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challenge and disruption in the Real Estate – Property, Real Estate, Startups, Tech

Posted by bsullivan on June 14, 2019

Vincent Lottefier, strategic advisor to IWG and president of Co-Working Future, explores how tech is increasingly at the heart of the flexible workspace sector 

The real estate market is getting a digital makeover. It’s already making waves, and we’re starting to see the names of innovative new “proptech” leaders plastered on “TO LET” signs outside homes.

In recent years, the rise of proptech – or real estate technology – is shaking things up. Globally, there are now more than 6,000 proptech businesses and, last year, more than $US4.6 billion of investment was ploughed into their growth.  And for IWG, it’s really exciting, as we’re seeing this new industry impacting the flexible workspace realm.

We’re in the thick of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – an era of automation and digital processes, powered by blockchain, artificial intelligence and augmented reality. So it makes sense that the way we lease, rent, buy and occupy property follows suit.

Antony Slumbers, a leading development and technology strategist in real estate recently wrote: “Beyond our existing real estate skills, we need to layer on top ‘modern’ hardware, high speed connectivity and cloud computing.  All of this as a platform for designing the data science and analytics the best real estate operators will apply to the real-time data points emanating from the Internet of Things networks. Into the mix will also be woven generative design, building information modelling (BIM), digital twins, drones, 3D printing, virtual and/or augmented reality [and] machine learning.”

As customers have embraced digital in most areas of their life, industries need to keep up with this, and find new ways to serve them. And the real estate industry is ready and waiting.

In the UK alone, online retail brokers have already captured 5% of the property market, according to Alex Gosling, CEO of online estate agent House Simple.

According to British estate agent Savills, the US prop tech market has had the most funding in the past decade, gaining 57% of total global investment. Spanish proptech companies have had the second largest amount (12.4%), while UK-based startups rank third (10.8%).

Proptech unicorns (businesses worth more than US$1 billion) include New York-based Compass, Chicago’s SMS Assist and San Francisco’s Opendoor.

Proptech innovators simplify the property market for landlords and consumers alike.

They challenge the status quo in real estate, and sometimes they disrupt it completely.

They streamline age-old processes of renting or purchasing real estate, managing and maintaining buildings, cutting out middle-parties where it makes sense to, and connect the dots between tenants or and their perfect property – be it a home or a co-working space.

Some proptech companies home in on a specific area of the real estate realm – like property management and repairs (like SMS Assist), building algorithms for buying, renting or selling (such as Open Door), or creating a real estate portal (Home Link). Others take a more holistic approach and re-think traditional real estate models from the ground up (enter Purple Bricks).

For the flexible workspace sector, proptech innovation brings huge potential and helps providers create more value for tenants. Augmented reality and virtual reality tours of work space, chatbots giving 24/7 tenant support, biometric security tech – these are some of the ways proptech could enhance co-working infrastructure.

IWG has already entered the proptech realm with its IWG Broker app. Available on iOS and Android, the app makes it easier than ever for agents and brokers to submit, track and manage referrals across all of IWG’s brands: Regus, Spaces, No18, HQ and Signature by Regus.  At the swipe of a smartphone, representatives can…

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