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Riding the Wave of Proptech

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A glossary of proptech terms will help the industry understand the potential and pitfalls of technological advancement.

In 2016, AOL co-founder Steve Case wrote about the Third Wave - which is described as an insightful look at our ever-evolving tech world. After the growth of the online world and the last decade's mobile revolution, representing the first two waves, the Third Wave represents the internet of things.

Essential to the success of Third Wave entrepreneurs is learning from the past (particularly the First Wave pioneers), cultivating connection and partnerships with industry gate-keepers, and noting that even the most successful industries that are burdened with inefficiency are ready and waiting for massive disruption. New tech tools for heritage industries will become beacons for greater success.

Take real estate. If you are an industry veteran enjoying a successful ride in an old-school manner, you may think the tech explosion in commercial real estate can remain a road less traveled. But if you still refer to commercial real estate as anything other than CRE, listen up and lace up those Allbirds - the road less traveled is calling.

Technology is no longer relegated to your phone. Its influence is everywhere - shopping for groceries, locking your front door, even reading a book. It also offers the potential to boost real estate careers. Which begs the question, can technology help a successful broker achieve more?

The right technology can combat inefficient or inadequate listing processes, narrow buyer and seller reach, limits in available information, and drawn-out closing processes. Smart, innovative tools that eliminate typical pain points can be a game-changer for brokers hoping to reach that next level.  

A surge of social networking and tech products have come to market to assist CRE brokers, buyers, and sellers. Some individuals,  though, are moving with caution before welcoming the tech transition. Education in and the willingness to utilize real estate tech tools are the first important steps towards cultivating more success. Despite promises of higher performance, CRE remains a discerning community. Plenty of products are surfacing, but many are designed by tech experts - and not necessarily real estate experts who truly understand the challenges of day-to-day business.

One company understanding the pain points of a real estate professional only too well is Biproxi, which offers an end-to-end CRE process and platform. The tool was built by real estate executives who understand common pain points and sought to build a one-stop tech solution that was more efficient and facilitated success when trading assets.

The Biproxi platform and offerings look to speak to all the needs of a broker:

  • A comprehensive end-to-end transaction process.
  • Open availability to everyone, boasting a unique middle-market advantage.
  • Distinctive marketing resources, competencies, and transparencies.
  • A proprietary matching service, similar to dating apps, to find the right buyer based on compatibility, while  eliminating wasted time on incompatible buyers.
  • Comprehensive commercial real estate data not found anywhere else.
  • A variety of tools to increase reach and speed up transaction time on closings.
  • Free MLS.

Technology, automation, and advancement in commercial real estate are rapidly advancing. In a recent column, Duke Long, a godfather of proptech, offered sound advice about the services of a commercial broker becoming automated (and thus beneficial for all). “Your service or services/value is based on the processing of time-consuming and redundant tasks. ... The elimination of time-consuming and redundant tasks [is] what your customer/user wants and needs,” he writes.

Automation and advancement are inevitable - in language as well as services and processes. There are several new terms that also translate into new industry sectors and opportunities within the real estate/CRE tech world.

Here are a few that should be on the tip of the tongue:

Proptech, in its simplest form, is technology related to properties. It “enabl[es] us to better understand [the] impact of technology on building and cities,” as described by MIPIM, a division of REED Midem Exhibitions, and producer of global real estate and proptech events.

CRETech is “where the commercial real estate industry becomes tech enabled,” according to Mike Sroka, CEO of Dealpath, a San Francisco-based real estate technology firm.

ConTech is defined as “technology used to innovate the way we place, design, and build structures, as well as the manufacture and installation of their components,” according to Forbes contributor Angelica Krystle Donati.

Space-As-A-Service: Duncan Logan, founder and CEO of RocketSpace, in an interview with Work Design magazine defines it as “going beyond the office space offering where the office space is a platform for a curated community and other services offered to the members. It's a model that benefits the company, the members, and the property owners.” 

BuildWorld/BuiltWorld: Wouter Truffino, founder of Global PropTech and CEO of Holland ConTech & PropTech, prefers the term Built Environment, describing it as “[t]echnology within construction and real estate - infrastructure, public space, residential, retail, and office buildings comprise the whole built environment.”

Digitization, in its simplest format, is “the process of converting information into data,” according to Webster's Dictionary and Gartners IT Glossary.

Techprop: Singapore-based real estate company Orange Tee & Tie is throwing the term “techprop” into the mix, which means “to go beyond the technology property ecosystem by disrupting themselves so they may come out stronger in the digital age.”

So, with technology's exhilarating growth in real estate, along with the new terms creating new pathways and achievements, are you ready to take the plunge and triumphantly ride the Third Wave?

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