With the latter half of 2016 showcasing huge financial backing for a multitude of wonderfully diverse Proptech firms, 2017 looks set to be an exciting year for the advancement of property technology.
A plethora of emerging technology for investors, developers, tenants, agents and almost anybody else who has a vested interest in the property industry, has received substantial investment, giving strong indications of the way in which the market is moving.
So what is Proptech?
Proptech is the development of companies using technology to improve the way we interact with the property sector with the aim to help us buy, sell, rent, heat and manage property. Be it residential or commercial.
Simply speaking, what FinTech did for the financial sector – improving customer relationships – Proptech is about to do for the property industry.
Who does it?
Property giant CBRE recognised the market shift and has built a London based team focusing on property acquisition, currently leading within the space it operates.
However, it was the £240m strategic merger of VTS and Hightower, two of the world’s leading property leasing and asset management tech companies, that created a real buzz within the Proptech sector.
There are also a number of innovative day-to-day apps that are taking – or are about to take – the market by storm.
Built-ID has recently attained a £1.1m investment, and is essentially a “Shazam” for the build environment empowering customers to discover project collaborators by simply holding their smartphone up to a building. SPCE is another example still in the fundraising stage. Taking inspiration from Airbnb, SPCE sets out to “revolutionise” the way students find and choose rooms to rent.
The construction industry has arguably seen the biggest rise of industry shaking technologies with automation, integration, speed and safety being the main objectives according to Rebecca Murphy of LendInvest.
From helmets that track the location of a worker to Building Information Modelling (BIM) systems that host a computer-generated image of a build to drones, the construction industry looks set for rapid change over the coming years.
However, James Dearsley of the UK Proptech Association believes human touch is still essential, and that whilst the integration of technology will be vital to future developments, the construction industry is not ready to become fully reliant on automation.
We’re guaranteed to see major changes over the next decade, but for the sake of anticipation: 2017, let’s see what you’ve got in store for us.