It has been said that once an industry starts the transition into the digital world it doesn’t come back. Technology is constantly evolving the way that we approach everyday life, from ordering takeaway through apps right to getting same day delivery from Amazon. Technology has been instrumental in changing the financial sector and now we have PropTech, revolutionising the property sector by putting people and purpose at the heart of what is otherwise a largely transactional industry.
On the surface, PropTech might sound like another trend, however, property search sites like Rightmove and Zoopla have paved the way for PropTech. Since then rental sites like Air B’n’B appeared and now, we have turnkey apartments providers like Blueground, shaping the way we approach property rental. But the digital transformation is not just about technology and apps, it’s also about people and developing the way we interact with the property industry and experience our homes.
Once upon a time, location was the key element in property search, but since technology has become so ingrained in our lives, location is only a smart part of the search, with property buyers and renters alike looking for more from their property. From the ability to control air conditioning and heating externally to lighting and utilities, the modern consumer expects this and more all at their fingertips. Because of this, PropTech businesses have to consider the consumer first so what we are seeing is consumer-led innovation.
The future of PropTech
Early adopters that are already using PropTech have the ability to build on existing ideas and infrastructure but there is unimaginable scope to develop the use of technology in property further. For residential property, developers SevenCapital have already adopted VR for virtual house tours to enable their clients to view potential homes, especially those who are buying off-plan where currently there is no house to view. In recent years we have seen examples of people buying homes with Bitcoin, so we might see an increase in Blockchain technology being used to purchase property. Developers and architects using 3D printing to create models for new properties and property renovation is another example of PropTech already in practice.
PropTech may also be integral in tackling climate concerns and impacting social change. Utility companies are leading the way with SmartMeters, offering customers dashboards that allow them to monitor their fuel usage. This data can also be useful in addressing fuel poverty concerns where homes are going without fuel. In the UK local authorities are using PropTech to tackle health welfare issues with technology that can detect damp and monitor humidity in homes, in order to improve living conditions. From a legal and financial aspect PropTech may bring about stricter regulations on landlords, including imposing identity checks which will tackle issues with fraud and money laundering.
Not only does PropTech invent new avenues for consumers to connect with the property industry but, it brings new career development opportunities for those already in the industry and professionals working in other sectors that rely on technology.
Keeping up with the curve
As with any industry, professionals find a way to adapt to the changing tide of services and technology and by adapting, they are able to capitalise. Others, however, who are more resistant to change might find that they are working harder to keep up or might find themselves in a position whereby they are closing business, but we are a long way off talking about shutting up shop. Online real estate company Yopa are a good example of professionals adopting the digitalisation of real estate.
“I’m a professional, how can I keep up with PropTech?”
If PropTech is completely new to you, the idea of adopting or investing can be daunting, here are three ways you can keep ahead of the curve.
- Keep up to date with the current PropTech news. Technology is always changing so understanding how it moves is an essential starting point.
- Keep in mind that your clients needs will change as PropTech evolves, communicate with your clients to understand what their needs are so you know how best to deliver.
- Consider ways you can invest in PropTech, set up a budget for investment but ultimately ensure that you develop a solid knowledge base before making any financial commitments.
Industry by industry, technology is assisting and reshaping the way we live so it is no surprise that property is on that list. With the ability for positive change we don’t think that PropTech is going anywhere, in fact, we believe it’s up to us to decide the direction PropTech goes and the impact it has in the future.
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