Thursday, 06 August 2020
Most of us have probably heard the word ‘fintech’, a term used to describe the use of technology in the world of finance.
But another new phrase to be coined in the ever-evolving vocabulary of modern business in recent years is ‘proptech’.
An amalgamation of the words property and technology, proptech refers to the use of modern technology to refine and enhance the operations of the property sector.
The definition of proptech is a broad one, including apps and websites such as those used for booking meeting rooms or searching for real estate; hardware such as motion sensors, smart home-computers and drones for building inspections; and physical tech-made objects such as 3D-printed building materials.
Advances in proptech are having a profound and transformative impact on the industry. According to a survey of real-estate professionals by KPMG, 97% felt that digital innovations will have an influence on their business, while 78% said the influence of tech had already increased during the past 12 months.
In terms of investment, the last couple of years have seen a turning point at which proptech has begun to emerge from the shadow of its more well-established fintech sibling. Figures reveal that, from 2016 onwards, proptech startups began to receive real investment from venture capital funds. In the USA alone, this rose from $44.7m in 2012 to $6.5bn in 2017.
Statistics are all well and good, but what are the practicalities for everyday business?
From a property manager’s perspective, the advantages of proptech are many.
Time management and productivity
Proptech can facilitate a sharp reduction in the time and effort needed to undertake simple tasks. For example, clients can book meeting rooms online rather than manually, and payments can be automated.
Acquisition and retention
Let’s be clear: be it a phone, an app or a laptop, most people are now wedded to their tech. You can order a taxi from the palm of your hand, so why would you want to spend time manually booking a room or renting a serviced office the old-fashioned way? Convenience is key. Millennials value their time and the ease with which modern technology lets them complete various tasks.
Providing proptech that allows a prospective customer to view your portfolio, refine searches and book quickly and easily could be the difference between landing new business or watching it slip away to the rival that makes things easier than you do.
The better you know your customer, the easier it is to understand their needs. Proptech such as automated booking enables you to collect clients’ latest information, which means you can tailor your offering to suit – and send targeted marketing communications more likely to result in more business down the line.
The future of work
Proptech is just one element of a bigger picture known as “the future of work”. Essentially, this is a way of thinking that frees employees up to concentrate on more creative endeavours – and leaving the routine, everyday tasks to technology.
Being seen as part of this future trend today is also a key factor in enabling companies to stand out and differentiate themselves from competitors. And from a practical standpoint, it pays to employ a workforce that’s less tied up in everyday tasks and more focused on growing the business.
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