Digitalization in property management is about taking advantage of technological advancements and make use of the data generated from properties.
Carolina Wachtmeister, former business developer at Stronghold, is Head of Digital Transformation & Service Development at Newsec. In this article, she will tell us more about proptech and the future of the digital property industry.
Why the big interest in proptech?
As seen in many other industries, disruption also has an impact on the CRE industry. Our industry has historically underinvested in IT and digitalisation, which has led to the industry being a laggard as compared to other industries. While this has been a disadvantage, the value creation potential is huge, as real estate is the world’s largest asset class.
The deepened interest in new technology in the industry has been further fuelled by the intensified focus on sustainability, where technology has the opportunity to support the transition to more sustainable buildings. There are many interesting services that spans across several use cases, e.g. improved network infrastructure, analytics software, process automation (e.g. rental and collection of energy consumption data), platform services for information and data sharing, new financing opportunities etc.
Digitalisation and proptech also enable provisioning of value creating services to tenants, which, ultimately increase net operating income. This may include integrating technology into the everyday lives of residents, booking of community and shared spaces, smart home solutions, improvement of indoor climate and better access to information.
What has the pandemic meant for digitalisation and proptech?
I would like to quote a researcher named Johan Magnusson:
Issues that before the pandemic were considered as barriers have been reduced. There are examples of companies that have been founded without the founders even meeting. However, this is not a new phenomenon, as for instance remote development teams have been common for many years. The pandemic, however, has created a sense of urgency and has been an eye-opener for many, which is just as important.
Do Swedish property owners have the required knowledge for proptech?
We have a fantastic environment for technology development in Sweden with both a high level of digital maturity and a general openness to change. Many companies are hungry for new technology. What may pose as a challenge is to change old habits and behaviours. It is equally important to make sure that the emerging ecosystem of new actors get access to our market so that we can learn from each other. The industry about the technological opportunities that are out there, and the tech companies about the industry specific challenges and opportunities.
How can proptech support and promote sustainability?
Proptech solutions may enable sustainability in several ways. When discussing reduction of energy consumption and carbon footprint, improving metering, getting access to data and optimization technologies, may help. Social sustainability may be improved by technology enabling the sharing economy and a greater usage of common resources.
Does proptech affect urban development?
It depends on how you define proptech, but in the broader sense, it definitely does! There are many interesting companies using intelligent software in their architectural processes, which has the potential to improve urban development.
What are you looking out for in the area? Any trends and future predictions?
There are many interesting things happening in the smart workplace, where I think the best thing we can do is to optimize the workplace in the best way from a company and employee perspective. This is probably going to be a mix of several exciting concepts and locations. Google just launched an incredibly interesting hologram project, which is really exciting. One area that is constantly evolving is technology development in technical & facility management. There are many interesting initiatives in this space that focuses on improving the use of data and new software. There will be an even greater focus and pressure on reducing carbon emissions, followed by various approaches to further accelerate other sustainability factors.