Real Estate has been left relatively unscathed by the rapidly expanding advancement of disruptive tech, but the tables are beginning to change. New methods of construction, customization, virtual tours and maintenance sensors are fast approaching on the horizon, and have already raised the expectations of the average customer. As with other industries, such as retail, customers will come to expect a new level of convenience and service from property services, and those that do not adapt now may eventually cut themselves out of the market. Zynstra recently held an event at the Gherkin in London, to discuss the main drives and effects of Proptech. Read on to get the highlights, or register for our catch-up webinar.
James Dearsley – Proptech Evangelist
The first of the two to present was James Dearsley, a veteran Proptech evangelist. He began the event by defining exactly what Proptech is, a relatively new concept that is rapidly growing in importance among estate agents, property development and investment firms. He went through a range of examples that illustrate how technology is playing an ever increasing role in driving growth in this sector. Some things are happening now, such as cloud computing and GIS (geographic information system), which have already creeped into our daily lives, creating an expectation from customers that they should be able to get instant answers to their queries and responses to requests for viewings in real time.
On the other hand, there are some technologies and techniques that are often discussed in the media, but are in fact several years away, such as artificial reality and 3d printed housing. James highlighted, however, that while these trends are on the distant horizon, the rate of technological advancement and adoption are increasing exponentially, so those who wish to remain competitive 10 years from now need to begin the process of incorporating such trends into their strategy.
James went into greater detail for some of the techs that are changing the industry right now. One example, in particular, was the concept of merging machine learning with automated chatbot programmes – a website extension that allows customers and prospects to ask questions and receive answers in real time. By applying machine learning to customer facing systems, companies benefit from understanding the most common questions posed by customers, allowing them to tailor their advertising and website content to their requirements.
Roger Sowerbutts – VP Sales EMEA
As James had detailed the landscape of modern day customer trends and expectations, Roger Sowerbutts followed on from that with the technical requirements of running afuture-proofed Real Estate business. Hybrid IT, as he explained, is about giving power back to the individual branches, allowing them to keep up with modern trends, whilst being as versatile and responsive as possible. Achieving this over the internet whilst maintaining consistency across all branches and/or offices can be tricky – especially since the demand in bandwidth for these new Proptechs will only increase over time, resulting in outages and frustrated customers. The advantage of Hybrid IT over standard Cloud solutions is that the Cloud aspect shares the load with the on-premise equipment.