We spent a couple of days in Sydney learning about emerging technology in the property sector, whilst introducing Rental Heroes to the Australian property community.
Rental Heroes featured on a panel discussion, we introduced our new product video and participated in the 2019 Proptech Pitch competition.
We really enjoyed meeting so many like-minded folks who are applying digital technologies to what is sometimes perceived as laggard industry.
Some learnings and observations…
The proptech sector is picking up steam.
In Australia, multiple presenters referenced proptech charts that include around 150 startups working to solve problems across the full lifecycle of buying, selling, renting/leasing and asset management.
Globally, there are now over 7,000 proptechs with 46% focussed on automation.(1)
Few proptechs are “platform players” – most proptechs focus on solving one problem really well and then integrate with other applications.
Rental Heroes has found a niche – our smart assistant falls within the “property management” category focussed on tenant experience and agent productivity. As communication specialists, we focus on the “interaction layer” and using AI-powered natural language technology we optimise, automate and blend digital and human communications.
Multi-year transformation projects are out, but benefit realisation is still a long game.
Many commercial property groups are replacing multi-year IT transformation projects with “best of breed” proptech solutions that can adapt to their rapidly changing customer expectations.
All presenters recognised that becoming digital is multi-year organisational journey that goes beyond just technology and includes additional challenges such as ongoing culture development, training and process optimisation to deliver lasting change.
Interoperability of data – critically, across solutions - is a key decision driver of proptech buyers in commercial and residential. Integration is key.
Tenant experience really matters.
Both in residential and commercial.
Tenant experience matters more than ever in commercial property management – it’s being propelled into the spotlight by the co-working space boom, with providers touting “non-traditional benefits” such as reduced staff attrition rates.
In residential property management, 65% of tenants and 56% of investors rate their service as “average to very poor”. This is costing the industry an estimated $1.5B in lost commissions every year.(2)
Adding value to the “place experience” is becoming a competitive new lever for providers of property. Traditional providers must evolve quickly to adapt to increasing tenant expectations.
The value of today’s data, tomorrow.
The promise of Digital Twins has made data aggregation sexy – who can resist that futuristic image of a building (that also exists in the real world), annotated in real-time with data coming from an array of connected devices and sensors.
The use cases are compelling. Through connected datasets, asset managers will optimise the use of space, tenant satisfaction and their capital allocated to maintenance. It’s coming and there is recognition of the value of collecting and integrating data - but it will be evolutionary.
Watch out for China.
China is emerging as a key player in terms of adopting proptech solutions, development and investment.
China’s sheer scale and growth mean that there is a constant stream of large scale built-environment projects, hungry to deploy the latest digital technologies.
Did you know Alibaba have 1,500 developers dedicated to real estate tech? (3)
We believe Rental Heroes is well placed to benefit from the emerging trends. There is growing awareness of the value in delivering a great tenant CX even during challenging times for commercial leasing markets. In residential, landlords and tenants are being exposed to more and more alternatives to the traditional property manager model.
Rental Heroes focus on the “final mile” interaction, leveraging the latest AI technology, making it easy for our property manager customers to provide a consistently excellent experience for tenants and landlords. For example, we already provide targeted “self-help” options to both residential and commercial tenants – assisting them with enquiries at any time of day.
Longer term, we understand the power of data and will be at the forefront of solutions that help with preventative maintenance, capital optimisation and new ways to measure and improve tenant satisfaction.
References: 1) Unissu presentation 2) Kylie Davis, Real Content, PropTech SummiT presentation 3) Taronga Group presentation