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From automation to analytics; how Aparna Constructions is using digital tech to make buildings smart

One of South India’s leading real estate firms, Aparna Constructions as been leveraging various digital technologies for contruction and customer experience. In an interaction with Express Computer, Rakesh Reddy C, Director, Aparna Constructions, shares details

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What are the recent digital initiatives and key areas wherein Aparna Constructions has been adopting technology?
At Aparna Constructions we have been at the forefront of using technology to enable sustainable construction practices in India. High-rise buildings are proportionally more resource-hungry than smaller buildings. In high-rise buildings, the structure is a large portion of the overall cost, and hence, the building materials and construction process can significantly influence its overall efficiency. In the current scenario, technology has been playing a very crucial role in the construction process. It has enabled real estate players like us to innovate with new processes and make our buildings more efficient. Technology has paved the way for many new practices. For example, the use of a robust Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system has helped us to reduce unplanned breakdowns, while streamlining work practices, minimising maintenance lifecycle costs, and increasing labour productivity.

We also use technology to make our homes smarter and unique. All of Aparna’s luxury projects are equipped with smart home automation systems using voice, smartphone and physical commands. The smart home facilities include device connectivity, sensor feedback, and data analysis. The wireless ecosystem and functionality can be added to almost any electronic device, such as appliances, window shades, thermostats, and lighting. The home automation system unifies all home electronics into an integrated wireless network, with no complicated programming and no new cables to run.

Aparna One is Hyderabad’s first ultra-luxury high-rise residential apartment gated community, as well as Hyderabad’s tallest residential tower. The project is equipped with voice-based smart digital assistant wherein the residents can control the lighting, fans, ACs, geysers, and video through voice. Facilities include a personal lobby for each apartment, centralised AC, motion sensor for lighting, panic button and gas leak detectors. Continuing Aparna’s adherence to international eco-friendly standards, the project is an IGBC Pre-Certified Platinum project.

What are the key use cases of IT in your business and what are their business benefits?
At our company, we have a robust IT infrastructure which we use throughout our operations. Since approximately 80 per cent of savings result from stages prior to construction, addressing inefficiencies in vendor management and bid management processes is a key area where we employ technology.

We also use technology for procurement. We extensively use automation across the entire process from planning and strategy to selection and contract management. Automation at the bid level can help us manage the aggregation and analysis of incoming data. It helps create a smart system that can quickly determine cost savings and opportunities. The objective is to engage with as many bidders as possible to ensure diligence and widen the pool of suppliers. Automation helps manage this ecosystem. It also creates a transparent system that makes it easy to move from a macro view of projects to micro details on bids, documentation, reviews, and conversions.

How is the company leveraging emerging technologies such as analytics, AI, machine learning, IoT?
At the heart of our innovation strategy is big data and analytics. We regularly conduct online behavioural experiments to understand the market sentiment and accordingly adopt the most suitable communication strategy. We also employ data analytics during the design phase. Whereas, energy modelling tools allow us to make our projects more eco-friendly. We conduct energy analysis during the conceptual designs of the building, so its efficiency is integrated into the design. Every project is designed to maximise natural light, energy and airflow.

Additionally, the implementation of a robust backend IT infrastructure at our projects allows us to prevent and solve problems in real time using sensor technology. All projects maintain a sewage treatment plant, water treatment plant and rainwater harvesting system on-site. By collecting resource usage and waste data, we are continuously streamlining our designs and operations to save additional costs while also protecting natural resources.

How are you reaping benefits of digital technologies for enhancing customer experience?
Digital media is the most cost-effective and personalised channel to engage with customers. Data analytics plays a major role in our planning and design of digital marketing initiatives. The company website is a comprehensive platform for its multiple projects in different cities and locations. The website provides users with a wide range of choices, in a mobile-first approach, by providing each user with a personalized web experience. We utilise virtual 3D walk-throughs of our projects which gives an immersive experience. We use photos and videos to show the status of each project so buyers have an updated view on progress. Each user is provided with a customised web experience based on personalised mapping. This is followed by the integration of automation tools for lead nurturing through emails, social media and online advertisements. This results in a more immersive and personalized online experience.

According to you, what will be the next big game-changer technology in the real estate business?
One of the key priorities in the industry now will be to create more of sustainable buildings and structures. Deploying technology for better understanding of the conditions and to design smarter buildings should be the way forward. For example, the usage of drones to get accurate footage of construction sites, combined with advanced analysis and design methodologies will help the industry to envision and create more energy efficient smart buildings.

Environmental responsibility is becoming a high priority as buildings are utilising eco-friendly materials and integrating natural sources of energy into the architectural design such as rainwater harvesting, waste management and solar power.

One of the emerging trends in the space is Building Information Modelling. Energy modelling tools can optimise a building’s architecture and layout, so efficiency is integrated into the design. This improves operational efficiency of the buildings, promotes conservation of natural resources and enhances the overall health of residents.

What will be the technology best practices for the real estate industry in a post COVID world?
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced digital transformation upon the real estate sector. Day-to-day operations must find digital and remote alternatives. This includes administration, procurement, marketing, training and recruitment activities. Having a robust IT infrastructure will allow real estate developers to create virtual workspaces for teams to minimise face-to-face meetings. With the benefits of tapping into a geographically diverse talent pool, companies will increasingly explore how to make remote working part of their company’s culture. The sector will have to introduce technology-based systems such as e-learning into their training and development programmes. This means incorporating personalised micro-learning, gamification, virtual reality, and augmented reality for corporate learning.

Construction site analytics will be employed to streamline operations and segregate teams into different shifts to prevent unnecessary crowding at construction sites. Developers will provide health monitoring at construction sites to ensure the welfare of the workers.

What is the technology roadmap envisioned for the future?
Aparna Constructions is renowned for continuously surpassing industry standards and spearheading innovation in the real estate industry. The next phase of Aparna’s innovation strategy is going to be the increased use of emerging technologies. The technology behind standard industry practices such as ERP, project management and customer service is rapidly evolving. Old processes are being disrupted by new technologies that did not exist a few years ago, some of the popular ones being AR, VR and big data analytics. We will introduce emerging technologies to further accelerate innovation in the business while maintaining the company’s customer-centric values and vision.

Putting the customers first has always been the driving force of Aparna Constructions and technology helps the company accomplish this. Continuously implementing innovative ways to improve customer experience is Aparna’s key market differentiator. The goal for the construction industry must be to improve the lives of residents and overall community, while safeguarding the environment. The use of technology plays a big role in these efforts.

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1 Comment
  1. Aaliya says

    Wow. Thanks for sharing this. I was looking for a nice gated community in Hyderabad. Happy to know about Aparna Construction and Aparna One. It is inspiring to see how this business has grown and has embraced technology for sustainable growth. Congratulations on all your future successes. I am sure you can deliver more.

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