How technology is driving growth and innovation within the Property industry
24th January 2019
Until fairly recently, the property sector had fallen behind in embracing the rapid growth in digital technology. Whilst other industries such as travel, retail or food have had to all move quickly to keep up with consumer demand, the real estate market have resisted. But this is now changing.
Property technology, or Proptech as it is now called, is now one of the fastest-growing areas for technological investment – spend within this area increased threefold between 2016 and 2017.
The industry is now innovating and embracing new technology with a focus on speeding up and streamlining antiquated processes, giving 24/7 access and offering the customer the best user experience to improve its offering and stay ahead of the competition.
How is innovation changing the Property sector?
Technology works best when it produces genuinely useful outcomes for companies and their customers. So, what does this mean for the property sector? Here are just some of the ways that technology is changing the competitive landscape within the market.
Making the most of Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality technology is becoming more popular and is perfect for the property sector. More forward-thinking estate agents are moving beyond photos -- and even 360-degree video -- and offering customers 3D virtual property “tours” on their phones and tablets.
By using VR, potential buyers and renters can virtually tour the property from anywhere in the world, at any time – this not only gives the customer access to properties 24/7, but also saves both the agent and the viewer time and money.
Using specialist VR headsets onsite of new developments is also being trialled by many property companies to help potential buyers visualise finished apartments.
Taking VR a step further are the augmented reality (AR) apps - this allows a user to superimpose a computer-generated image of an object into real life, as per the hugely popular Pokemon Go.
This technology can be maximised within the property sector as it lets users virtually decorate a space using their phones or tablets – which is the ideal tool to showcase the potential of an unfurnished space using their own style, taste and furniture.
Creating efficiencies through the Cloud
The purchasing of a property can be a long, inefficient and frustrating process for both the buyer and the agents.
Now, more and more agents are making the most of cloud technologies to streamline and speed up the process for both commercial and residential purchases. By having a cloud-based portal, all involved within the sales process, including the lawyers and financial institutions, can access, complete, sign and transfer all the necessary paperwork and documents in real time online.
PropTech can also help in the lettings market. By using the cloud, landlords can reduce the amount of information that needs to be physically stored thus saving valuable office space. In addition to this, with a centrally hosted platform, both landlords and tenants can readily access financial, maintenance and rent management information, as well as important documents such as contracts and tenancy agreements 24/7.
Outsourcing to a professional third party to host the data and applications within the cloud will guarantee a secure network to allow electronic payment systems and provide enhanced level of data protection for sensitive client information.
Introducing cloud-based technology can really mobilise a business and it’s agents – allowing them to do business anywhere. Working within the property sector means lots of travelling from site to site - working on the go with full access to all files and information from any device will certainly create time efficiencies and increase productivity.
The introducing Blockchain to the property industry
Blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum - it’s a public, digital ledger or database that records all transactions, without the need for a central verifying authority such as a bank. Introducing this across the board into real estate could reduce what can often take months to mere seconds.
The Property industry is tipped to be one of the earliest industries to adopt Blockchain, largely because transactions in this sector are often multi-layered with numerous stages and parties involved.
In late 2017, the first UK property sold in Bitcoins - and more and more homes are now cropping up on the market with the option to buy or sell using the digital currency.
Additionally, Blockchain and the process of creating ‘smart contracts’ may not only be limited to the process of buying and selling, but this new technology could also be used for other actions such as terminating leases, managing deposits and charging rents.
Working with a trusted IT Partner
Consumers now have 24/7 mobile access to the online world with instant results so expectations are high. Property investment, real estate and property management companies now need to invest in technology to stay competitive within the market and meet the demands of their customers.
We can make sure you have the right IT infrastructure in place to deliver the best digital solutions for your business.