PropTech is the collective term used to describe the wave of tech innovations set to disrupt real estate markets. The future is both exciting and hard to predict for the real estate industry at the moment as PropTech is already starting to make its presence felt in both the residential and commercial property worlds. There may be some work to get through before its effects are as game changing as the FinTech (Finance Technology) disruption we are currently witnessing, but as with all other disruptive technology waves, the future is nearer than you might think.
How will PropTech change real estate?
Whilst it’s impossible to predict the future of technology with any degree of certainty, we can make some pretty educated assumptions based on the existing PropTech ecosystem as well as the evolution of previous tech waves. The adoption and longevity of any technology hinges ultimately on whether it improves the lives of its users. In the world of real estate, this means that many specialisms will be enhanced by new and emerging tech solutions whilst others may be replaced entirely.
It’s not hard to imagine a future only a few years away from now when a company might be able to find and acquire properties by leveraging Big Data. Blockchain technology can then be used to drastically speed up the purchase. Thereafter a model of the renovated property can be quickly generated with 3D printing technology and, finally, interactive tours of the property can be offered with the use of Virtual Reality to assist with selling.
But this is only one scenario in an ever more complex landscape and how tech might shape for any given specialism within the real estate sector is best assessed by an experienced head with a good understanding of the emerging trends in the industry.
So, should real estate professionals be worried by the rise of PropTech?
The short answer is it depends. The technology revolution is disrupting all industries and presents huge opportunities to early adopters. As has always been the case however, professionals and companies that are slow or resistant to change risk being left behind and so the threat of becoming obsolete is real. We are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution which is seeing the lines between the physical and digital worlds merged ever closer. The change that technology brings is demonstrably game changing and as a result, the benefits to those who capitalise on it early are similarly game changing.
Here are some tips to ensure you stay ahead of the PropTech curve:
Clients: How are your clients’ needs evolving? What technology can you adopt that will ultimately make life for your clients easier?
Read: Keep up to date with industry news and in particular emerging tech. Keep yourself informed and view technology as a crucially important topic
Invest: Set aside budget for investing in technology. Be sure to develop a good base understanding of PropTech before assigning funds but make sure this is considered a priority in your business.
Which technology should you adopt first?
The answer to that question really does depend on exactly what you do and who your customers are. For real estate investors and developers, streamlining projects to optimise profitability should be the first port of call. Software that connects staff and contractors, automates project management and handles finances (including Return on Investment calculators for your portfolio) adds tremendous value and serves as a good base upon which other technologies can adopted further down the line.