Traditionally real estate has been a bit of a dinosaur when keeping up with progressions in technology. ‘PropTech’ has however more than quadrupled in the last 5 years. But what exactly is it? 

Alex Edds, director of innovation, at JLL UK describes it as “On the face of it, proptech is the digitalisation of real estate, but beneath the surface there is so much more to it than that. At its core, proptech addresses fundamental questions of how we experience and extract value from real estate.” According to Edds, consumer experience needs to be at the heart of real estate and PropTech is a reflection of this. So far, so interesting but can we be more specific?

One aspect of PropTech is about improving an occupier’s user experience and control over its property – everything from paying rent to controlling the temperature to managing lighting and other services. These days occupiers expect a great deal from their physical world. They want to know how they can control their environment. With greater expectations on how things should work, landlords are under pressure to ensure that their properties don’t fall short of such demands. The importance of location is no longer the only priority. Occupiers are now extremely interested in the experience that their office can offer.

At the heart of this is the collection and use of property data. By collecting both operational and human behavioural data, property owners and users are better equipped to design and offer appropriate flexible and bespoke working environments. 2020 is likely to see greater investment by landlords in PropTech to meet this demand and to ensure that their properties remain attractive and competitive.

The process and experience of finding relevant space is also evolving with companies creating automated methods to assist with simple property management tasks. This can range from basic online platforms to the increasingly sophisticated tech systems used by the leading agencies to assist companies when relocating, ranging from IT enabled company profiling to virtual reality office tours.

Time is money and with that in mind these changes in PropTech seek to create a more efficient and seamless way to undertake a multitude of property tasks relevant for an occupier. Over the next year we are likely to see an influx in different types of PropTech with companies creating software for agents and occupiers to make purchasing and occupying space easier.