Technologies that are Transforming the Property Sectorfjpinvestment
While it is true to say that all sectors have been, and will continue to be changed by technology and innovation, the property sector has been traditionally slow to adopt change and new trends. However, new technologies mean that the sector is fast adapting to the tech world. Indeed, shifts in political and environmental views necessitate that the property sector adapts quickly to meet altered priorities in conserving resources and time. Put differently, efficiency and innovation in the property sector are helping to achieve goals set by Governments and agencies like the United Nations.
PropTech, the term used to denote technological innovation in the property sector, is exponentially growing and is altering the way consumers buy, sell, and interact with their properties. The blooming of PropTech conferences and events showcasing PropTech innovations testifies to the growing trend of property companies wanting to move as quickly as possible to adapt and reap the benefits.
Set out below are the major changes taking place in the property sector and how they are transforming the property landscape.
Humanity is increasingly living in a data-driven world. Making accurate and effective decisions depends on having accurate real-time data, and the property sector and property management industry are well placed to reap the benefits from utilising big data.
Huge amounts of data can now be collected and compiled on a variety of essential things, like buying and selling trends in specific locations, traffic conditions, demographic data, consumer surveys, and much more. This compiled data can then be analysed by AI and human resources to provide discernment on things like pricing, home buying and selling trends, crime statistics, planned projects, and any potential changes in value for certain areas or neighbourhoods.
Furthermore, for both landlords and property management services, big data enables the collection of real time and historical data on a range of building systems and therefore better targets proactive maintenance. Such systems include things like fire safety, heating and air conditioning, telecommunications, power usage, and foot traffic.
Because big data allows for proactive maintenance, it can also provide alerts to property managers about equipment malfunctions prior to their occurring. One great benefit is that this translates into less downtime compared to when something totally fails, and thus potentially becomes more expensive to rectify.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
AI and machine learning are set to be huge in every sector, as well as in everyone’s personal lives. In fact, it’s not hyperbolic to say that AI will revolutionise everything we do, say, and act upon, given the pronouncements from institutions like the World Economic Forum on the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Working closely in conjunction with other technologies like big data, AI and machine learning will enable users to collect and analyse data at unprecedented speeds and accuracy, making it more actionable and therefore useful.
A good illustration of this can be found in how property searches can be greatly improved upon. Currently, searches are typically conducted based on narrow parameters like location and property size. However, AI-powered searches will be able to recommend property based upon a much broader set of criteria, such as including personal preferences, personality traits, values, and short and long-term plans. Based upon a basic psychological and personal profile, for example, imagine an AI predicting that children may be coming shortly, so a location near schools may be needed.
With many property-searching websites, chatbots will be able to interact with users to quickly answer questions that need answering. They won’t stop there. They could also potentially work alongside human real estate agents and attend showings with buyers, highlighting important features and answering any questions buyers may have. The pandemic has accelerated the interest by many agents and buyers in conducting virtual showings, reducing human contact, saving time in shortlisting properties, and allowing agents to conduct many more showings than they would otherwise be able to do.
By analysing a huge amount of relevant data, such as historical trends for a particular area, local crime statistics, schools, and transportation, AI will be able to predict pricing trends more accurately. Not only will this AI-powered predictive data better help potential homeowners and occupiers, but it will also benefit property investors who are looking to maximise their chances of greater profit from their investment.
And for buyers or property, it will also help make the whole process faster and more headache-free, as most buyers can understand very well. The days when buyers can avoid having to deal with stacks of paperwork are fast approaching.
Virtual and augmented reality (VR & AR)
Research shows that most buyers start their property search on the internet. Because of this, VR and AR will continue to develop and adapt to this trend by offering more interesting, accessible, and engaging online searching experiences.
For the comfort and convenience of their own homes, potential buyers can take part in virtual tours of properties and ask questions as they proceed. Other factors have recently contributed to the internet’s use of this technology, including the pandemic and the rising cost of fuel. VR and AR can help buyers shortlist the properties they are interested in, so they only have to attend in person the ones they have selected as the most likely ones. Furthermore, long distance buyers, say on the other side of the country, or even overseas buyers and investors, can also greatly benefit from these technologies.
As any estate agent or home seller will know, staging—the act of preparing the home in its best possible light—can be a time-consuming and expensive process. With the use of VR and AR, however, staging can now be done much more easily by enabling sellers to virtually stage their property by digitally adding or removing unwanted furniture that will best showcase their property. After all, wouldn’t any property look better with quality furniture that can show a room’s full potential and space saving options?
As for new-build homes, home buyers and off-plan property investors can take advantage of virtual reality technology to create realistic and accurate images and walkthroughs to help buyers and investors better appreciate and experience what the property has to offer, even before or during the construction phase of the project.
When it comes to landlords looking for tenants to occupy their property investment, a virtual reality tour of their property can help prospective new tenants get familiar with their new apartment or house. Not only can virtual reality tech help with showcasing the home for new tenants in the renting process, but it can also help them when they move in with virtual walkthroughs demonstrating to tenants how to locate and use things like environmental controls and the thermostat, demonstrating each step along the way without the tenant having to wade through volumes of written instructions. The use of VR and AR technology in this way hints at how this technology will be utilised in the future for training and teaching in most sectors.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) consists of a multitude of “smart” devices and appliances that are connected to the “cloud” – everything accessed remotely over the internet – which sends and receives a never-ending stream of information.
Appliances and machines that are fitted with smart sensors can alert property owners and managers to potential problems and even use predictive analytics for preventive maintenance, saving both time and money. Looking forward into the future, it’s likely that homebuyers will be able to access and download information pertaining to their home’s history of maintenance and upkeep through its smart devices connected to the cloud, much like how a car owner can access this information with a service log. Historical information on plumbing and electrics will all be at the fingertips of homeowners to better ascertain the condition of the property.
Likewise, it’s easy to envision those prospective homeowners will, in the future, want to see this information as part of the survey process. For future homeowners selling their property, a high level of upkeep and maintenance will likely fetch a better price and be more attractive to buyers.
IoT technology will inevitably grow in scope and include things like entire smart buildings—even smart cities—enabling a greater degree of automation and cost savings. These smart buildings and cities will be constantly sending and revving information, creating a kind of digital ecosystem that is largely controlled by AI and machine learning. In addition to this, the AI will be able to self-improve and recommend alterations to improve how the systems operate by improving upon human-inspired systems.
There is no doubt about it. AI is set to change the world in ways humans cannot predict or even envision. The crucial question then becomes, as people like Elon Musk and Steven Hawkins have noted, will AI stay under human control, and if so, by how much? Indeed, as technology and systems become much more complex, it may be necessary to relinquish some control and decision making to AI and machines for effective and smooth running.
5G (5th generation mobile network)
As with many modern technologies, 5G is working in tandem with other technologies to change the world. By providing more bandwidth, 5G is a kind of base technology upon which many other smart devices and technologies depend to work effectively. With a much greater increase in bandwidth, 5G will transform homes and workplaces all over the world.
There are several ways in which 5G will change the property sector, such as home security, for example. 5G allows for many more devices and sensors to be simultaneously connected, such as CCTV and alarms. Real-time high-definition images can be sent to smart devices anywhere in the world.
Because of the way 5G works, to be truly effective, it will require a vastly increased number of base stations as they need to be close to where the smart technologies are operating from. And opportunities for commercial property owners to rent space to telecoms providers to locate some of these base stations will undoubtedly arise.
Having stated some of the main benefits that 5G offers, there are still concerns that need to be resolved moving forward. One such concern is being voiced by the aviation industry with the roll-out of 5G, arguing that 5G may affect the take-off and landing of aircraft by interfering with sensitive instruments. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-59737194
Drones have a gadgetry feel to them, but they are extremely useful and practical in many ways. Indeed, drones are here to stay and are already making significant headway in the property sector.
At a relatively low cost, drones can be used in construction for mapping and surveying. They provide high-definition aerial photography and are particularly useful for displaying larger homes and the layout of land, affording the viewer a feel for the size and grandeur of the property. It’s conceivable that drones will be used in the future for real time remote viewing.
Drones can also be used to access difficult-to-reach parts of a property to look for maintenance or repair issues, or spot potential risks like a faulty roof or chimney.