Earlier this week, Proptech Ireland founder, Carol Tallon, delivered a global webinar for PropIT (Dubai).

This presentation was due to be delivered in person, however, due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the live event (and global proptech pitch competition) was cancelled and a number of the planned keynote talks have now been delivered online and are available to watch back, link here: https://www.terrapinn.com/exhibition/propit-middle-east/customer-needs-webinar.stm

The slides are listed below and the PDF version of this presentation can be downloaded here: Proptech Ireland presentation May 2020

Given the time restraints of the webinar, it was not possible to cover topics in as much detail as they require, particularly the evolving areas of what it means to be an agile agent (12-month programme of change and digital transformation for estate agencies); data in the digital age; tokenisation of real estate and proptech priorities beyond 2020.

 

Data

This is critical for planning, property and construction organisations of all sizes. Demand and changing uses drive our built environment – or at least it ought to. Big data is now mapping population demographics in a more detailed way in order to better understand evolving demands in the marketplace – for smart property businesses, understanding the insights from this data and knowing how to apply it for strategic planning will ensure the survival of the business. From our experience with organisations in the planning, construction and property industries, we know there is an appreciation of this at a macro level…

But at a micro level, businesses need to develop a very clear data strategy.

What this looks like for a contemporary estate agency is:

  •  Understanding what data your business is collecting and holding
  • Organising this data in a safe, accessible and useful way
  • Learning how to visually communicate this for the benefit of your team, your clients and your market
  • Leveraging this for benefit of your own business without losing control of it

 

The Agile Agent – Getting the property industry digital by default

 

The Agile Agent is a bespoke,12-month, digital transformation programme for estate agents, within a framework originally designed for the Irish property marketplace in 2018, which is being rolled out internationally from September 2020 (year 3): https://propertydistrict.ie/property-services/strategic-innovation

 

Learning Objectives: 

  • To deeply understand the local marketplace
  • To objectively determine agency position within marketplace
  • Identify changing consumer expectations – On demand, real time, bespoke, 24/7  access, transparency
  • HR – Managing the culture shift
  • Sustainable business development
  • Future trends/new technologies

 

KPIs: 

  • Local marketplace – growing or shrinking?
  • Agent market share – increasing or decreasing?
  • New business opportunities vs. New instructions
  • New instructions vs. Business converted 

 

Strategy for estate agents to get started: 

  • Map the CONSUMER journey/touchpoints for points of frustration 
  • Document internal processes to identify opportunities to automate
  • Incorporate tech advances/aspirations into communications – website, social media

 

“We tend to OVERestimate businesses but UNDERestimate the people within them – keep this in mind when assessing resources and analysing competitors…” 

Carol Tallon Property District, powering Proptech Ireland  

Tokenisation of Real Estate 

 

There appears to be two similar yet distinct definitions and meanings emerging from the UK and the US:

 

 (1) Tokenization meaning digitalization of an asset through blockchain, and 

(2) Tokenisation is the process of representing fractional ownership interest in an asset with a blockchain-based token.

 

Helpful reminder: 

Digitisation is the process of converting information from a physical format into a digital one and Digitalisation is leveraging this process to improve business competitiveness (aka digital transformation)

 

Why tokenise? Ostensibly to increase liquidity and overall value, however, like all of the other technologies underpinning proptech, the successful deployment of this will inevitably give rise to a whole raft of new and as yet undreamed of applications – it’s quite an exciting trend to watch!

But…  it is still very early days. There is a team in Ireland working on hybrid tokens for residential co-ownership of community assets, however, larger funds will likely lead the market traction of tokenised real estate.

Resources: If you are interested in getting deeper into this, I recommend:  ‘Tokenisation – The Future of Real Estate Investment?’ By Andrew Baum of The Future of Real Estate Initiative Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford: https://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/research/centres-and-initiatives/oxford-future-real-estate-initiative 

 

What’s Next?

Proptech will inevitably undergo a period of contraction and innovation

 

Arguably, 7,000+ innovators in this space created too much overlap and a focus on novelty over necessity. It is Darwinian – we expect to see a natural cull in proptech providers, particularly those early stage startups, as capital dries up. 

But this will make way for the next wave of Proptech innovation…

Recessions make for great innovation and perhaps more responsive innovation – we know that the decade-long roadmap for digital transformation of real estate has been shortened greatly, but I personally believe that the rhetoric around a ‘post-coronavirus world’ is misleading. This is a transformative pandemic. We will be forever shaped by the mistakes made and lessons learned, like humans have been right down through history. As a species, we could not survive without the ability to learn, adapt and evolve – your business is no different.


The smart industry players will see an opportunity now to acquire valuable technology at distressed prices. Buying in innovation is a contentious topic amongst innovation purists, however, in my opinion, there is a time and a place for it. This is the time and the place.

 

 

 

 

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