Exclusive minutes from Propteq Europe 2018 session on Disruptive Trends and Technologies
What are the PropTech Trends and Disruptive Technologies?
Attendee, country director of start-up, Norway: There is a lot of disruption particularly in how commercial real estate development is funded. If you search ‘top trends in proptech’, you will find a survey from global real estate experts if you follow this for the years, many of the same buzzwords are used, such as big data, AI, AR/VR, and blockchain.
Which technology has the capability of changing the property industry?
Attendee: I am not sure if technology per se, is necessarily the only answer. In the real estate market as we understand it, business innovation also plays a part, not only technology innovation. It is hard to say AI is going to change this fundamentally and if you look at companies like Leverton, they certainly start to apply these technologies in order to create a lot more efficiency, but it is difficult to see how AI is going to change the industry in 5 to 10 years. Overall, what we see which is helping is that these PropTech trends and discussions are starting. To add what I first mentioned, it is more business innovation than technology innovation.
Attendee: I think we have to understand real estate better, and how it is going to be used in the next five, ten or twenty years. The younger generation will be owning and using properties in a different way. What we actually see if we look at the iPhone, Amazon echo, and others is not not really artificial intelligence, rather it is machine learning. The technology is moving, not only in the real estate sector, but also in the general public.
What is the next step for rising technologies and PropTech Trends?
Attendee: Cloud computing was not as abundant as it is today, whereas in fact we have been using it for a long time, for example with email. That used to be easiest way to explain what cloud computing actually is. I can see same is happening with the things like AI and other technologies that we use today. Our behaviour changes before we actually realise it.
How do you define disruption?
Attendee: It is defined as a trend which changes the complete industry, such that it will never be the way it was before. If you think of the travel industry, previously you had to go the travel agency, book your flights and they had to print your tickets or send it via mail. Thanks to disruption, we have everything on our apple wallet, and online so it is a completely different process. PropTech trends will disrupt the slow-to-change real estate industry in a similar way.
Is it equal to evolution?
Attendee: I believe so, as it is an irreversible change. This is a mix between technology and how it is interacted with.
Attendee: The problem with property is that it is very old fashioned and inefficient, people like to do things their way, so there cannot be one definition. We need more efficient processes and that is what can really change property. Openness, transparency, efficiency, and technologies like machine learning and AI streamline processes. A combination of machine learning, AI, blockchain and transparency working together will be revolutionary.
Blockchain, is there any real value?
Attendee: Today, blockchain that we see is only the 2nd generation. Simply put; Bitcoin is the first 1st generation, and Ethereum as an operating system is 2nd generation. Soon we will have the 3rd generation of blockchain where non-specialists can develop on the operating systems. This will lead to a problem of energy consumption which specialists are still figuring out how exactly we can reduce, maybe we will see it happen in 2018. Don’t buy Bitcoin, buy Ethereum.
Attendee: The reason why people use blockchain is because is is decentralised so no particular person is in control, everyone is in control. Blockchain will also change the way we transact and the technology behind transactions.
How will blockchain technology help the real estate industry?
Attendee: Through better customer service. Brokers can use this technology to create a much better customer experience. Uber for example, didn’t invent the car, they just made the taxi booking experience much better. Most of the companies that disrupt certain industries make customer experience far better. In a small city like Brussels you can have one estate agency which started with one broker, today has 50 brokers and is completing hundreds of transactions per week through using social media and productivity applications. The agents who are not capable of using technologies to create much better customer experience are losing market share. A simple way a modern brokerage can provide great customer service is having an online chat box, even without the AI aspect.
Are brokers still going to be relevant?
Attendee: This depends as the knowledge of a broker is still important in certain areas, such as on the retail side. However, technology in supermarkets for example is monitoring what people buy and how they buy, to give better consumer experience. Technology is increasingly improving to make those key judgements to advise, so eventually you won’t need a broker.
Attendee: It’s not just about technology. We need to acknowledge that people look for different things. Digital innovation in how we deliver a better experience to customers alone, may not be sufficient. We also need to look at how brokerages adapt their business to make their service easy-to-use and enjoyable.
Attendee: With Amazon opening retail stores, it’s becoming more important for brokers to add value in their services.
Attendee: Some services like the chatbox, do solve problems. People prefer to message/email/type rather than call and speak. It’s easier than filling out a long form and can be more suited to people’s busy afternoon schedules. Even online estate agencies, although they don’t do all the work, they give you the power and freedom to sell a property conveniently.
Propteq Club is leading the digital transformation of Real Estate by bridging the gap between PropTech startups and the Property industry. We explore PropTech Trends and Technologies to keep our members at the forefront of the ecosystem and connect with the people that matter. Find out more.