Stephen Sheldon: The real estate industry has clearly faced some challenges over the last few months as a byproduct of the pandemic, as it’s been slower than other industries to adopt technology. In this situation, though, with in-person interactions being restricted and a much higher need for operational efficiency, we think the current pandemic could force more adoption to the benefit of the well-positioned technology providers. So, a few examples of where we’re seeing this in the near term. Frist there has been a massive increase in virtual property tours and inspections for both residential and commercial properties. While it’s being forced more or less in the near term, we believe comfort with the virtual representations of properties could increase even after this pandemic. And some parties are actually transacting right now on properties with only having seen them virtually for both leases and outright sales. Second, appraisals have historically been a highly manual process that normally includes physically going into many properties. In the current environment we’re seeing higher adoption of alternatives often with the blessing of regulators, including desktop appraisals and higher adoption of automated-evaluation models. Third, we believe the demand is increasing for artificial intelligence solutions across the real estate landscape. This would include areas like mortgage originations and in the leasing process for the multi-family space where there are arguably some high-frequency, low-value manual interactions where AI solutions can drive a lot of efficiency. Fourth, you’re also seeing a major uptick in digital rental payments and I think most people remain surprised about the high percentage of payments that are still made either by cash or check. And this environment is forcing many tenants and properties to at least temporarily adopt digital payment solutions.
Over the longer term, we’re excited about the way real estate decisions could be improved by incorporating better data and analytical tools. We believe many decisions in the industry are still made through professional gut instincts, given the lack of broad, high-quality data in many parts of the ecosystem. In this environment, we would expect higher usage of system of record providers across the industry and the improving breadth and depth of data could be used to drive higher yield on real estate assets over time.