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Big data is about to radically change the property industry: Ben Handler

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Property is the next industry to undergo the radical transformations that come from tapping ‘big data’.

With great insight into markets and customer trends, industry players will make one of life’s biggest decisions less of a headache, time drain and financial burden.

Big data is transforming every industry it touches, from healthcare to manufacturing, and from fast moving consumer goods to education. With healthcare, analysing patient electronic records allows hospitals and healthcare systems to predict patient outcomes and to prescribe the very best medicines for patient’s condition.

One of the pioneers in healthcare big data is the Australian Institute of Healthcare Innovation, based at Macquarie University. Its director, Enrico Coiera, points to the massive potential waiting to be tapped as healthcare systems link together patient records and outcomes (in a suitable privacy-securing manner) and uses deep analytics to truly understand patient illnesses, and to get a handle on what works – and does not work – in terms of cutting edge treatment of patients.

Manufacturing is also moving to embrace the use of big data, as it shifts from one-size-fits all production to production where goods are customised to meet individual needs and desires. By analysing market trends and applying deep analytics, manufacturers can systematically understand the customisations that are selling (and those that are not) and then plan their supply chains to meet those production needs.

In short, big data will increase the ability to deliver a more satisfactory result at a quicker rate.

It’s only in the last few years that this revolution has truly begun to take hold, thanks to massive increases in data collection and storage, along with processing power and the software smarts needed to perform deep analysis on the data being collected. That’s where the key to big data lies – every business collects information about its customers, its operations, sales and prospects as part of its daily operations. Until recently, however, that data remained an untapped resource. It sat there, but few people knew what to do with it, or had the organisational smarts and technological chops to actually turn it into a business resource. Big Data is all about data analysis, and then generating insights that enable the organisation to better meet the desires of its customers and add extra value.

The next industry that big data will touch is in property. Until recently, property was all about bringing sellers together with potential buyers – and it was largely a hit and miss affair. Ads were placed in newspapers and online, and sales agents worked the phones to the best of their ability. But what they lack is a deep insight what buyers wanted, and the ability to link those needs and desires with market stock, regardless of whether that stock is available now, or will come onto the market in the future.

I believe the property industry needs to get much smarter about the way it uses data in order to bring buyers together with sellers in the marketplace. We’ve used data-driven insight to great success cutting the average property acquisition time from nearly half a year down to about one or two months. Such insights have led to quicker, more accurate matches between buyers and their new property. It helps create greater confidence for first time buyers, in what is a monumental event in anyone’s lifetime, whilst making the experience as painless and inexpensive as possible.

By harnessing every piece of data, and subjecting it to analysis, and then matching those insights with market data, buyer’s agents will be able to anticipate the desires of customers even before those customers realise what they are looking for.

In property, big data is a competitive advantage that not enough companies are using. That will change, but the first movers in the area are going to be the businesses that succeed and drive growth, as well as better outcomes for their customers.

Ben Handler is the CEO of buyer’s advocacy group Cohen Handler. He is responsible for setting the overall vision, growth and strategy for Cohen Handler.

This article originally appeared on Property Observer.

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