PropTech - The Growing Trend in the Real Estate Industry

The concept of ‘PropTech’ has been gaining increasing exposure in property and real estate circles for a number of years, with more and more software and service companies entering the space and aligning what they do with this current trend.

As a result, many organisations who either invest in or manage commercial estates are becoming increasingly curious of the benefits that technological advances and innovation can bring to the financial success of their portfolios; often vying for the kudos of being an ‘early adopter’ of the next big thing.

Where things become a little confusing is the sheer breadth of technologies and solutions that fall under the umbrella of ‘PropTech’, which leads to this becoming a rather nebulous and opaque topic for those looking to see how software and advanced systems can add real value to their business.

As an energy management company that operates across international multi-site portfolios, we at ETS are focussed on the benefits that technology can bring to improve energy efficiency and optimise the performance of the buildings we look after for our clients – ultimately to reduce operating costs, ensure operational resilience, and protect capital and rental value.

A number of solutions are seemingly entering the market every week in this space, offering to monitor, manage and provide advanced analytics across a plethora of factors that impact on the performance of a building. As such, it is increasingly important to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff, and focus on those solutions that can provide real valuable insight and clear identification of opportunities for improvement – this is where our experience of working at all scales and across a wide variety of sectors comes in.

Technology on its own will rarely prove to be the panacea to poor building or portfolio operational performance – it certainly has its place, but the key is to view technology as a tool rather than an answer in itself. Buying the next shiny new bit of tech, but then failing to integrate it into your operations properly, simply leads to wasted time and money. There are a number of horror stories out there of tech installed, then just left to churn out data streams that no-one ever looks at until someone realises that nobody’s logged into that particular platform for 6 months.

The experience of engineers and energy managers should always be used to interpret what the new granular data streams are showing, interlacing this with a deep knowledge of the operational dynamics of the building and how it is used, and an eye on the strategic direction of the wider portfolio.

“As an energy management consultancy, you would say that wouldn’t you!” I can almost hear you cry, but we see it time and time again – and if you’ve promised your FD a swift ROI, which doesn’t materialise, this only hurts future attempts to secure funding for improvement projects. In our experience, it is where appropriate technological solutions interface with real human engineering experience that true value is generated – and we have been assisting our clients to realise this value for over 20 years.

So if you think that your business should be looking to technology to solve any problems you’re experiencing around high costs or building operational failures, let us help filter out the PropTech ‘noise’, identify those solutions that will provide valuable information, and integrate them into your operations so that the insights gained can be used to drive tangible improvements in performance.

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