PropTech – the buzzword of 2018 seems to be staying with us in 2019 as well. This red-hot portmanteau, along the lines of FinTech, was created by journalists some time last year from the words property and technology, and refers to every technological or financial innovation that affects the development, management, selling, buying, or renting of real estate.
What are the Driving Forces behind PropTech?
Various factors may affect what sort of innovations we may expect in the PropTech field in the near future. In this article, we look over 4 key factors: software, hardware, social changes, and financial innovations. Software development in recent years gave us voice interfaces, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology. Recent PropTech-related hardware innovations are intelligent sensors and drone technology. Rapid social changes, especially the new ways of working and vacationing, also heavily influence PropTech innovations. Lastly, since real estate represents immense financial value, we must consider financial innovations as a contributing factor for PropTech.
We can hardly cover every recent or forthcoming development in the PropTech field in a single blog post. Instead, this article aims to present a selection of remarkable innovations to demonstrate how PropTech innovations are expected to change our everyday life in the very near future – or even today.
Office Hunt: Flexibility meets Shared Economy
Our long-established concepts of work and workplace have gone through an enormous transformation over the last few years. A number of people work in trendy jobs that did not even exist 10 or 15 years ago. Likewise, we cannot even imagine the jobs, competencies, or trainings of the future.
This fast-paced transformation is simultaneously influenced by technical as well as social factors. The workplaces of tomorrow must provide a very high level of communication, cooperation, and flexibility besides comfort and coziness, especially when it comes to time scheduling. Let’s see some services that already reflect and recognize these trends.
Co-working spaces have become so popular in recent years that they don’t need an introduction. In fact, one can hardly imagine a prosperous city anywhere in the world without one or two cozy shared workplaces. What’s more, thanks to new special listing sites targeting to this special segment, co-working spaces have become a special real estate listing category in their own right. Besides global players such as WeWork, one can find an example in India (Awfis), and in France (Morning Coworking).
Originally founded in Denmark, Gaest.com mixes shared economy with the office world in an innovative way: it offers unique spaces for renting even for hours. Businesses looking for a unique spot to welcome their clients may find here a wide range of locations from a Victorian parlour in London to a boat in Copenhagen. The places can be rented for whatever work-related occasions including meetings, workshops, team buildings, or photo sessions. The idea must be really successful as Gaest.com, which was founded a mere 3 years ago, was recently bought by shared home pioneer and giant Airbnb.
Vacationing: Specialization and Crypto-currencies
When it comes to the innovative ways of organizing a vacation, most people would still go to Airbnb first. It was certainly Airbnb who introduced shared economy to vacationing, but the home sharing field has seen several compelling new players emerge over the last few years.
Presently operating only in a few major Italian cities, Keesy offers a simple way for guests to pick up their keys to the rented place. This way, hosts and guests are not required to meet personally as the keys to the apartment are deposited in a secure box in a central location of the city. After payment, guests can open the box with a code sent to their mobile phones.
As the name suggests, Kid & Coe focuses on families with kids or toddlers. In the descriptions of property listings, Kid & Coe has a special section that describes why exactly little kids would enjoy the place.
Targeting wealthy vacationers and true connoisseurs, Boutique Homes lists only the most special, unique, sometimes luxurious places to rent for a short stay. The homes vary on a very wide range from ultra-expensive celebrity designer homes to a historic Venetian renaissance palazzo or a modest Icelandic wooden cabin. The listed sites are hand-picked by staff, so there is no chance to list your backyard shed here for some extra bucks.
As opposed to the previous player, HomeStay.com offers shared accommodation for travellers on a budget. Besides affordable prices, the opportunities listed here focus on personal connections and true kindness. The listed places are “wallet-friendly” because, in most cases, they are really the home of the host.
Buying a Home: Innovative ways of financing
OpenDoor.com employs an immense quantity of big data and business intelligence in order to offer home owners a fair price for their property. Their modus operandi is something like this: Based on their price database and algorithms, they offer a fair price for a home, they close the deal in a few days, pay the seller, remodel the house, and put the property back on the market for a higher price.
Knock.com’s innovation is trade-in in the real estate field: they financially help customers buy their next home without even having listed the previous one.
What to expect from innovative hardware in the PropTech field?
From the innovative technologies of 2019, voice control and voice interfaces will certainly enter the field of property listing, developing, buying, selling, or sharing. Google recently announced that its voice-controlled home assistant, the Google Assistant is now able to book a hotel room on the biggest American hotel chains.
The way real estates are listed and presented today will be soon completely changed by drone technology, virtual tours, virtual reality, and augmented reality. Communication between realtors and prospective home buyers will be for a certain extent dominated by increasingly intelligent property chatbots.
Today, we are even witnessing science-fiction becoming the reality of our everyday life as several businesses are working on a space hotel project: according to plans, we can book the first hotel room in space in 2022.