What does it mean to be a digital person—and why would multifamily ope

“Well, I am an android. Lieutenant Commander Data,” Data replied.

“Synthetic Scotch, synthetic commanders,” shrugged Mr. Scott.

Boomers, Millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z have all cultivated a fascination for sci-fi, futuristic worlds, and characters in gaming, film, and literature. As evidenced by the flourishing AR gaming industry, which is expected to reach $284.93 billion by 2023, interacting in a virtual world is an extremely popular form of entertainment escapism. The ability to create your own avatar that’s faster, smarter, more skilled, and dynamic in every way can offer hours of empowerment and excitement.

But the application of virtual reality and augmented reality isn’t limited to entertainment. These technologies are finding their way into the mechanisms of the everyday, real world. And virtual though they may be, digitally created humans can provide enormous benefit and purpose to our physical world and lives.

WHAT IN THE WORLD IS A DIGITAL PERSON?

With the adoption of AR and VR accelerated every day, you may have already experienced a digital person. Digital people are human-like characters created by combining two primary technologies—computer-generated images and artificial intelligence—to craft a fully autonomous personality. Unlike a chatbot, you can interact with this visible person in lifelike and real conversations.

Digital humans can interact, learn, and express themselves in human-like ways. Their distinct personalities and emotional intelligence enable them to read the face and emotional tone of their human counterparts and adjust their responses accordingly. This AI-powered ability means digital humans are always learning and applying that knowledge to provide even more life-like engagements.

We are just beginning to realize the enormous value and impact this technology holds, not only for its entertainment value, but also for the future of every industry and society as a whole.

HOW WILL METAVERSE DIGITAL HUMANS FUNCTION IN OUR WORLD?

Meta is a Greek word meaning beyond or transcending. Therefore, conceptually, a digital metaverse is an immersive digital reality separate from our physical world where you can meet people, interact, and experience life. This universe (within our own) has groundbreaking potential as a new omnichannel for every brand and business.

Imagine virtual stores where digital people guide you through the shopping experience, answering questions and personalizing your product selections. Digital brand ambassadors and mascots become “real” entities. They promote product lines and hold virtual events that enhance the customers’ experience, helping to deepen the relationship between a brand and its customers. The potential for digital persons and the environments in which they might function is seemingly endless. Their introduction and proliferation are projected to revolutionize commerce, hospitality, health care, behavioral science, social media engagements, and many other industry sectors.

We could pick almost any industry as an example, but let’s use multifamily residential leasing to illustrate some of the business and social advantages of applying digital-person solutions.

A 24/7/365 AGENT WHO IS NEVER STRESSED OR ILL (AND NEVER QUITS)

In the age of AI and automation, an exceptional customer experience means giving consumers what they want: emotional engagement, personalization, and frictionless self-service. A busy leasing office must deal with numerous distractions and mundane tasks. In addition, there are customer-facing activities such as property tours and finalizing applicant paperwork. On the flip side, applicants must find time in their schedules to research properties and amenities, schedule and visit those properties, and initiate and complete a lengthy application process.

But what if the agent could offload some or even most of their tasks to a capable digital coworker with unrestricted availability? And what if rental applicants could virtually tour a property with a personable, informed agent, right from the comfort of their couch and whenever they have a free moment?

Technology to do this is emerging and is transforming how multifamily operators and customers engage in the property selection and leasing process. A digital agent can efficiently carry out whatever functions they are programmed to perform. For the multifamily property sector, these might include:

  • Providing interactive, informative virtual property listings and tours while engaging customers with natural dialogue and responses, including multilingual capabilities
  • Responding to calls and service requests 24/7 and easily scaling to handle larger call volumes or unexpected spikes
  • Collecting rental payments and signing renters up for additional products and services like renter’s insurance or parking
  • Promoting the decor or furnishings featured within the virtual apartment
  • Evaluating leads based on early customer engagement, expediting pre-qualified leads into the sales funnel for leasing, and freeing agents for higher-value tasks
  • Conducting the full leasing application process and finalizing rental paperwork
  • Providing a relatable brand ambassador that speaks to customer interests, predicts behaviors, and promotes brand values ​​through a frictionless experience

And unlike web pages and online forms that yesterday’s residents were used to, a digital person can perform such tasks while directly interacting with their human customers.

PREPARING FOR A METAVERSE FULL OF DIGITAL PEOPLE

As metaverse platforms and their lifelike occupants become more accepted and integrated, the number of AI-powered applications is projected to grow astronomically. Emergen Research estimates that by 2030, the market for the applications of digital persons will be worth over $527 billion.

To integrate digital human software into your tech stack, consider strengthening your online presence, research AR and VR apps, and establish the right connectivity to integrate solutions. Work with solution providers on how to integrate your data with their platform.

Reimagine your brand beyond the two-dimensional in a more interactive, multisensory way. Recognize the value of AI technologies that can take your brand to the next level while promoting an engaging customer experience that keeps them coming back for more. You might not provide an android to serve your residents a synthetic Scotch, but you may come closer than you realize.


John McNelly serves as Chief Product + Marketing Officer at Quext, a cutting-edge apartment technology and software company.

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