The ongoing development and application of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will be a key factor in competitive success in the real estate sector, the audience at last week’s virtual IPE Real Esate Global Conference & Awards heard.

Fintech adviser Spiros Margaris, founder of Margaris Ventures, said in a keynote address: “With AI, you will manage your projects better and this will force the business to change.”

Asked whether he predicted the demise of the real estate sector as we know it, Margaris, who describes himself as a venture capitalist and futurist, said the operators within it would change.

“I think real estate will stay, because real estate is the biggest asset class in the world. But we will see different players arrive, because through AI you make more money,” he said.

According to Margaris, the imperative to use AI was broader than just the property sector. “If you don’t adapt to technology it’s the demise of your business, whatever business you are in,” he said.

Organisations should ask whether as portfolio managers they used AI, and in turn ask their holdings whether they used the technology.

“If you don’t do this and are paranoid that your competitor will surpass you, he will,” Margaris warned.

Specifically, he said it was up to property investors to turn their attention to the investments they had made, and force those businesses to apply machine learning and analyse the real estate.

“Otherwise we’re flying blind, because there’s only so much deep diving you can do as a portfolio manager,” he said.

Real estate managers should not hold back from using AI just because they considered the technology to be at too early a stage, he said.

“You have to expose your business to AI solutions and even fail sometimes because that’s the only way this process can come to be really successful,” he said.