The property sector has been no exception to this rule. This transformation has redefined the relationship between the digital and the built environment. With new technologies, startups, and alternative solutions are entertaining the mainstream. Many real estate decision-makers have noticed the large steps forward that other industries have made with the adoption of technology, such as FinTech in financial services, and are looking at how they might follow suit. Property firms and service providers alike are also being forced to respond to the disruption facing occupiers to stay relevant to their customers.
Furthermore, as in other industries, fast-growing businesses are emerging with new solutions to industry pain-points and are coming up with more effective and efficient ways of engaging with customers or transacting. To keep up with the demands of the clients, the competitors, and existing peers, CM today spoke with a developer (Dubai Holding) and a service provider (Concordia) to find out how they have handled the pain points in using PropTech solutions.
Sergio Negri, Head of Business Technology, Dubai Holding Real Estate
As a member of a holding company (Dubai Holding and its respective verticals), technological solutions have to be coordinated among several entities, to streamline the technology landscape while offering the best Enterprise Architecture for each vertical. In this context, and to be able to safely drive the conversation of digital transformation, we need to consider that seemingly simple changes in any solution could result in several days of due diligence, testing, and final deployment. To cope with that we embrace agile methodology, aimed at delivering short sprints with new fully working products.
We are currently witnessing a lot of integration between systems, and given that not all platforms provide comprehensive solutions such as CRM and property management, we are continuing to use multiple systems in parallel. This ultimately adds to the complexity of the system landscape. Adapting to the latest market trends, new payment methods such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay, and even WeChat are offering we are obligated to provide to our customers. While some are easily supported, others boast expensive implementation costs both financially and in terms of time.
Two other solutions and trends we look to provide is process automation and paperless transactions. Automation is the way forward and our digital transformation goals include digitizing repetitive manual processes to increase efficiency. Lastly, paperless transactions are not only environmentally and economically friendly, but also provide more security for sensitive documents - it is always better to reduce printable transactions and adapt to electronic-signatures.
Sanjay Bhatia, General Manager, Concordia
As per the recent researches, there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day at our current pace, but that pace is only accelerating with the exponential growth of smart technology.
From conception to construction, operations to management, occupiers experience to space allocation, technology is not just influencing choices, it is changing the way Real Estate is managed and placing new demands on Facilities Management – which accounts for up to 80% of the lifecycle of the Real Estate asset.
PropTech can be one of the main facilitators and can represent all digital technologies that include technologies utilized not only in buildings, such as smart buildings/cities using Internet of Things (IoT) for communication between devices but also those supporting their smart construction (e.g. Building Information Modeling – BIM), planning, sale, lease, operation, even appraisals, contracts as well as payments.
The challenges faced by Real Estate and Facilities Management companies are their ability to select & create scalable, secure, and sustainable IT infrastructure, find suitable skill sets that understand the value of these new applications, and most importantly, that have the appetite to invest and fund such transformational projects.
Digitalised businesses are different – inherently more complex and more connected – that requires a wider view in undertaking due diligence to properly assess the values and risks associated with it. These can take the form of market risks (will a blockchain-based operation ever gain sufficient market adoption?), technology risks (are virtual reality and enhanced reality just the latest fads?), and legal risks (such as those concerning IP, data, and cybersecurity). All of this affects decision making in the digital economy.
Many companies also have the challenge of ensuring that there is engagement across all areas of the business and throughout all levels of the workforce. This often requires a change in the organization’s culture and mind-set – its core DNA should be geared towards fostering innovative ideas and being adaptable to change. Critical to this is identifying any pockets of resistance that may be barriers to change. When speaking of the implementation of new technologies, the task for facility managers is to act thoughtfully and to not push technologies everywhere, even if they are not needed. Better to maintain balance. Technologies should serve us, should enable us to design better buildings, and to operate them in a better way, enable us to provide within them more personalized, more complex, and healthier services, to save unnecessary expenses in the long run and in such a way, to prosper sustainably.