Imran Ali Khan - Co-Founder and CEO - Dubizzle Group-1698393582737
"Our wider use of AI to enhance user experience across our platforms includes personalized marketing, user personalization features, and document verification, to name a few," said Khan. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Such has been buzz about AI that it would seem as if the technology is brand new to the marketplace, and ready for implementation across projects. That’s what trends are about, giving immediacy to things that had already been bubbling under the surface awaiting a breakthrough moment.

Government agencies and businesses in the UAE have to various levels already been deploying AI and made full use of its potential. Usually placed in consumer-facing digital services, the AI part of it has so far been unobtrusive. And focused on delivering what consumers were looking for, and giving it to them in a most seamless manner. (If it’s a Wow factor that users want with their AI, they are better off keeping tabs on ChatGPT or any of the Gen Ai stuff…)

One enterprise that’s had form with A is the Dubizzle Group, the listings company and the name behind Bayut and the likes. In a chat with Gulf News, Imran Ali Khan, co-founder and CEO of Dubizzle Group, has his say on AI. And on its latest charged up version of it.

Did your real estate services platform already have AI enabled features before the whole conversation over Gen Ai started?

We have been well ahead of the curve with AI, having used it to enhance efficiencies across key business operations through a dedicated AI lab since 2016.

We focus on three areas: innovation in user experience, operational efficiencies for cost optimization, and commercial and sales process improvement to boost revenue.

For instance, we have AI-powered engines working to enhance our users’ browsing experience on our classifieds portals by tailoring content to individual preferences based on user behavior. We also use AI systems to conduct sentiment analysis, automate category classification for new listings, extract text from images, and detect malicious QR codes in chat messages. All this leads to improved content quality and a significant reduction in manual operational workload.

We are now proud to have launched BayutGPT, the world’s first AI-powered property search assistant, designed to help property seekers have a more interactive, data-enriched search experience.

BayutGPT’s conversational AI capabilities enable a range of property search and market or investment research functions for users, who can interact with it in natural language. We’re already seeing rapid uptake of this new tool.

Businesses sure are engaging with AI features more, especially consumer fronting ones. In your case, how easy or otherwise was embedding these features?

We have always been a tech-savvy organization and we continue to pioneer industry-leading innovations in prop-tech.

In 2017, we started developing a new platform with the vision of creating a single-stack solution, scalable across geographies and business categories. Today, this platform is operating across all our geographies and powering all category verticals, including real estate, autos and other general classifieds.

The platform’s architecture has helped us with the ability to easily develop and deploy new technologies and features. It’s as simple as putting new building blocks on a strong and robust foundation.

Plus, developing a feature for one need makes it available across all our geographies and categories, driving immense cross-market synergies and cost-efficiencies.

Some AI-powered features, such as pricing engines and personalized recommendations, were developed on top of existing architecture and deployed everywhere in a short span. More intricate features, such as those requiring scheduled tasks or functionalities that operate in real-time, are more complex.

But our highly streamlined product development ecosystem and the best-in-class tech capabilities of over 400 full-time tech employees allow us to deliver innovation without compromising on user experience.

Did you buy any off the shelf feature and then integrate? Or was it in-house?

We leverage certain foundational services, but none of our AI tools or features are off-the-shelf. We have built on underlying AI technology to meticulously personalize and optimize for our own use-cases.

By way of example, BayutGPT is based on ChatGPT Large Language Model (LLM), but it offers a much wider and more advanced set of features compared to ready-made products with basic chatbot capabilities. It is customized to work seamlessly with our vast data repositories, and it leverages them to answer a host of complex user queries.

Users can ask questions to learn more about the average rental yields in various communities, popular locations, the availability of bed types in specific locations, and even ask for personalized property recommendations based on their preferences.

What exactly does the AI feature provide in your case?

When users think about AI, they generally think about the front-end of a platform, like an app. But this only represents a small portion of technology solutions. Much of our technology lies in back-end solutions across many functions which may not be visible to the consumer.

As such, we leverage AI in a dual capacity, enhancing both back-end and consumer-facing features.

Our wider use of AI to enhance user experience across our platforms includes personalized marketing, user personalization features, and document verification, to name a few.

At the back-end, we use AI to moderate and classify images, moderate listings, more quickly and efficiently classify categories, and detect objects in images. There are also significant benefits to our commercial operations, where we benefit from the opportunities we create with sales lead prioritization, dynamic pricing models, sentiment analysis, and automated instant property and car valuations.

Ours is a genuinely holistic approach to AI, adapting the best technologies from around the world to best serve our audience, while building and scaling our own innovations.