Proptech: ‘Technology will be the great differentiator’

Technology will become the great differentiator that will allow some real estate players to thrive while others fall behind, experts agreed at Real Asset Media’s Innovation, Data & Proptech Investment Briefing, which was held online recently.

‘There will be a massive amount of change over the next 12-18 months,’ said Antony Slumbers, CEO, PropAI. ‘You can make a lot of money or lose a lot of money, but you cannot stay still’.

But there is still a long way to go, he said, as ‘within the real estate industry most people still don’t have a good understanding of what technology can do. There’s a lack of imagination, fuelled by lack of knowledge on what the value proposition and the possible solutions are’.

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

It will be a gradual process, as industry players first learn what tech solutions are available and then choose the ones that are most suitable for them.

‘Proptech can be overwhelming and scary if you don’t know much about it, so you should focus on what you need, start with the Cloud and keep going, focusing on the opportunities’, said Tom Wallace, Founder & CEO, Re-Leased.

‘Begin by moving into the Cloud, enable people to work from home, start with the basic building blocks and then gradually grow from there,’ said Neal Gemassmer, Vice-President, International, Yardi Systems.

The result will be a more efficient and a more competitive business.

‘The transition to proptech is a process, not an event’, said Yasmina Darveniza, Investor, Round Hill Ventures. ‘It takes time for people to realise what it is they need and then get it implemented. In the next few years we’ll see more solutions pop up, but change is not happening as fast as it should’.

According to a snap poll conducted by Real Asset Media, respondents were equally divided between those who are already using a number of proptech solutions (38%), and those who are aware of the solutions but haven’t yet implemented them (38%). Only 24% said they were not really aware of what solutions proptech can offer.

‘You don’t know what you don’t know, so awareness and openness to new information and innovation is crucial,’ said Darveniza. ‘A proper use of proptech can help any part of your real estate journey, from cutting costs to making tenants happier to improving design to optimising the use of space. The benefits are truly limitless’.

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