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Property Technology: Definitions, Statistics, and Why You Need It

The rise of property technology companies around the world is causing a massive shift in the commercial real estate (CRE) industry towards more tech-enabled buildings and work offerings. 

According to Deloitte’s 2021 commercial real estate outlook, “Companies can significantly increase tenant engagement by optimizing real-time updates about facilities and developing a sense of community using mobile apps. About one-half (48%) of respondents who said their company is using digital technologies, such as interactive mobile apps, to increase communication with tenants or end-users, plan to increase investment in digital channels over the next year. Cloud technology could be the backbone for many new capabilities as it offers scalability, data storage, and ubiquitous access. For instance, companies can leverage cloud-based tools for digital marketing and to connect virtually with tenants to build a digital tenant experience.

To expedite the implementation of a digital transformation road map, CRE companies should look for strategic partnerships with technology providers or proptechs. REIT respondents seem to acknowledge this and are being more open to collaborating with proptechs. On average, 58% of REIT respondents have increased their intent to partner, compared to 45% of respondents who are developers.”

What exactly is property technology, and how can landlords and property teams leverage it as a differentiator in the market?

What Are Property Technology Companies?

The term “proptech” has only recently become a buzzword for CRE within the last few years. Just as “fintech” is short for financial technologies, the proptech definition combines properties with technology. This niche market pushes CRE portfolios towards collaborating with real estate tech companies — ultimately striving for more efficient building and workplace systems, which are rooted in new technological advancements that can combine the physical and digital worlds. Additionally, property technology companies can help offices align with the modern tech-enabled habits of their main consumers: tenants.

According to Common.com, a more in-depth definition of proptech is as follows: “Proptech is an innovative approach to real estate in which technology optimizes the way people research, rent, buy, sell, and manage a property. The cross-industry technology benefits all parties involved – developers, investors, and property management companies – making it a recent buzzword in commercial real estate. PropTech real estate startups are all those that are attempting to make the real estate industry (especially in highly dense cities) better, more efficient, and easier to navigate for all parties involved. It’s no wonder that New York is a leader in this up-and-coming industry with so many real estate concerns, such as the lack of affordability and of housing units. The rise of this industry considers the need for a technological and mental change required of the real estate sector to address the inconveniences of its consumers.”

How 2020 Real Estate Technology Trends Paved the Way

Proptech 2020 trends were just starting to take hold before the pandemic – which were then rapidly accelerated by modern safety and health regulations. According to GCA Global, the proptech market size had experienced significant growth: there was $4.4 billion raised in growth capital in the U.S. proptech space across 135 deals through June of 2020. GCA also stated that they believed the higher rate of proptech adoption would ensure that the industry would emerge stronger than ever.

At the same time, a CREtech survey revealed the following for proptech companies 2020:

  • 65% of respondents project that the combo “real estate and innovations” is to have a significant influence on commercial real estate worldwide;
  • 31% of commercial real estate investors are planning to invest in Proptech companies;
  • 26% considers this opportunity as a chance to make money on disruptive projects;
  • the top PropTech trends for 2020 are smart cities and buildings, AR/VR components to online property platforms, multi-level biometric security;  
  • tools and technologies to be widely used in proptech: generative design, building information modeling, and digital twins.

Additionally, before COVID-19 hit the market, a KPMG Global Proptech Survey identified the key areas to embrace technology trends in proptech services were real-time asset performance data, building optimization transactions, and customer data – as well as improved efficiency (65%), cost-reduction (47%), and more efficient decision making (44%).

A lot of those needs remain the same today, with a few newly added considerations mixed in. Now, let’s dive into the modern proptech market map, and how emerging trends have evolved.

The Future of Real Estate Technology 2021

Commercial real estate technology trends for 2021 show promising futures for both commercial real estate teams and proptech companies due to the proven need for office technology. According to a recent Forbes article covering the latest CRE news and upcoming technology trends, the proptech industry has grown by 1072% from 2015 to 2019. In terms of proptech investment alone, venture capital firms invested $8.3 billion in proptech companies around the world in 2018. 

Jim Berry, Vice Chairman and U.S. real estate leader at Deloitte, explains the continued rise of proptech trends even after the COVID-19 pandemic: “While the pandemic was an eye-opener, we see it as an accelerant of existing trends. It is telling that 56% of CRE respondents to our 2021 CRE Outlook survey said that the pandemic exposed shortcomings in their organizations’ digital capabilities. Only 40% of respondents said their company has a defined digital transformation roadmap.”

More specifically, according to John D’Angelo, U.S. real estate leader at Deloitte Consulting, the future of proptech resides in four key trends: the rise of digital twins, direct digital engagement, data and analytics, and robotic process automation. We can break these down as follows:

  • Rise of digital twins: By capturing and using data about physical buildings, supplemented by Internet of Things (IoT) data about building operations, the CRE industry can create efficiency in building operations, improve end-user experiences, and preemptively address issues across portfolios.
  • Direct digital engagement: Technology can create direct lines of communications with tenants, as well as touchless experiences that promote modern safety and health regulations.
  • Data and analytics: Data-driven decision making will continue to evolve as CRE companies also evolve. D’Angelo states that when trying to understand changing CRE patterns and opportunities, “Trying to do this by instinct or gut simply doesn’t work effectively in this environment.”
  • Robotic process automation: Robotics process automation allows individuals to configure computer software that emulates and integrates the actions of a human interacting within digital systems to execute a business process. “Robotic process automation (RP) is an example of the slow automation adoption in CRE. As we see CRE companies work to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs, RPA will play a role in overall digital transformation efforts,” said D’Angelo.

The integration of proptech platforms will either make or break commercial real estate portfolios as offices adjust to the digitization of the industry. As Berry aptly points out: “Ultimately, a CRE company’s competitiveness in the [future] world could hinge significantly on the extent to which their people can succeed in a digital work environment.”

The need for such technology is being seen and heard around the world. Though slower than the U.S. market, proptech UK trends are also starting to emerge. Pi Labs CEO and Founder Faisal Butt explains European proptech technology news in a recent report: “It is now hugely important to understand both the threats and the opportunities facing the built environment in order to adapt and mitigate the challenges that organisations of all sizes have and will struggle with. Technology will play a big part in shaping the future of work providing an abundance of opportunities, and the winners in a post-COVID-19 world will be those players that make the right investments to unlock the full potential of what proptech can offer.”

Proptech Examples for Your Office Portfolio

As up and coming real estate companies continue to emerge, and proptech categories expand, you need to make sure you’re accessing the best proptech examples for your office portfolio. In our HqOS Marketplace of best-in-class technology partners, you can activate partners and technologies to meet any building’s needs through the following categories: 

  1. Access Control: Through access control capabilities, owners can enable tenants to gain access to their office buildings with just the tap of a phone.
  2. Emergency Communications: Another critical tenant experience component is the ability to communicate critical safety information to building occupants in a quick and efficient manner.
  3. Order Ahead: A smart-enabled technology platform can increase safety and convenience for your tenants, such as integrating with local retailers to allow them to place orders ahead and reduce friction.
  4. Resource Booking: Even resource booking can be more seamless. Smart building sensors coordinate with your existing software to assist in more efficient room booking management, from conference rooms to event spaces and everything in between, making organizing your day completely frictionless.
  5. Service Booking: Technologies can also be utilized to activate your building amenities. Tenants can take advantage of easy-to-book services, fitness classes, and more.
  6. Service Requests: Building and maintenance staff play an essential role in tenant experience. Enter service request solutions, where tenants can communicate with building managers for work orders, cleaning services, and more.
  7. Shuttle Tracking: Shuttle tracking technologies can help you understand your tenants’ commuting behaviors and determine the best-fit transit solutions for any property.
  8. Ticketing: Smart ticketing can help grant tenants access to key property experiences and partner services with scannable visuals. The process is quick, convenient, and contactless.
  9. Visitor Registration: Contactless visitor registration can also be easily integrated into a building through a tenant experience platform. Speed up the visitor registration process while also ensuring modern safety and security protocols are met.

These common proptech needs are the baseline of what our Marketplace can achieve. Make sure you’re taking advantage of the right trendy real estate companies as you keep pace with the latest commercial real estate technology news and needs.

Proptech is Defining the Future of the Real Estate Industry

As the number of proptech companies in the market continues to grow, and proptech news continues to revolve around creating digital-to-physical experiences for the workplace, landlords and property teams will make or break their businesses depending on the adoption of the right real estate services companies. Such proptech real estate enhancements will serve as a differentiating factor to help attract and retain tenants and generate value.

As the industry embarks on this journey, property teams will get the highest proptech valuation through connecting their otherwise disparate building systems in a singular location. Fortunately, the HqOS™ end-to-end operating system provides CRE owners with a leap in the right direction. The three layers of HqOS — which include our Marketplace, Tenant Experience Platform, and the Digital Grid™ — work seamlessly together to produce compounding positive results for any portfolio. 

Our growing Marketplace of best-in-class technology partners — which can be accessed through the Tenant Experience Platform — enables landlords to activate more of their building features, while simultaneously providing tenants with a better experience and property managers with a higher volume of rich data. The Digital Grid then takes these activations a step further, serving as a connected and streamlined analytics offering that can collect tenant behavior, amenities, technologies, and building data all in a single location. By centralizing and structuring data within our CRE-specific data model, it helps owners and operators uncover insights, take action to differentiate their assets, and make intelligent decisions across their portfolio. 

Want to take your portfolio into the future of the real estate industry, as well as to learn more about our operating system? Schedule your free demo today!

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