both enterprise and consumer segment. Among enterprises, there is increased adoption of AI software in areas like CRM, ERM, HR supply chain management. The onset of pandemic has also made AI applications like contactless services popular. There is massive potential for AI in areas like agriculture, education, healthcare, BFSI, retail and manufacturing where it can enable automation to enhance productivity, security and operational efficiency.  

Government is actively making laws to uphold the rights to privacy and data handling guidelines. These laws and guidelines benefit by deep research with respect to how they impact the access to technology, and promote fairness in application of AI for the citizens. 

2. How is Compass utilizing the power of AI to drive change across the real estate industry?

Compass is leveraging advanced technologies like AI and ML to enhance agent efficiency and profitability. The company is currently focusing on building a modern end-to-end real estate technology platform by leveraging the brightest minds and the smartest tools available across engineering, design and strategy.  With its proprietary platform, Compass Inc. is changing how agents and clients navigate the process of finding or selling a home. Through continual iteration, Compass real-estate tools can also be used to analyze the real-estate market from time to time, which further help in improving how agents and clients navigate the process of finding or selling a home in the US market.

3. Can you shed some light on what sort of work is carried out at Compass IDC?

Compass IDC is dedicated to accelerating the company’s software development for its real estate agents by complementing existing hubs in New York City, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Compass engineers in Hyderabad are focusing on mobile applications and introduction of new features including AI-powered recommendations, especially in areas like CRM, Search and Compass mobile app. Some of them are also engaged in advancing the company’s technology stack as well as working on mobile, cloud and data solutions for Compass Inc’s growing client base. 

4. What is the requisite set of skills that Compass looks for in its potential recruits?

At Compass IDC, we are looking for software engineers with proficiency in next-gen technologies like AI, ML, Cloud Computing, Data Analytics, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and iOS and Android development. Technologies like AI and ML demand deep understanding of the underlying software, and candidates opting for this career should have the persistence and remain focused throughout the learning period. They should also have the mindset to adapt to the fast-paced and changing work environment as well as possess an open mind to learn new things quickly.  

5. What are the new trends that you’ve observed when it comes to AI in reference to its applications?

As you know AI is expected to increase global GDP by 12.5% by the end of 2030, which means it is going to have a sweeping impact across several applications that we are familiar with today, and those which have not been formed yet. To mention some of the latest trends, AI has influenced the way customer service is being delivered across retail, banking, e-commerce and more. Companies rely on predictive analytics to draw critical insights on customer interests and behavior which can then be used to generate new business opportunities. In the real estate segment, AI can help agents identify which property is available or likely to be available for sale. It can also predict the best rate at which a property can be sold at a given scenario. In healthcare, AI finds a number of applications like improving clinical workflows, enabling contactless telemedicine services. Several emerging applications like drug discovery, predicting drug interactions and more are in offing. AI will also accelerate Industry 4.0 spanning several industry sectors and pave way for high levels of automation and productivity enhancements. 

6. Can you share some of your expertise over the benefits and the risks that are associated with AI?

AI, amongst other technologies, can act as an amplifier. It is well known how these technologies can automate certain tasks or make humans more efficient. 

For India, there are several risks that one needs to be concerned about. First is due to the imbalance in access to higher education which limits people who can gain skills as AI practitioners. This in turn will create a divide between “AI-haves” and “AI-have-nots”. Combined with the growth of automation which is inevitable, this can lead to denial of opportunity to the same sub-segment of population which is most vulnerable to economic uncertainties.

Second, irresponsible use of AI can cause great societal damage. People who are most impacted by automation are also the most vulnerable of the population. For example, automated credit scoring impacts people in the lower strata more and these are the same people who have no other recourse or means to seek redressal. Fake news may disproportionately impact the more susceptible people. This can lead to a vicious cycle of denial or harm to the vulnerable parts of the population and worsen the digital divide. 

On the other hand, by bringing in legislation and vigilance to protect misuse of AI, the same technology can be used to great social benefit, especially when fairness and accountability is explicitly built into these automated decision-making systems. Fairness in AI is also becoming an area of great importance in the research community.