5 Exciting Innovations in PropTech (property tech)
Innovation, we all want it but most of us struggle to define it and ultimately do it. Definitions vary from focusing on idea generation, to new products, to the processes which enable new ideas. For me, Innovation is about both the process and the outcome. Taking new approaches and strategies ie. design thinking to solve problems and create new, exciting solutions. Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean new technologies, it can just be a new and improved way of doing something. Innovation, the process of creating something new, is not a fancy 21st century concept. It’s really just a rebranding of ‘invention’ but it’s taking invention and the ‘art of the possible’ to the masses and applying it to real world problems.
Despite not being solely about tech, when most think Innovation, they think tech. They think Steve Jobs, Blockchain, Drones and AI. New and emerging tech is changing the way we think and do things across all parts of our lives. From the food we eat, to the cars we drive, everything is changing, and it’s happening quickly, to every industry.
PropTech, one of the many ‘IndustryTech’ buzzwords, is a wave of new startups revolutionising the property industry. It’s exciting and the opportunities is huge, it’s happening quickly and it’s happening now and you need to be in it, to win it. In KPMGs annual PropTech survey ‘The Road to Opportunity’ they stated 73% see innovation as an opportunity and 25% see it as a threat. Best to get into that 73%. Pronto.
PropTech considers both the technological and mentality change of the real estate industry, and its consumers to our attitudes, movements and transactions involving both buildings and cities.
PropTech startups are bringing together like-minded people to advance and change the property industry, reduce risks, and add simplicity to people’s lives. From smart homes to co-working spaces, to increased transparency to smart energy-efficient cities. There’s evidence of innovation all around us right now. There’s no doubt it’s going to improve the industry, but it’s going to take down some key players and a fair few jobs on its way.
PropTech Trends in 2018
It’s been an exciting year in PropTech. so I’ve decided to compile some of my favourite 2018 trends that are on the rise.
- Blockchain-based applications have changed the way consumers, retailers, and investors communicate with each other and properties. These apps are cutting out paperwork and enhancing efficiency
- Virtual reality has become incredibly accessible to people making it set to become a $29.7 billion dollar industry by 2020. As such we’re seeing a rising number of companies that are utilising VR as a key selling point in their start-ups
- Artificial intelligence including chatbots, and automated services can now answer consumer queries with little or no delay. Devices such as Alexa and Google Assistant are becoming increasingly popular in people’s homes. Immediacy is becoming key
- Virtual offices and co-working spaces are on the rise as more and more millennials opt for a life outside of the office creating huge opportunity, but also huge threat. More and more of us are looking for more freedom and less liability, choosing crypto and entrepreneurial investments as assets rather than traditional investments in properties in our home towns
5 of my favourite PropTech startups
Imagine designing or decorating your own home and being able to see the transformation before you’ve even made a decision. You don’t have to move your furniture around and you don’t have to repaint because you got it wrong. Imagine consulting with expert designers and getting advice and designs instantly: you can with Planner VR. This is just one way in which VR is changing the way we do things. Using an app and VR technology, you can now just walk through your planned home. It’s highly accessible to people (it’s actually free to use at the basic level) and a game changer when decorating your new house.
HomeHustle is an example of how PropTech can provide solutions for both consumers and retailers in the Interior design space. Birthed in Australia, Home Hustle is making waves in the Home Design & Renovation market by minimising time wastage by connecting buyers and retailers around a ‘Pinterest’ Style Platform. The platform enables buyers to upload a photo of something they’ve seen (be that in a restaurant or at a friends house) and be contacted by retailers who may have this exact piece. Customers can put together a design brief for their ideal home and wait for offers from local design businesses. Mood boards allow customers to get creative and even book appointments with local retailers. For retailers the possibilities are endless, they can showcase their leads, interact with customer’s designs, and engage with potential clients.
Renting can be a stressful process, it’s difficult to know where to look and where to go. Rentberry streamlines the whole process with their app that unites tenants and landlords. It automates all of the tasks involved, including eSigning agreements and documents. It also offers a platform for tenants to engage with their landlord going forward (for example, if they need to file for maintenance). Simplicity at its best. I look forward to being able to rate your landlord in an ‘Airbnb’ style rating system.
People are taking outside air quality seriously, but few people know that indoor air quality can contribute to a number of health issues. Poor sleep, asthma, and skin conditions to name a few. Awair monitors the air in your home or office and tracks invisible fine dust and chemicals in the air. It can also give you personalised information and synchronise with Google Home or Alexa to make sure your home is kept as healthy as possible.
Not yet launched, Unissu is a free-to-use online database listing companies in the property technology market with detailed information about funding, location, and description of the tech involved. ‘Unissu is the global leader in PropTech information, data and research. Our marketplace opens up new opportunities for the 6,000 PropTech businesses that we track whilst offering property and investment communities an accurate single source for their research, procurement and investment decisions.’
Change is coming and the sheer scale and speed of innovation is astounding. We’re being offered more choice, healthier lifestyles, streamlined and personalised user experiences and, hopefully, a movement away from the control and often fear of ‘the landlord’.
In my opinion, Proptech is set to improve our lives and the opportunities are exciting and endless. I look forward to seeing the new ideas, new technologies and ultimately the transformation of this $200 Trillion industry.