Key takeaways from the 2020 PropTech Summit

The recently concluded 2020 PropTech Summit showcased the latest thinking from leading commercial managers together with established and upcoming tech innovators. Over two days they discussed how commercial property management software is changing, its impact on the industry, and how forward-thinking companies are riding the ‘PropTech wave’ to reduce operating costs and deliver the increased service that today’s consumers are demanding.

If you missed it, here are some of the key points that were covered.

2020 PropTech Summit Takeaways

PropTech: Enabler or Disruptor?

Disruption might be the term heavily associated with PropTech, but to Dan Evans, National Head of Property Services at Macquarie Bank it can also be an enabler for growth. “Whether or not PropTech is a disruptive or an enabler for your business is mostly down to your mindset,” says Dan. He discussed how PropTech can not only help you reduce costs and increase revenue but also in reimagining your business model.

This is important – all organisations follow a universal arc of creation, growth, stall, and stagnation, but with the help of technology your organisation can bounce back and reinvent the way it does business – it’s the cheat code that pulls you back from stagnation to where you want to be: “The right PropTech can bring you back to a growth phase,” said Dan.

Sustainability is a must and JLL say Proptech can help

Kathleen Stubbs, Chief Information Officer for Australasia at JLL, discussed the evolving trends in the Australian market and how the sector is responding to COVID-19. The session also touched on the impact of climate change on the industry and how PropTech is seen as they key to unlock sustainable solutions that also drive value. There is a plethora of technology available that will help the real estate industry manage energy performance and reduce its climate footprint. Builds are getting smarter, and this increased data makes it easier than it’s ever been to adopt sustainable practices. Kathleen added that sustainability should now be part of any business strategy, sharing that JLL is committing to zero carbon emissions by 2030 with the help of PropTech.

The digital customer journey with property technology

In today’s connected world, mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, are becoming more and more indispensable. Their ubiquity makes them an ideal channel through which real estate businesses can communicate and deliver services to customers in a way that’s convenient and efficient for both parties. Jacopo De Simone, Solution Consultant at Moxtra explained, “mobile-first apps are the real disruptors – completely transforming what consumers expect from all technology – and PropTech must adapt.”

Uber, Facebook, Airbnb – all these disruptors run mobile-first platforms. Property management software must be the same – and PropTech organisations are recognizing this: Apps, smart home technology, 3D floor plans, etc. the list goes on for mobile technology in real estate. With increasing customer demand for convenience and growing investment dollars in PropTech, businesses now have access to robust mobile technologies and must take advantage of this opportunity to build and sustain profitable customer relationships.

Measurable ROI from property management technology

In a panel moderated by Kylie Davis, Executive Director of PropTech Association Australia, real estate business leaders focused on property management and how businesses can get measurable ROI from implemented technology. “We are finding more and more that ROI is not based solely on finance,” says Julie Kezelman, Program Director, ReatTechX at Taronga Ventures. “Safety, sustainability, data and insights are all now part of the equation.” David Bowie, Senior Vice President and Managing Director at MRI Software agrees, “ROI comes not from implementing new technology but from taking action on the insights it can give you.”

Using PropTech to improve the safety, comfort and operations of living centres

Data coming from PropTech is rife with important information that can help make homes and buildings run efficiently and safely, but often overlooked properties such as living centres can also benefit from these data. Space planning, occupant comfort and cost-cutting are the biggest drivers in commercial real estate. In their session, Varun Nair, Head of Facilities Management and Philip Yang, Head of Centre Technology at Scentre Group discussed how they use data to improve living centers and add value to their customers.

The unique needs of living centres require a better understanding of its occupants, carers and medical practitioners that live in and use the facility. With the help of data analytics, video analytics, automation and artificial intelligence, real estate businesses are able to gain insights in how they can improve comfort, safety, accessibility and community experience in these properties.

Data will become more important than rent

Speaking of data, Sven Sylvester of Taronga Group discussed the importance of data – going as far as to say that the customer data your business collects could become even more important than the rent they pay.

Sven makes the case for the outlook of smart buildings and how data is the key driver in this transformation over the next few years. There are lots of technologies available right now, but he says that the next horizon will find properties using next generation of products and services that utilise data such as smart contracts and blockchain.

And that is just the first step – as real estate touches every part of a person’s life – where they live, work, and play – real estate businesses will eventually transform into something more similar to tech giants like Google and Apple. Those companies are much more than the search engine operating system they started as – in essence, they are data companies, as they use the massive amounts of data they collect to provide superior service, without which they would be nothing.  Sven believes that the real estate industry is actually better equipped than anyone to follow this model thanks to the hundreds of points we all have with real estate every day – and he’s probably right, if the 16 petabytes of data that Scentre group control right now is anything to go by.

Conclusion

PropTech is here to stay, and organisations that don’t adapt will be left behind as customers demand higher standards of service. Understanding your customer is key to providing this service, and it is the data you collect through PropTech that will enable this change. But implementing property management software is not a silver bullet. Technology provides the insights that enable change, but it is the actions taken based on those insights that will shape the future of the industry.

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