Ali Sajwani, managing director of operations and technology at DAMAC, speaks to Technical Review Middle East about the evolution of the construction industry through digital technologies
How can digital technologies be used in the construction process to improve operational efficiencies, collaboration and employee safety?
Precision building, waste reduction, quicker project completions and leveraging safety and security for man and machine both are some of the key advantages of digital technologies in the construction process. As a real estate development company, we are constantly striving to offer our customers the best of services, including a quick turnaround time on their investments. With the adaptation of these new technologies in the construction stage of the project, we can ease the pain points and prepare a handover with little to zero delays.
Where does DAMAC play a role in the adaptation of new technologies?
Over the past few years, we have been on an accelerated digitalisation transition process. We are upgrading all our systems, introducing applications and leveraging customer service to a new level, unseen anywhere else in the region before. Sitting afar, across the seas, our customers can now have a 360-degree view of their investment and make an informed decision through a tangible experience we are offering for their unit viewing. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, we observed that due to travel restrictions, we were seeing far fewer customers wanting a physical meeting and touring of a property. Things are different now, and it will continue to be so going forward, where customers and service providers can both benefit from the many advantages of new technologies. We are exploring the many advantages of ChatGPT as well as artificial intelligence to further enhance customer experience and decision-making.
What is your idea of the smart city of the future?
A city like Dubai where new technologies are adapted instantly, and where man and machine work in tandem towards a future that is progressive and livable. A smart city is also when many of the menial tasks that included hours of manual attention can be automated for a quick, efficient and user-friendly completion. Cities that use smart technology within their buildings, their road networks and their overall infrastructure are what I feel makes a city of the future. Most importantly, it is the vision of its leadership, who not only encourage the immersion and implementation of new technologies, but to also constantly train its citizens, in particular its youth, towards becoming a future-ready tech-savvy community.
How important is it for all stakeholders to work together to achieve the connected city, and how can this be achieved?
The way of the world today and tomorrow is through digitalisation. Advanced technologies that accentuate digitalisation help building strong, connected cities. In order for this to happen, stakeholders such as businesses and policy makers must work together, hand in hand to create and execute the blueprint of a well-connected city. A key factor in achieving this vision is by empowering the youth and offering them ample opportunities and training facilities to run such a connected city.
In recent times, DAMAC has been driving its brand towards becoming a luxury real estate provider with a series of new launches that include branded residences. How have your tech drives been able to support this vision?
We are at one of our most exciting times at DAMAC. We are expanding in geography, market, and product line – all enhanced using the power of digitalisation and advanced technologies. One of our exciting exercises is building an enriched portfolio of luxury beachfront and resort living products in collaborations with iconic global luxury brands such as Cavalli, de GRISOGONO, Fendi, Versace, and Zuhair Murad. An example of this is plans we have committed towards our upcoming project, where we are currently developing a luxury resort in collaboration with Mandarin Oriental in the Maldives. The resort will not only have the best in terms of amenities and facilities, but we have also been mindful in accommodating several sustainability features. We aim to work on this category by offering our clientele amenities that are equipped to a modern, contemporary lifestyle using the enhanced power of digital technology. I am confident that the inclusion of new technologies in this manner is going to be a game changer for the real estate and property sectors.