After the platforms took the world by storm to write essays, craft poems and quench one’s curiosity, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Inc. is now harnessing generative AI models to deliver commercial real estate insights.
Chicago-headquartered JLL claims it is the first use of a purpose-built Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) AI technology in CRE.
The company announced JLL GPT as its latest tool to assist its employees with an AI-powered platform that produces CRE-related information in response to a user query.
Curious about the current asking rent for a class-A building in a particular city? A JLL employee can ask JLL GPT to scan through its banks of data to figure that out.
“It’s not a huge jump for us to also quickly adopt the generative AI technology because it definitely has a lot of benefits that benefit our employees, and through our employees, benefit our clients,” Yao Morin, JLL’s chief technology officer, told RENX in an interview.
Applying GPT for CRE
Though ChatGPT has become an increasingly popular this year, Morin said JLL is not chasing after headlines.
She could not disclose how long JLL had the GPT under development, but said it required years of efforts with a team of experts, its technology platform and data.
JLL already utilizes AI in tools for capital markets and optimizing energy consumption in buildings.
JLL GPT sifts through enormous quantities of in-house and external CRE data, such as information about daily building operations or office contracts, to provide its answers to questions.
For example, rather than performing extensive research and data analysis to understand daily foot traffic and how space is used in a CRE building, JLL GPT allows the facility manager to ask the AI platform questions about the busiest times in the building to get a clear answer in a “natural and dynamic conversation,” Morin said.
A different – and cuter – example would involved asking JLL GPT about the pet policies at a particular office, to figure out if you can bring your furry friend into the area.
It is, surprisingly, not an easy question to answer, Morin said. Not only do you have to first identify the right lease, you must then sift through hundreds of pages of documents to discover the pet policy.
Instead, a manager can ask JLL GPT to look up the lease and produce the answer.
“It immediately pulls up the right paragraph on pet policy and then can solve it in seconds, not hours.”
More than 11,000 JLL employees used JLL GPT in the first 48 hours according to the company.
Enhancing, not replacing employees
As to the debate over whether AI will replace workers, Morin believes JLL GPT will support JLL employees, not replace them.
Morin likened its assistance to freeing up a Michelin-starred chef from having to wash the dishes or shop for ingredients. Essentially, it allows JLL employees to concentrate on the strategy side of their commercial real estate duties.
“One of the reasons why we built JLL GPT is to help enhance our people and then actually help them focus on the strategic thing instead of the mundane thing,” she said.
Currently, JLL GPT is available only internally, but JLL is exploring the possibility of offering it to order for clients.
Resolving questions over privacy and good data
JLL is aware of the concerns over unfiltered data scraping and the security of the data it feeds into its GPT.
Morin said there is still uncertainty about a public-facing GPT because of the company's data privacy and security guardrails.
JLL is “very serious” about data privacy, Morin said, and is addressing this problem by building its own GPT for more control over how the data is sourced and used. If JLL is not certain about the quality of the data, it will not use it and there are strict guidelines that lay out data it can and cannot use, she said.
“This requires evolution. We are not for sure perfect, but we are making sure that it’s not just you fill the data in,” Morin said.
JLL is taking efforts to eliminate "hallucinations" (an incorrect response that is invented by the AI) and false information.
The future for JLL GPT
The potential for JLL GPT is significant, Morin said, comparing its revolutionary potential to the sea change caused by mobile technology.
GPT will become a must-have technology for companies, she believes.
Morin said new features for JLL GPT will be added in the future.