Part 4 in a 4 part series examining the next steps for proptech in 2017
by Michael Wolter
Each day, proptech takes another step toward a full takeover of the property market. Deals are made, companies are bought and sold, and innovative new solutions break out onto the scene. Media outlets continue to write about the proptech revolution that is already underway. If it hasn’t been said already, you heard it here first: we are living in the golden age of proptech.
Despite the efficiency and ease of use proptech can bring, there remains resistance to technology in the property market. In some subsectors it takes different forms, as we have explored with specific regard to emotion in homebuying , millennials and rentals, and smart homes in new builds. This isn’t a new story – innovation and disruption are not usually met with open arms when they stand to revolutionise an industry that has long used the same practices, even if consumers stand to benefit in a variety of ways.
Property is a robust market that will always have plenty of activity, simply for the fact that people need a place to live. Web technology, including that found both in mobiles and desktop computers, has changed life as we know it forever. Hence proptech should we a natural progression – there’s technology in health care, financial services (‘fintech’), and social media. Where does the resistance to technology in property come from, and what can companies do to begin integrating it into their practices?
Where does the resistance to technology in property come from, and what can companies do to begin integrating it into their practices?
Leadership is one of the greatest determining factors in whether a company adopts technology in their practice, which in turn is reflected in company culture. It will come as no surprise that many of today’s most prominent proptech companies were started by individuals who were already well versed in the internet, which tends to place product designers and proptech CEOs in a rather specific demographic: Generations X and Y. A quick glance at Onalytica’s Top 100 Proptech Influencers and Brands shows that the top 5 influencers fall into this category, as do many of the C-suites of the top proptech brands.
It is incumbent upon property company leaders who are not familiar with technology and the internet in the way that these proptech leaders are to embrace the ways proptech can add value to their company. The bottom line for any company should be the needs of the client and how best to serve them, and there are very few circumstances in which proptech does not provide a way to do things faster and easier. For that reason property companies must face the unknown, if that is what proptech represents to them, in order to provide greater service to their clients as well as grow their business.
Jax Kneppers, founder and CEO of Imfuna, was one of the early leaders in proptech. Instead of shunning technology, Kneppers used it to his advantage. Kneppers developed Imfuna to produce digital inspections much faster and of higher quality than the legacy approach, which included handwritten notes or dictaphone recordings that had to be transcribed by support staff and digital photos that had to be uploaded to a computer, all of which had to be later integrated into a report. Since its inception, the Imfuna property inspection solution has been shown to save users up to 75% of the time it used to take them to create an inspection report.
Kneppers developed Imfuna to produce digital inspections much faster and of higher quality than the legacy approach.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: 2017 will be the year proptech begins to show up in our lives. One of the reasons technology has advanced so quickly and in so many areas is because of the huge efficiency it offers. This efficiency is poised to fundamentally change the way the property field works, but it can only do so when given the opportunity. There are already hundreds of proptech companies, with more innovations being invented each day. Proptech is the key to maximizing the potential of any property company – it only has to be set in motion. So, what are you waiting for?