The property market pivots on three basic functions: the development of buildings, the leasing of space and the buying and selling of the resultant income-producing investments.
Last year at MIPIM – the property business’s annual gathering of the clans in Cannes – nobody could talk about anything but Brexit. This year it was proptech that dominated the chat along the Croisette.
Two platforms launched since the beginning of the year are good examples.
The giant global property consultant, JLL, has launched a new ‘immersive’ technology called NXT Office to help occupiers search for space across London. Through a digital experience which enables occupiers to view office properties using virtual reality and get access to multiple sources of information, the platform claims it can reduce the average time it takes a business to find office space by 85%.
A massive reduction in time is also promised by Dashflow for CRE – an iOS-based app which dramatically speeds up doing investment appraisal and cashflow analysis for prospective asset purchases. On average, major investors only proceed to bid on 5% of the assets they run a rule over, so Dashflow dramatically reduces the ‘frog kissing’ involved in successful commercial real estate investment.
The market is responding positively to tech like this, which has the ability to transform existing processes integral to the property business. The question now is how quickly will tech be adopted by the sector? Property is a notoriously conservative sector that doesn’t embrace change readily. However, if they’re not careful, a large number of businesses currently proceeding at the equivalent of a walking pace are in danger of finding out they’ve missed the bus.