Proptech, the acronym for Property technology, is a term that will become more and more prevalent soon and basically encompasses the application of information technology and platform economics to the property markets.

Some goals of proptech includes reducing paperwork or making transactions quicker and more efficient, it is often thought of as overlapping with financial technology.

Contemporary digital proptech could therefore include property management using digital dashboards, smart home technology, research and analytics, listing services/tech-enabled brokerages, mobile applications, residential and commercial lending, 3D-modeling for online portals, automation, crowdfunding real estate projects, shared spaces management, as well as organizing, analyzing, and extracting key data from lengthy rental documents.

Property based businesses are demonstrating a positive outlook towards new Proptech innovations, with the majority believing that it will disrupt the industry significantly. And this doesn’t only apply to traditional real estate; Proptech is disrupting the world of flexible workspace in a big way according to research collated by Instant Offices.

According to a Global Proptech Survey by KPMG, property-based company’s decision-makers predicted which Proptech trends would have the biggest short-term impact on the real estate industry. The front-runners were:

Automation: 30% predict it will have the biggest impact in the industry, and 31% say their business is most likely to use it in the short term.

Big Data: 27% predict it will have the biggest impact in the industry, while 27% say their business is most likely to use it in the short term.

Internet of Things: 11% predict it will have the biggest impact in the industry, and 12% say their business is most likely to use it in the short-term.

Artificial Intelligence: 11% predict it will have the biggest impact in the industry, and 6% say their business is most likely to use it in the short-term.

Proptech Trends in the Flex Space

Automation: More day-to-day operational tasks in the workspace are becoming automated, with systems that can seamlessly manage new members, billing, mail sorting and more. This frees up the serviced office staff to focus on their clients. Automation also includes the rise of “smart building” innovations like intelligent glass windows that work to maximise natural light while reducing glare. This trend is improving the overall flow of work and the function of the workspace.

Big Data: Collecting and analysing data provides valuable insights for flex space operators to design smarter, more efficient workspaces that offer more of what occupier’s value. Interesting to note, a whitepaper from IDC estimates that by 2025, 75% of the world’s population will interact with data daily.

Internet of Things: IoT-enabled devices and applications can make it much easier to manage a successful shared office space. Biometric access, smart security cameras and smart payment are just a few examples of how IoT makes the process smoother.

Artificial Intelligence: From augmented and virtual reality to cryptocurrency and blockchain-based smart contracts, AI applications are fast becoming the norm in the workplace of the future.

Instant Head of Marketing John Williams and Research & Insight Manager James Rankin explored in ‘How Far Behind the Curve is the Commercial Real Estate Industry?’, how changing customer attitudes and access to tech have radically transformed several industries over the last two decades. One of the major trends across the board is a shift towards service-based models, largely enabled by technology, with many industries now unrecognisable compared to their previous iterations.

The Impact on Operators and Occupiers

Advances in Proptech are making flexible and remote working easier than ever, and there is a growing talent pool of qualified young workers looking for a more flexible approach to work. This is motivating more businesses to forego traditional long-term leases in favour of flexible space, coworking space and hot desk memberships.

These occupiers are looking for a “service experience” from their office space. It’s not just about putting a roof over their heads – it’s about putting real thought into what the occupiers want and how to deliver it. In a nutshell, the growth of Proptech is allowing flexible workspace providers to take a more customer-centric approach to their offerings.

Edward Harbison, Corporate Marketing Manager at The Instant Group says, “Proptech and flexible workspace growth have been synonymous – they have both exploded over the last 2-3 years. Ultimately the evolution of Proptech will ensure that flexible workspaces are fully equipped to deal with current and future demand from companies of all sizes and from all sectors. With the introduction of innovative booking systems and connectivity through IoT, technology in the workplace is better than ever before.

Proptech has also seen advances in the form of automating admin tasks, improving efficiencies and improvements in the fit-out / built environment with improved wayfinding and desk booking, adaptable furniture and advanced glazing systems – all with improved efficiency in mind.”

There is a greater emphasis on tenant experience, convenience and comfort, which is helping operators to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive market. Smart building applications and other uses of cutting-edge Proptech are helping to keep the flexible office industry ahead of the curve.

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