Pedro Azcue
CEO & Chairman Latin America
JLL Mexico
/
Expert Contributor

Proptech: The Future of the Real Estate Sector

By Pedro Azcue | Wed, 04/27/2022 - 11:00

A couple of years ago, buildings had very little integrated technology and the built environment was slowly adapting to a regulatory and environmental panorama in rapid evolution. This has changed. The urgency to adopt new practices in favor of sustainability and the challenges that the pandemic has brought, together with the advance in online analysis tools, has resulted in a proptech revolution that has helped solve some of the most complicated challenges of the real estate sector.

Proptech, a term used to refer to companies that employ technology as a resource to reinvent any aspect within the real estate sector, is among the markets that have best capitalized on the pandemic. With this additional impulse, it is taking us beyond the integration of technological solutions that help resolve immediate matters, such as work management and remote education, health, hygiene, and contactless movement tracing, given that normal social practices are changing throughout the industry, stimulating experimentation on all levels.

The panorama of technology adoption and diffusion has grown rapidly in size and complexity during the last decade, with almost 8,000 companies that offer technology-centered solutions throughout the built environment on a global scale; an increase of over 300 percent. Because of the pandemic, the number of services offered in the sector are so extensive that now seems like the perfect opportunity to reinvent them in a digital format. Almost all aspects of the real estate sector have the capacity to evolve more quickly than ever before.

For the real estate industry, the consequences of the pandemic have been diverse. It has provided opportunity without precedent to experiment and accelerate the adoption of technology that has the potential to make built environments, workplaces, homes, and cities more sustainable, healthier, and people-centric. It has also accelerated and established virtual reality, completely fusing physical and digital environments. The pandemic has forced us to change the ways we work. The need to hold meetings has also resulted in the creation of multimedia rooms, which provide the tools necessary for all teams to feel as though they are working together.

In a pendular movement, we went from the traditional office to work-from-home and now we are looking for an equilibrium as we instate a hybrid model. Even though uncertainties still exist, the level at which both the public and private sectors have adapted exceeded all expectations.

The technologies now available, as well as that under development, are configured to radically remodel the way in which we build, interact with, and use buildings. Those who take advantage of the past few years’ advances in connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as artificial intelligence (AI), technologies that enable automatization, respond to the real needs of companies and governments with demonstrable improvements and can become integrated into existing systems, or replace them with end-to-end solutions, are better positioned to establish themselves.

Several of these topics continue to evolve and will shape the future of how technology interacts with the built environment. Such is the case of data, analysis, and automation; sustainability and well-being; infrastructure and design; compromise, personalization, and experience.

This last item has resulted in very interesting proposals that seek to generate a sort of “experiential” space. That is to say, transforming the space in an innovative experience that is more sustainable and friendlier to both the community and the environment.

It is likely that through the proptech market, technology will be the best catalyst toward green progress, space management, and its impact on people. Without a doubt, we live in an era where technology and sustainability are linked. The increase in investment in artificial intelligence, robotics, and construction operation software that optimizes all kinds of processes and guarantees that new buildings adhere to higher standards reflects this.

The goal is to create a better world. To the extent that governments, companies, and individuals, commit to more ambitious sustainability goals, technological solutions will be crucial and we will live in a panorama of real estate technology in constant and rapid evolution.

Photo by:   Pedro Azcue