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iProperty Exploits Big Data to Help Developers Meet Consumer Demand

iProperty Group has created a Big Data division to spearhead its Big Data initiative. Formed in late 2014, the division is tasked with creating value from iProperty-owned data and to look at ways to use Big Data to enhance the Group’s leadership position in Asia.

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A dashboard created using Tableau to understand property market trends, comparing supply and demand in the marketplace and consumer property preferences.

Challenges: iProperty is the largest property portal in Asia and has been collecting significant amounts of data since it was formed in 2007. The organization had issues attaining insights from the large amounts of data collected. Due to a lack of Big Data tools, it was an uphill task in manipulating and utilizing the data effectively.  Countless hours were wasted performing manual interpretations to make sense of the large amounts of data available which was potentially am information gold mine for iProperty.

As the organization had multiple sources of data, it was difficult to create dashboards that combined these various datasets. Not only was it time consuming to create such a complex dashboard, but there were concerns on how accurate the ensuing information was. As a result, iProperty could not effectively provide property trends and carry out real estate market research.

Datasets identified for Big Data Analytics: Property listings data, search and browsing data, other relevant 3rd party data.

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Property-type search trend in Malaysia.

Solution: iProperty leveraged several Big Data technologies and data warehouses. With an average of 1.5 million user behavior transactions collected daily, iProperty needed a proper data warehouse system and sufficient computing power to analyze all the data. The Cassandra Database System was chosen for its scalability and high performance capability. Additionally, real-time data is streamed to Google’s Big Query platform, enabling iProperty to access and manipulate the data efficiently. Microsoft’s Azure Machine Learning is also used to perform prediction with the data collected, enabling iProperty to better understand its consumers.

Tableau helped iProperty combine a variety of data sources in order to provide rich analysis, while creating powerful and interactive visualizations that provide insights into property and consumer trends in Asia. iProperty uses Tableau’s mapping capabilities extensively to quickly identify geographic data within their datasets and plot it into Tableau map. Geo-analysis is very useful for iProperty as its listings spans across the region – from Malaysia to Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines and Hong Kong. The drag-and-drop flexibility of Tableau allows the organization’s data professionals to quickly draw insights from their massive pool of datasets and turn it into a visually appealing and interactive dashboard in a matter of minutes.

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Trending searches on iProperty Malaysia based on real-time data analytics.

Benefits / ROIs obtained: With the Big Data solutions in place and Tableau used as the visualization software, iProperty was able to generate various dashboards showing property trends in Asia as well as analyze consumer sentiments to provide valuable insights to its clients. For instance, property developers can now determine the kind of developments they should undertake to meet consumer demand. The various visualization options available via Tableau were powerful and easy to use, providing iProperty customers with easy-to-navigate dashboards. Before Tableau, it took several days of painful trial and error to analyze just a subset of the large amounts of data iProperty has. Life after Tableau is much better now as analysis can be done on the fly and what used to take days to complete is now accomplished within hours and sometimes minutes.

iProperty’s Big Data product is called iPropertyIQ and it is a critical initiative for the group. We are very excited about the opportunities that are available with this new product and are looking at Big Data as a critical enabler for all aspects of our business. We are looking to innovate and continuously launch new services and insights that are powered by Big Data and we find Tableau to be an important tool to help us present our analysis effectively. Effective visualization is extremely important in order to present analysis in an easy to understand manner and can have a powerful impact on our audience. We have invested in Tableau for this reason and are extremely happy with the results so far.  – Harmit Singh, Chief Information Officer (CIO), iProperty Group

Moving forward: iProperty continues to innovate in the Big Data space and is looking to launch several exciting features on its Digital Assets (web and mobile) to showcase analytics from its Big Data team. The data collected will be used to provide demand/supply trends via strategic analytics. Data will presented and visualized in Tableau allowing users to easily view them in different dimensions, perform slice and dice on the fly.

These customer insights and trends provide developers to make better business decisions during different stages of their property planning and marketing strategy. With iPropertyIQ, developers can now gain accurate insights into marketing campaigns, consumer preferences and improve core competitiveness. In the future, iProperty is also looking at developing advanced analytics solutions to perform predictive analytics.

Article Source: Harmit Singh, Chief Information Officer (CIO), iProperty Group
Industry: Property
Client: iProperty Group
Big Data Visualization Solution Provider: Tableau

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