Proptech (Property technology) is a new phenomenon gaining acceptability in the mainstream of real estate industry. This buzzword, in its simplest definition, is the use of information technology (IT) to help individuals and companies research, buy, sell and manage real estate.
The disruptive and positive change caused by technology has created a need for all real estate players to start thinking of how to incorporate this digital transformation to give customers the best affordable experience.
One of the powerful technological tools is the Predictive Analytics. This tool has given rise to data scientists who are able to analyze current data in order to make predictions of the uncertain future. In the case of real estate, it is now possible to envisage the future of property prices and shifting needs of customers. In the perspective of the landlord and customers, location is still the cardinal criteria for assessing the value of building. More to that, data is also becoming the new order in the real estate market for price determination.
In the context of virtual reality and augmented reality, customers can now have an immerse experience into a yet-to-be building. This has redefined the landscape of advertisement in the sector. The customer in today’s advertisement, with the use of the virtual reality is able to experience and connect to buildings, albeit they are not yet started or completed.
Moving forward, AI (Artificial Intelligence), autonomous vehicles and blockchain technologies have also been a huge game -changer in terms of work-reduction and ensuring efficiency. Drone, for instance, are used in surveying of sites, gathering report, monitoring and delivering items to the sites. Not only that, smart building technologies have been able to manage different variable of a building operation and many more.
The mix of these technologies in the industry has pose a huge pressure on real estate players to tap the opportunities and workout the challenges too. For instance, Portfolio manager have access to a large pool of information through data analytics. But the growing concern has to do with the governance and management of these data (i.e. cybersecurity)
Again, social changes call for the need to weave the lifestyle and business expectation of tenants together. Most tenants have become sophisticated in the definition of space and its functionality. For that, Landlords have to address the shifting needs of tenants with a customized product that will suit their personal experience. Again, all these are motivated by technology. As a result of this increased connectivity, property data organization is now a new wealth if one is to make informed decision in property market.
On residential front today, people can control their amenities through the use of their smart phones. I.e. Switching off lights. This sense of automating building management is a groundbreaking path that creates an inclusive and a share responsibility between tenants and landlord. By and large, it saves cost.
Technology has again disrupted the sales and leasing process of the property market. Customers are empowered with the platforms to do their own research online on any property that they want. This later helps them in their negotiation process right before reaching the showroom.
The paradigm shift involving these technological innovations is already making waves in the western world. With few countries in Africa trying to catch up with the trends, it will be a catastrophe for players in the sector to undermine these with the wait-and-see attitude.
Technology is a powerful tool we can be use to reshape our spaces. And for a space to thrive, we have to make it user-friendly to meet the shifting demands of the customers.
Mr. Tsifodze Ernest ( Author, Real Estate Learner and Thinker)
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