Prop Tech, in its most ambitious form, promises to completely revolutionise the way we use, manage, finance and own real estate. But really what does that mean? How is it different to anything else? Is it just a smart building (and what is that?) or the tokenisation of the ownership of property? Is this not just a rehash of an old idea? Well, yes, to an extent it is. But at the same time it’s not.
Never before have we been able to easily track and understand how people use buildings, we’ve never been able to buy and sell shares in a property with ease. We’ve never been able to complete a property transaction without involving two sets of lawyers, an agent, a bank, surveyors, HMRC, utility companies et al. Prop Tech promises to change this.
As an example, QR code usage has exploded over the course of the pandemic. It is old technology and has been used for years in Asia but has burst onto the scene in the UK over the past year. Although it is not new, the application of the technology is an example of Prop Tech in action.
By using QR codes, restaurants are able to monitor capacity. Very simply, restaurants can therefore understand space requirements and staffing needs. Looking ahead, it is not a giant leap to imagine that the technology can be used to understand how different table layouts in a restaurant can affect purchase decisions. We have all sat at the seat by the door of a restaurant - it’s by no means as pleasant as sitting in the hubbub of a busy restaurant; does that change how much you spend on your meal? Now restaurants can really begin to understand all of the factors affecting their profitability. It may sound small but over the course of the year, and across the country, this data and level of understanding will have a material impact.
This shows that although we may get to the 'holy grail' of blockchain-powered property transactions with no need for any third party advisory support, opportunity in this space is attainable without reinventing the wheel. Technology that simplifies and adds value to a property or transaction will succeed, and attract private capital.