Proptech revolution grows as landlords turn to big data to manage properties

A new ULI survey found data analytics an overwhelming focus for real estate companies adopting new proptech.

Proptech revolution grows as landlords turn to big data to manage properties

UPDATED, 12:30 p.m., Sept. 15, 2021: Adds survey authors in third paragraph.
The proptech revolution is accelerating as building operators turn to big data to monitor everything from tenant relations to their properties’ energy use.

“Companies are making every piece of information available to every single person in the organization,” Anita Kramer, senior vice president at the Urban Land Institute Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate, said in an interview. “That’s powerful.”

In a survey coauthored by ULI and the law firm Goodwin, real estate owners and operators cited data analytics as a new technology focus for the next three years, and 76% of respondents said such applications were already having a positive impact on their businesses — even more than new technologies for property and project management.

The real estate industry’s adoption of new property-specific technologies has been slow, even as the new technologies’ promises — cleaner buildings, more convenience and efficiency, more customer engagement — have multiplied. Data analytics, uniquely, ties many of those aims together by giving real estate companies the ability to monitor all dimensions of their businesses through a single system.

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Notably, 28% of the survey’s respondents said they are developing data analytics tools exclusively in-house — a higher percentage than is the case for any other type of new technology.

Among real estate managers, proptech is increasingly seen as essential to maintaining a competitive edge, but not everyone is pulling out the stops, the survey showed. While 80% of the 200 respondents said proptech applications have positively impacted their operations, 15% said they do not have plans to invest further in new technologies for the foreseeable future, citing “satisfaction with their current technologies, relevance to their business goals, perceived state of technological and industry maturity, and a prioritization of resources,” according to the report.

Companies engaged primarily in capital raising and transaction management, in particular, have been relatively slow to adopt new proptech.

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