“Hello – pleased to meet you. I’m Neela. How can I help you?” Aareon’s AI-based virtual assistant, known as Neela, is set to adopt an increasingly independent role in helping to communicate with tenants. Currently still in the pilot phase, Neela will gradually transform tenant support in the future.

Plenty of skills
If you ask Neela about her skills, the focus is on helping customers of housing companies and saving their tenants precious time. Customers will be able to communicate with her around the clock, initially via chat and in a second stage via voice. The more queries Neela deals with, the faster the underlying algorithm will learn, to the point where an increasing number of tasks can be dealt with in the field of tenant communication. Greg Johns, Group Product Strategy Manager at Aareon, says:

“At the age of 25, Neela has successfully completed her AI studies. Her exceptional thirst for knowledge means that she is learning more all the time. We considered it important to endow our virtual assistant with some character. The result is Neela.”

Plenty of technology
Neela is equipped with artificial intelligence, state-of-the-art chatbot functions and the latest digital technology. The implementation process is set to cover three stages, starting with the basic level, which will see Neela providing access to existing services and processes via a communication channel. She will then be able to respond to a significant proportion of incoming queries regarding payment processes automatically and arrange dates for repair work with tradespeople, to name just several examples. The second stage will see Neela offering users guidance, training and support in her role as a “smart virtual assistant”, while in the third, she will graduate to “intelligent personal assistant”, becoming the central point of contact for everyone involved, tenants and housing companies’ service providers alike. She will also continue to render processes simpler and more convenient and take intelligent decisions.

Neela is expanding her skills in stages

In the first stage, she is supplying existing services such as replying to tenant queries about payment processes. In the second stage, she can provide training courses and offer significantly more support. In the third stage, she will graduate to “intelligent personal assistant”, becoming the central point of contact for tenants, housing companies and service providers.

Plenty of benefits
Aareon’s main objective with Neela is to provide customers and their tenants with an additional automated service channel that is accessible around the clock and supplements digital channels such as apps and online portals. Customers will be able to communicate with Neela via SMS, social media channels and even smart speakers such as Google Home and Amazon Echo. “If you consider that the majority of queries received by housing companies from tenants, for instance, are simple standard questions, it makes a lot of sense to use a virtual assistant to deal with them automatically. Customers will get a quicker response and the resulting extra capacities can be used to tackle more complex issues,” explains Greg Johns.

In future, it will be possible to also
operate Neela using a smart speaker.
Photo: Adobe Stock

“All organisations with a high level of customer support – whether in public, private or social housing – can benefit from Neela.” Neela can be fully integrated in Aareon’s ERP solutions and portals/apps. She will collect and update data, trigger the correct response and keep a record of her actions. This will ultimately save costs and time alike. Customer service staff will have more time to deal with other tasks, while tenants will no longer have to wait to get through to someone, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction.

Plenty of development
The virtual assistant was developed in a process of international collaboration starting in early 2019 and involving various approaches, including the design thinking method. Swedish housing company Stena Fastigheter was involved as the pilot customer as of May 2019. “A particularly challenging aspect of development was selecting the use cases, which have to be able to be implemented from a technical perspective while also providing sufficient added value for customers,” says Katarina Falk, Director ERP Solutions at Aareon Nordics. “Working in close collaboration with both customers and the Aareon Group has been an exciting and insightful experience for Aareon Nordics. We really noticed the benefits of being included in such a large-scale undertaking.”

Stena Fastigheter has been using the virtual assistant in test operation. Pernilla Fröden from Stena Fastigheter explains the reasons behind its decision:

“For us, Neela’s added value is not a purely cost-related consideration. We want to use her to boost our brand – to provide a better, wider-ranging service for tenants and offer a customer touch point far superior to the norm.”

Plenty of investment

Aareon is not just investing heavily in virtual assistants, but in a host of new technologies besides. In 2019, EUR 38 million was spent on research and development activities alone. As Imad Abdallah, Member of Aareon’s Management Board, in charge of digital solutions, emphasised at the Neela launch announcement: “Aareon’s virtual assistant Neela is yet another product of our future-oriented activities in research and development. We are investing extensively with a view to using new technologies for our solutions, thereby creating added value for our customers.”

Pilot customer
Stena Fastigheter



is the total number Stena Fastigether manages – primarily in the Gothenburg, Malmo and Stockholm, areas.

The company was founded in


Stena Fastigheter

is one of Sweden’s biggest private housing companies.

   Get to know Neela and learn more
about her capabilities.