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Proptech playing bigger role

Building owners will benefit from new proptech that reduces long term operating costs and improves efficiency and quality of services

​​By Dexter Norville

Proptech, a combination of 'property' and 'technology', describes a burgeoning new sector whereby technology solutions are used to solve real estate problems. There have been a lot of talks about a surge of new innovations around the proptech industry and how they have benefited various parts of the real estate market. While home automation that more developers are using as a selling point for their condominium projects and increasingly innovative applications that both developers and agents are using to market properties represent a clear evidence, proptech is playing its bigger role as evidenced in more advanced property management technologies.

A number of maintenance software systems have been around for many years but most of them are rudimentary and covered basic tracking of maintenance tasks and schedules only. The new generation maintenance systems are light years ahead of that and can now do multiple things smartly.  

For example, through more advanced customer service applications, tenants in an office building and residents in a condominium development can now just simply send a work request directly to the nearest available technician. This allows a job to be completed in a much quicker time than the normal process.

Actual daily utility consumptions can now be tracked from various sensors in the building and be compared to previous days. This allows the property management team to see all this type of data centrally and enables them to understand the inner workings of the properties systems and also highlights areas that are working efficiently or needs improvements. These real time functions also allow repairs to be identified and fixed more quickly and efficiently and also help landlords understand how their property is running on a round the clock basis. There are many other useful facets to these systems and this is something that will definitely make buildings smarter.

Other proptech initiatives currently emerging in some markets that will help property managers are robots. The use of robots for high-precision activities like welding or car painting is not a new thing. But technical advances allow robots nowadays to perform tasks that were considered as human-only tasks previously, such as cleaning floors and windows or even gardening. These efficient machines are also about to take over reception desks in offices. Some tech firms and other multinational corporations have already introduced humanoid robot receptionists, in pilot offices. More and more landlords are considering to emulate this trend helping them to make their buildings more innovative and cost efficient. The need for humans being present in buildings in order to run lobby areas will shrink in the future. 

Faster, cheaper, reliable - the benefits of these robots will make them inevitable additions to the workforce in the future in order for properties to become more efficiently managed and competitive in the market. 

Landlords who jump on the bandwagon will be able to see how new proptech can reduce long term operating costs while improving efficiency and quality of services for their buildings. Tech developers have noticed the huge potential in the real estate industry and they will surely create the next big thing very soon that is even smarter and better. 

Dexter Norville is a director of property and asset management at JLL. For more insights, readers can contact him by email: or visit

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