Simply put, this term refers to new technology, specifically designed for the construction and property industries. Better known examples of this are virtual reality or augmented reality and on a wider scale, smart cities (check out some of the research currently underway in Maynooth University here: https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/research/people-place-and-environment/smart-cities ).
There is some amazing and truly life-changing innovation coming down the track over the next few years but from an immediate Irish property market perspective the focus is on collecting as much information as possible and using that information to provide better services to buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants.
What is interesting about this type of innovation is that much of it is coming from outside the industry. It is coming from consumers who have been through a buying, selling or renting process and are imaging and then designing ways that technology can improve this. Improvements can be for time and/or cost effectiveness. What we are seeing across the UK and the US – where PropTech is at a slightly more advanced stage – is that the most successful and impactful innovation happens when consumers and property professionals like estate agents or valuers come together to create solutions.
The new solutions might be as seemly simple as key-less, digital entry to buildings or perhaps as relevant as automating the entire rental transaction right through to completion of lease agreements and payment of all money due using one multi-function, integrated platform. Of course, if the legal process can be automated for leasing, it is not a huge stretch for the buying/selling process to be automated over time. However, the most eagerly awaiting technology in the marketplace at the moment is property viewing using virtual or augmented reality tools. This is already available for a growing number of off-plan buildings, both commercial and residential, but is has yet to take off fully.
Here at Kinsella Estates, we are keeping an eye on emerging technology for the industry, not just in Ireland but across the globe. We have no doubt that this is the future of property businesses and we were mindful of this when we launched our newly redesigned website last month (kinsellaestates.ie ). Also, when we exhibited at the recent Property Expo ’16 – the first of its kind to take place in Ireland over the past decade – we tested a few of the virtual reality (VR) packages currently available with the intention of trialling this technology for a number of properties that we are selling. If you feel that your property is suitable for this i.e. likely to appeal to buyers outside of the local area or outside of Ireland, talk to us about arranging a VR facility.
PropTech is fundamentally changing how we do business within the property market and when this happens, it’s not just the estate agents who are affected, it is the buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants who ultimately benefit. It is difficult to image a marketplace without online portals like Daft.ie and Myhome.ie, yet they did not exist (in their current form) two decades ago. The pace of innovation and change is increasing rapidly; the important thing for sellers is to ensure that their property is accessible to all potential buyers in whatever form they wish to view it, whether that is real or virtual.