The commercial and industrial real estate industry has experienced significant and exponential growth in advanced technology geared towards property management globally.
Player in this field need to attain and maintain a competitive advantage over their competitors.
Therefore, its no surprise that facility management technology trends are taking advantage of the global rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0).
94% of investors believe that the global Covid-19 pandemic has facilitated and spurred investment in proptech in the year 2021, instead of slowing the industry down.
Which Proptech trends should you look out for? What benefits do you stand to reap from these Proptech trends in order to stand head and shoulders above your competition?
Proptech trends to keep an eye out for in 2021
Like we alluded to earlier, facility management software has become a mainstay in the real estate field, streamlining operations and taking the general industry to another level.
However, you don’t want your brand to be lumped in with all the others.
In order to achieve uniqueness, you need to find a way to sound out from all the noise and aim at positioning your real estate brand to the front and center of the industry.
These are the standout 2021 trends in facility management to propel your business.
- Continued industry penetration of the Internet of Things and automation
- More mobility features in proptech tools
- Big data takes center stage
- Development of more intuitive and interactive building visualization tools
- The rise and rise of Artificial Intelligence in business processes
- Focus on health-related solutions
IoT and Automation continue to take root
It’s affordable to integrate smart edge devices into commercial or multi-family buildings.
Real estate enterprises are taking advantage of advanced digital facility management applications and automating several crucial aspects of property management.
Automated data monitoring
Property managers can remotely read meters from various sensors strategically placed throughout a smart building. The latest nifty tools make for effortless utility meter reading.
This translates well into using IoT sensors for predictive maintenance.
The different sensors around the building relay their operating condition parameters, allowing relevant personnel to monitor the condition of various systems.
For example, managers monitor air quality and temperature in the space and the electrical and water supply systems, ensuring that occupants are well taken care of.
If there are any foreseen problems through analysis, maintenance personnel can get ahead of impending system failures through proactive and timely maintenance.
Automated building access and security
Facility management software plays a central role in giving guests, employees or contractors access to the building. This eliminates the need to have more warm bodies handling entry points, leaving you to delegate this workforce to other areas.
Newer tools are also taking advantage of advancements in automation to vet vehicles trying to access the facility. This saves time and also increases security on the premises.
Space management and pre-booking
Automated tools allow guests to book ahead, making check-in more convenient.
This Proptech trend has come in handy during the pandemic. The tech has helped managers to implement social distancing in various areas of the building. You can use CAFM software to schedule meeting spaces with enough room to ensure that attendees are adequately spaced.
CAFM BIM (Building Information Modelling) combination can create floor plans with social distancing, sidestepping potential choke points that can put stakeholders’ health at risk.
Expanded adoption of mobility
According to figures from Statista, there are about 6.3 billion smartphone subscriptions in the world. And this figure is estimated to grow to roughly 7.5 billion in the next five years.
Coupled with increased internet connectivity creates a wagon to hitch your business.
The upward trend of smart mobile adoption can favor you as proptech developers are issuing various tools and apps targeted at tenants, commercial owners and managers.
Examine these applications and the advantages of leveraging this trend for your business.
Efficient facility management
The procedures in dealing with tenants, service providers and other third parties provides several instances for facility management to encounter significant challenges.
A tenant experience app solves this problem by bringing everything to one platform.
Managers can interact with tenants and vice versa, making it easy for all parties to be on the same page regarding maintenance issues, inspections or even rental payment updates.
In this era where the world is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, such an app also provides vital information regarding any changes instituted to curb the spread of the virus.
More representative property valuation
Mobile application development in the Proptech space makes it easier for you to win over prospective clients and tenants. This scenario stems from the prospect’s ability to access vital information about your property without having to engage in several site visits.
For instance, some mobile tools provide information regarding the building specs and amenities, whereas others give detailed facts about the location’s social make-up.
Facilitating access to such crucial information allows clients to make informed business decisions because they literally have all the relevant facts in the palm of their hands.
Virtual tours and space planning
Prospective tenants can do virtual tours and property inspections using a tenant application and therefore lessening the load on the real estate agent. Some mobile tools also enable clients to visualize the space and make it easier to picture themselves in the facility.
Property owners can save on staging and at the same time, close deals more efficiently.
Guest pre booking and space booking
This Proptech trend has made it easier for clients to book space at a facility without being physically present on the premises. The same can be said of guests looking for rooms.
Not only does this trend improve the client’s experience with dealing with your brand, but it also frees up person-hours for you to improve other areas of your business.
Big Data is more integral in analytics and management
Running a commercial real estate enterprise requires you to deal with a lot of information.
This information is crucial and facilitates you to price your facility appropriately, cater to your target demographic and mitigate the risks involved in investing in the industry.
Big data allows you to collect vast troves of information. But it goes further than that.
Burgeoning Proptech applications make it possible for users to analyze in real-time this data and make informative insights that guide your real estate operations.
These applications make this trend genuinely vital to your real estate business moving forward.
Tenant, guest and employee specific data collection and processing
To stand head and shoulders over your competition, you need to collect and analyze various sets of data to glean insights to give you an edge. Getting a hold of tenant or guest data ensures that you provide them with what they need to thrive when using your property.
On-site behavioral data helps managers to adjust their practices to ensure tenant satisfaction.
In a less technologically advanced era, you would require vast physical space to house a data center to store the colossal amount of information you’d need to sort through.
And that’s quite costly, eating into your margins.
However, Cloud-based Proptech applications and solutions allow your business to store substantial data amounts with offsite storage providers at a more cost-effective rate.
Leveraging the power of IoT and AI
In order to extract any profitable insights from the collected data, you will need to employ powerful analytics tools so as to make sense of the jumbled trove of diverse data.
IoT and edge technology allow you to collect and process data in real-time, providing you with valuable information on which to base critical decisions in your real estate operations.
Additionally, leveraging and harnessing data analysis from Internet of Things sensors allows you to know more about your building, including usage patterns and human traffic flow.
Consequently, you can make adjustments to ensure that the property is adequately utilized.
You can gather data that provides various kinds of information that influences decisions you can make on your other existing or prospective properties in your portfolio.
More interactive building visualization
Another technology in property and facility management that is taking root in the industry is utilizing software for property visualizations. The different applications in this technology work for both the property owner, developer and even the potential tenants.
This is evident when you integrate CAFM software with a building information model (BIM).
Unifying these two technologies provides several benefits through different applications.
Interdisciplinary 3D building modeling
Three-dimensional building models provide representative plans for your property. Growth in proptech makes it easier for the disciplines involved in building to be on the same page.
Air conditioning, electrical and water system staff can view the same model as the construction engineers and make cohesive plans to install their respective assets seamlessly.
BIM growth has spawned advanced tools to ensure that collaboration among different disciplines flows smoothly, ensuring that you remain on track in your property development.
Informed modeling of intelligent buildings
As we have seen earlier, a computer aided facilities management system allows you to optimize the running of the building and manage the tenants adequately and seamlessly.
You need to ensure that your building ticks all the smart boxes to attract the target clientele.
As such, merging Computer Aided Facility Management with BIM allows you to visualize different property aspects and how they can slot into your tech-infused building.
Digital twins help to visualise how smart tech of interest will affect your building.
Virtual property tours
The younger market which is predominantly Millennials and Gen Zers are more comfortable buying property online. Zillow puts this figure at around 39% and 36%, respectively.
These demographics will be your primary target market for the future and thus catering to their online real estate shopping experience should put your business in good stead.
Virtual property tours are effective at putting your property in a good light to attract buyers.
The same Zillow research we referenced earlier found that 79% of buyers were confident and more likely to buy after doing a 3D tour of the property or viewing a digital floor plan.
You can take advantage of this trend to enable drawing in more interest by incorporating virtual and augmented reality in your 3D virtual tour. This allows prospective clients to picture themselves in the space with their different fixtures, fittings and other furnishings.
The rise of Artificial Intelligence in analytical processes
We examined the big data trend and its positives to your real estate investment intentions. However, that trend requires significant processing and analytics to get the most out of it.
Enter artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning and its practical applications.
Optical character recognition
This technology eases the paper work associated with daily real estate business processes.
The development of Artificial Intelligence makes optical character recognition more intuitive and simplifies paper intensive processes like money transactions.
This speeds up processes and facilitates reassigning employees to roles requiring their input.
Local market analysis
In order to achieve success within real estate investment industry, ventures are relying heavily on acquiring or building properties in areas your target market fancies.
However, it can be pretty challenging to keep track of various relevant regional markers.
Artificial Intelligence enabled digital applications and tools sort through the data while deeply analyzing and providing invaluable insights into the state of the local market.
This allows you to make informed decisions regarding your real estate investment strategy in that particular market. For instance, analysis can show you that a new market is ready for intensive investment, allowing you to buy low and sell high.
In-building behavior and usage pattern analysis
AI comes in handy when you need to make sense of the goings-on in your property. The technology analyzes building usage patterns as well as interactions with various amenities.
Artificial intelligence provides insights about any possible anomalies and thus presenting opportunities for you to make better decisions and improve tenant contentment.
Client engagement and acquisition
More and more prospective clients operate online when searching for space. So, they’re more likely to interact with your brand through your online channels instead of physical walk-ins.
You might have fewer client-facing staff than the interested persons. You can make use of AI chatbots to handle minor queries posed by your potential or even existing clients.
Increased focus on health-centered solutions
In light of the global Covid-19 pandemic, Proptech has developed in order to focus more on the health of tenants and other persons with access to a specific property.
These emerging digital tools are centered on these aspects.
Controlled indoor air quality (IAQ)
Advanced cloud-based property management software uses various sensors placed in open spaces and HVAC units to detect any impurities in air supplied throughout the building.
Facility managers can monitor this air quality data remotely and effect measures appropriately.
Edge devices automatically deal with IAQ based on the changes in quality detected by sensors.
Touchless visitor management system
Because the spread of the virus hinges on proximity and contact, facility management software is evolving to limit instances of such contact. First off, entrance into the property requires QR codes, NFC tags or any other mechanism that limits physical surface contact at the entrances.
Even more health-oriented is the installation of automated sanitation measures like automatic hand sanitizer dispensers at various entrances and deploying ultraviolet lights.
Furthermore, smart cameras with temperature sensors are replacing humans with temperature guns at entrances. These health-orientated proptech trends serve to improve tenant and employee well-being, security as well as satisfaction.
In a nutshell
Technology has made a sizeable landfall in the commercial and real estate space in 2021.
Various Proptech trends have revitalized different aspects of the industry, holding it up through the global pandemic. The industry has embraced the Internet of Things and automation and adopted mobility on a broader scale.
Not only that, big data has become central to various key processes, dragging along the use of AI for complex analysis. But perhaps the most impactful and noticeable of proptech trends 2021 is the increased focus on health-related solutions.
Gerald Ainomugisha is a freelance Content Solutions Provider (CSP) offering both content and copy writing services for businesses of all kinds, especially in the niches of management, marketing and technology.