13 percent of the materials delivered to a construction site go directly to waste without being used, and the majority of these are not recyclable. There was a 10x increase in C&D waste levels between 2005 and 2020 compared to 1990 to 2005. In addition, construction is the deadliest sector in India, with an average of 38 fatal accidents per day. One in four construction workers in India dies due to falls from great heights, electrocutions and falling walls and scaffolding. In 2018, the private sector in the US recorded around 4780 on-the-job fatalities, with 21.1% coming from the construction industry alone. Considering that construction work involves working at heights, operating heavy machinery, and walking through chaotic construction sites, this is not surprising. According to a report by Ernst & Young and FICCI, the industry is facing a 30% labour shortage, which has led to several issues. When a construction project is delayed, it's both frustrating and costly for contractors. Delays can occur for a number of reasons, including weather, equipment failure, labor shortages, missing or incorrect data, mistakes in the project, and conflicts. Many manual labor processes still exist in the construction industry, which serve as the basis for a larger number of tasks and operations. It is felt by many that the efficiency and productivity of the industry have not yet reached their full potential. These obstacles aren't insurmountable but overcoming them will require a different approach than dealing with industry-wide externalities.


Robotics: A solution to industry's most pressing issues

When it comes to the adoption of robotics and automation, the CRE industry has been notoriously slow. But the industry has reached a tipping point and is looking toward smart machines to solve some of its biggest problems. Since CRE firms are now trying to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs, robotics and automation will play a key role in achieving digital transformation.

Robotics have been used in construction since the 1970s in Japan. Seeing young workers abandon manual labour in favour of less physically demanding office jobs, Japan's largest architecture, engineering, and construction companies turned to automation and robotics to cope with labour shortage.

Real Estate is an industry worth $10 trillion worldwide, plagued by worker shortages, waste, and weak productivity growth, all of which point to a robotic takeover of this industry in the near future. Using robots to perform repetitive tasks, such as bricklaying or hanging drywall, can allow firms to reduce the amount of labor they need for a project. As robots can typically perform tasks faster than humans, work gets completed more quickly and with fewer errors.

Modern technology can provide a way to tackle these problems and the construction industry is looking at technology, robotics included, to provide the solutions. With the advances in AI, robotics and integration with IoT, commercial properties can be owned, leased, managed, and operated more effectively and efficiently in the future. Access to real-time data will increase efficiency and cut costs.

It is possible that smart buildings will lead to smart cities, making what was once science fiction a reality in the near future, though the full impact on the real estate market is still unknown.

Over centuries, construction process evolved but largely remained repetitive, inefficient, risky and extremely labour dependent. Skyrocketing raw material, labour and land costs are making it harder for construction business to provide affordable houses to the masses. Fortunately, the rapid developments in high performance controllers, software and high performance low cost hardware is paving ways for robotics into Construction. Robots are extremely good at performing repetitive and dangerous tasks like brick masonry, painting and material handling. These robots coupled with advanced vison and lidar technology can be used for remote site monitoring and to perform quality checks. Fusion of multiple technologies has huge potential to make construction cost effective and efficient. Automation will disrupt the constitution industry in the same way it disrupted automobile industry

— Siri V, CEO of Favo Construction Technologies on how Robotics can help Real Estate Businessess


Adoption of Robotics in Real Estate

Advancements in robotics are continually taking place in the fields of space exploration, health care, public safety, entertainment, defence, and more.

The automotive manufacturing industry is one of the earliest and largest adopters of industrial robotic technology, and that trend continues to this day. Robots are used in almost every part of automotive manufacturing in some way or another. Finance is rapidly being taken over by robots in a variety of ways, saving the industry millions of dollars and automating time-consuming tasks. In the medical field, robots are revolutionising surgery, streamlining supply delivery and disinfection, and freeing up time for doctors to spend with patients.

Relationships and gut instincts have always been important in the real estate industry. The majority of tasks are completed manually by industry experts who are resistant to change. When it comes to technology adoption, the real estate industry is lagging behind. The value of new AI technology is still being discovered by the industry. There are some applications in the real estate industry that are starting to use AI, as it is becoming increasingly clear that competitors will eventually adopt this technology and gain an advantage.

Despite the fact that real estate is the world's largest asset class, industry professionals have only recently begun to take advantage of new technology.

Some real estate companies that have adopted robotics:

Provident Housing, a subsidiary of real estate firm Puravankara, has introduced two robots, Mitra and Mitri, to its business. These robots are the first point of contact for all visitors, and they will collect information such as names, phone numbers, and photographs of them in under 30 seconds. Purvankara's Customer Relationship Management System and sales force receive this information. The company has partnered with Invento Markerspaces, a Bengaluru-based robotics firm that has previously developed an interactive humanoid robot for HDFC Bank. Puravankara's chief operating officer, Anand Narayanan, believes that adopting new technology is critical.

For faster construction and better cost and quality management, Mahindra Lifespace Developers (MLDL) has implemented a number of new technologies. These ground-breaking technologies herald a new era in construction, with new materials and techniques expected to be adopted quickly in Indian real estate.

NBCC has been the undisputed leader in the construction industry since 1960. With its headquarters in Delhi, the company is now classified as a Navratna CPSE. For many years, the company has been successfully utilising technologies such as AI and ML to keep up with the change brought on by innovation.

The Prestige Group has firmly established itself as one of India's leading and most successful real estate developers by imprinting its indelible mark across all asset classes.

Rustomjee developers have made residential living luxurious from the heart of South Mumbai to the western suburbs and beyond. Rustomjee is revolutionising the way it serves customers by creating smart homes that collect and analyse data using artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as connected sensors, lights, and metres.

Sunteck Realty Limited is a Mumbai-based real estate development company that uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and other technologies to cater to the ultra-luxury and luxury residential segments. It is Mumbai's most prominent real estate firm.


Is PropTech an attractive investment opportunity?

Robots are becoming smarter, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence. As a result, a growing number of investors are interested in raising funds or investing in emerging robotics companies. So, despite the economic downturn and new technological challenges, the robotics industry is well positioned to weather the storm while maintaining significant financial backing from top investors.

Over the next decade, the global market for all types of robots is expected to increase by 1,180 percent, from $39 billion in 2017 to $499 billion by 2025. More than 40 venture capital firms, including Playground Global, FoundersX, of Y Combinator, and GV, are investing in robotics companies that design and manufacture everything from drones and warehouse carts to vitamin-sized cameras and surgical assistants.

Robotics is currently one of the largest markets in the technology space, with applications in a wide range of industries. Unsurprisingly, some have predicted that the global economy will be completely transformed by a "robot revolution" in the next 20 years. According to PwC, by 2030, up to 30% of jobs could be automated.

To summarise, the robotics industry isn't going away anytime soon, and it's set to receive a lot of funding in the coming years. For many years to come, it appears to be an appealing space for investors.


The Future

Giving its early applications, and the progress that is being made, it is widely accept ed that robotics will play a huge role in the future of construction.

Various areas of commercial real estate stand to experience compelling changes in the coming years as artificial intelligence (AI) and other technological advances change the way businesses carry out their day-to-day operations. One of the substantial advancements in AI is the emergence of industrial robots capable of autonomous and intelligent action. AI advancements enable robots to perform complex motion planning, which, when combined with other emerging technologies like visual detection, could lead to a significant reduction in the demand for traditional human labour in the future. Several major retailers and other businesses have begun to increase the use of robots and other technologies in their operations in recent years.

Robotics in the field today is paving the way for future builders by demonstrating the technology's ability to increase productivity and reduce rework. For robotics to take hold in the construction industry, the industry must continue to equip machines with sensors that collect data and provide machine intelligence. That data is being used to enable machines to transmit data, such as notifying owners when equipment fails or requires maintenance, as well as where it is on the jobsite.

Being optimistic and based on current developments in the research community, technological advancements, we can expect significant advancements in the use of robots during the construction and O&M [operations and maintenance] phases within the next decade.

Like any new technology, Robotics comes with the potential to improve the execution and quality of routine tasks radically by making them faster, cheaper and more accurate. To realize the full benefit of the technology, Real Estate companies will have to break existing silos among people and processes. Eventually, the companies using Robotics can achieve the two-fold benefit of being able to deploy their people to more meaningful tasks and enhancing their overall productivity.