HDFC bank’s fully owned subsidy, HDFC RED, is planning to digitize property buying. It plans to employ machine learning technology in its mobile app, to create an interactive 3D environment which will help potential buyers visualize and understand what their new house will look like with various paints and furniture. This will help potential buyers take a good decision with regard to property buying. HDFC RED started with 700 developers in 2010 and has 3700 developers now. The startup is present in 23 cities in India and covers over 80% of the primary residential markets in top cities. “HDFC RED has generated over 10 lakh user enquires so far”, claims I.S. Sohel, CEO at HDFC RED. With six years of experience in the property buying domain, Sohel has witnessed a paradigm shift in the way technology is used for buying and selling houses. He expects the house buying and selling domain to be completely digitized in the next four years. Read more on Virtual Reality
HDFC RED is a digital market place for buying and selling property. Its main aim, according to Sohel, is to drastically reduce the time it takes to buy or sell a property for a user. For example, it now takes a person in India, an average of three months to buy or sell a property. HDFC RED aims to bring this down to just two or three weeks. While explaining how technology makes life simpler for mankind, Sohel said,
“Imagine walking into an empty room which transforms into an interactive sales office just by wearing a pair of smart glasses. A virtual person walks up to you and greets you, takes you to a 3D experience of the property, introduces you to more people who have bought houses in the same project and all this happens virtually with the help of Google Glasses and Microsoft Hololens”.
Sohel said that an engaging experience with the help of Virtual Reality and Gaming technologies can enable a potential buyer to customize and visualize his home in the virtual world to any extent using simple methods.
“For example, a user can move the walls of the house change the colors and layouts, modify the furniture and any other possible detail”, Sohel said.
A combination of technology, innovation and the brand name of HDFC are what have made HDFC RED a hit so far. HDFC RED’s recommendation engine gives it a technological edge in the property buying and selling domain. Its recommendation engine goes beyond the physical property description and geographical parameters and explores behavioral and psychographic aspects based on social profiling of the user (potential buyer).
Despite its technology and the brand name of HDFC, HDFC RED still faces challenges in domain of buying and selling houses. For example, it has to overcome the trust deficit that digital platforms for realty listings are plagued with. Customer acquisition and creating awareness is another major challenge for HDFC RED. Last but certainly not the least, consistently performing and exceeding the expectations of its customers is another big challenge for the startup. Some customers also expect startups to come up with new, creative and out – of – the box ideas for every problem which is going to be challenging for HDFC RED. Sohel is aware of the tough task at hand. According to him, the challenge now is shifting from search to recommendations.
Digitization is very important and is gaining traction these days. Almost every industry in India is now becoming digitized. Digitization and going online will help potential property buyers and sellers to buy or sell property quickly and with much more ease. For example, if I want to buy a new home, I will find it much more convenient if I am able to see in virtual reality how my new home looks with various paints, designs and furniture rather than travelling from place to place and imagining how it would all fit in. It would save me a lot of time and effort which many people don’t have these days owing to their tight work schedule. An analysis given by the 3D virtual guide on how many people have bought houses built by the same construction company will also be highly useful. It is heartening to see an Indian startup develop useful software in this largely untapped domain. The Government of India should fund and promote more of such useful and innovative startups. Read more on Startup News