By Simon Creasey and Richard Hook

Power of proptech: talking ’bout a revolution

Research carried out by Property Week in association with Freeths Lawyers shows that UK firms are ready to invest more heavily in proptech over the next five years with the advent of such products as blockchain, virtual reality and artificial intelligence/machine learning – teething issues permitting...

Of the 320 survey respondents, 56% said their business already ‘embraces’ technology and 48% said that technology investment would have a significant impact on their revenue over the next five years.

However, it doesn’t appear that these areas factor highly in the future investment plans of property companies at the moment. Only 5% of respondents say that they intend to invest in artificial intelligence-related products for customer relations purposes over the next five years and just over 7% plan to invest in artificial intelligence products that aid decision-making over the same time period.

The technologies that have had the greatest impact on the industry to date are digital-first estate agents such as Purplebricks and eMoov and back-office automation products, according to survey respondents. Over the next five years these areas are still expected to be influential, but technologies such as blockchain, virtual reality and artificial intelligence/machine learning are also anticipated to come to the fore.

Snowball starting to roll

The technology areas that are expected to receive the greatest level of investment in the short term at least are back-office automation, improved analytics and forecasting tools, augmented reality/360-degree videos for marketing and technology products that enable the creation of strong digital links with partners/marketplaces.

That’s if the people behind these technologies can address lingering concerns that the industry has. Just shy of 40% of survey respondents would like to invest in technology, but they are frustrated by products that are not fully developed and as a result have teething issues, and 32% say their main frustration at the moment is that it takes too long to migrate and adopt new technologies.

Freeths partner and national head of real estate, Darren Williamson, said: “The property industry has been cautious in adopting proptech, but the snowball is truly starting to roll. It is fast becoming a big part of what we all do.”

In association with:

Client solutions PW Freeths