PropTech. It’s industry jargon for “property technology,” but what does it actually mean?
PropTech is a term that’s used in real estate and in the broader property industry, which also includes waste management. PropTech is diverse and includes technology that ranges from property portals like Zillow to IoT sensors to 3D printing. PropTech is big money lately—VCs invested some $12.6 billion dollars into PropTech in 2017.
A few years ago, nobody had heard the term “PropTech,” but VC investors have bought into these technologies wholeheartedly, and businesses and consumers have come to embrace them. To understand where we are in PropTech today, it’s helpful to view its development since 2007. The World Economic Forum divides PropTech’s development into three stages:
PropTech 1.0 – In 2007, the first wave of PropTech introduced online listing sites to the property market.
PropTech 2.0 – A few years later, in 2013, new technologies like virtual reality and data analytics came to market, providing consumers with specialized services that drove a customized marketing and buying experience.
PropTech 3.0 – As the rate of innovation picked up, so did the introduction of PropTech technologies into the marketplace. Drones, blockchain, IoTs, and voice-controlled assistants all began to come online as early as 2014.
PropTech Today—Where Are We Headed?
As we look ahead at this rapidly growing and expanding industry, what are some trends we should be watching for? What will drive growth in PropTech in the years to come?
PropTech Trend #1: The Proliferation of 5G
To attract tenants to their properties, building owners will increasingly come to rely on digital connectivity. The best way to keep that technology relevant is to invest in 5G, the latest cellular technology. As consumers upgrade to 5G-enabled devices, they will be looking for 5G-compliance in both residential and commercial properties to meet their increasing demand for data and cloud-based technology.
PropTech Trend #2: Drones
Drones offer full 360-degree views of properties, deployed assets, and even employees. They also provide real-time data on surrounding areas, which allows authorized users to assess properties for purchase or and lets owners verify that their deployed assets are functioning as intended. Drones can “be there” when you can’t, letting you keep tabs on a property at all times.
PropTech Trend #3: Internet of Things (IoT)
IoTs are coming to homes and businesses near you. IoT devices like smart coffeemakers, voice-controlled assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo, and even intelligent yoga mats are increasingly allowing their owners to automate their lives in new and unprecedented ways.
This is even extending into commercial applications. In the waste management industry, for instance, Sensa Networks has developed IoT-based fullness monitoring, which enables haulers to automatically schedule pick-ups based on a compactor’s actual fullness level, rather than having to rely on a set schedule.
PropTech Trend #4: Geolocation
With the proliferation of smart phones, geolocation has come into its own and sparked an era of hyper-targeted advertising. Relying on your smartphone’s GPS, geolocation allows marketers to deliver the rights ads at the right time to the right consumers. While most geo-marketing strategies make use of geo-aware ads that target your location, tech-savvy marketers are developing other approaches. One new approach, called geo-conquesting, involves the use of geolocation tracking to lure consumers away from rival stores so that they buy the advertiser’s goods.
PropTech Trend #5: 3D Printing
3D printing has come of age. ICON, a start-up in the construction industry, featured 3D-printed buildings at the 2018 SXSW Conference. The company demonstrated its “Vulcan” printer, which can print a 650-square-foot house in less than 24 hours. ICON is already at work trying to reduce that time to just six hours.
Another company, Diehl Aviation, just produced the largest 3D-printed part ever for an aircraft, a Curtain Comfort Header used to separate different classes of passengers aboard the Airbus A350 aircraft. 3D printing is likely to deliver other exciting innovations in 2019 and beyond.
PropTech Trend #6: Remote Diagnostics
Whatever your business, device downtime costs real money—in repair costs, lost productivity, and lost business to competitors. Before the advent of remote diagnostics, business owners had to rely on inefficient, resource-intensive service calls to identify service issues. With remote diagnostics, fleet managers can monitor, diagnose, and fix issues before they become bigger … and cause a breakdown.
PropTech in 2019 and Beyond
We’re in the midst of a paradigm shift that will change the role that technology plays in our homes, businesses, and world. Since 2007, we’ve witnessed a rapid pace of change that will only accelerate as new investors, new technologies, and more consumers and suppliers come to market.
PropTech is an exciting place to be in 2019. Whether it’s IoT-powered smart devices, geo-focused marketing, or the ability use drones to assess remote locations, PropTech is sure to deliver competitive advantages to early adopters who stay ahead of technology trends.
Closer to home in the waste management and collection industry, innovators like Sensa Networks are delivering PropTech that brings fullness monitoring to the industry and tools that enable fleet managers to monitor and address the needs of their fleets from one central location.