PropTech Conundrum 2021: To Be Fast+Tech Or Great Human+Tech
PropTech is these days’ “hot topic” not only in Malaysia but all around the world. With the property market in bad shape, due to both all the restrictions imposed by the pandemic and a not well addressed supply-demand paradigm, countless start-ups have been doing their best to counter the various pain points emerged in the industry bringing in as much technology as possible.
To be fair, this last sentence is definitely applicable to most industries, besides PropTech there has been a flourishing of FinTech, EduTech, HealthTech, WorkTech and more!
Definitely, applying technology to the property business has and is helping tremendously all parties, from both demand and supply sides, since more than 30 years. Following these links, you will be able to read more about “Trust, Transparency, Truth, Technology and Talent For A Great Future” and “Moving PropTech 3.0 From Good to Great Towards New Accomplishments”.
These two articles will allow the readers to better understand a bit of historical background of PropTech, the first, and the positive impact of technology on the property ecosystem, the latter, and get better prepared for what will come next!
Compared to growth pace of PropTech solutions implementation in the past 8 years, say between 2011 and 2019, we can say that the last 12 months, have had a luster (5 years lap) value or could be considered as an instantaneous Technology-Quantum-Leap.
During 2020, the Malaysia PropTech Association, a non profit organization established in 2017 which pulls together all the Malaysian based and property related tech-start-ups, has seen an increase of almost 50% in its members with more and more developers and property professional service providers embracing this new Tech-Trend with a number of good reasons.
PropTech Quantum Leap
Recently, during a talk-show organized by Malaysian Property, MalaysiaKini and ProSales (you can watch it here), the two Vice-presidents of Rehda and Sheda, Datuk Ho Hon Sang and Dato Sim Kiang Chiok, moderated by the CEO of ProSales Mr Chuah Huai Jie, have clearly stated that, adoption of PropTech is an option no more!
Many developers, since March 2020, have been and are continuously adopting a wide range of “tech solutions” with high satisfaction and, through their use, have been able to close booking and sales, managed purchasers’ loan applications, prepared Sales and Purchase Agreements, promoted their properties through online portals, delivered vacant possession and even managed property defects claims from buyers. Best is, all of the above in an almost totally contact-less way!
As usual, despite all the positive application, views and comments as above, there are still many in the property industry that are selfishly obstructing PropTech pretending that, soon, the world will be back to the “Old Normal”. Some of them are those “old-school-mindset” property professionals who, uncapable to keep up with the speed of technology change are stubbornly promoting the “old-traditional-way”.
Some of these detractors are saying that technology cannot be trusted and, for sure, cannot entirely replace the human ability in valuating properties or preparing a feasibility study or conducting a survey in the market, a market study and the list could go on and on.
This is, instead, exactly where technology can do its best contribution to the property industry! Let me make one point very clear, I’ve been chewing numbers and statistics for the greatest part of my life and, wherever you have datasets in a numerical form or transformable in a numerical sequence, you will have a perfect entry point for technology to perform at its best!
PropTech The MultiMedia-Omnichannel Way
As an example, during a recent knowledge sharing session chaired by Dr. Ting Choo Yee, lecturer at the MultiMedia University in Cyberjaya, two of his students have presented an extremely interesting and highly relevant algorithm-based analysis of property rental demand and rental-rates predictions in certain areas.
The outcome is extremely realistic and highly reliable, have a look at it here! This is only one of the countless examples of how technology, applied to properties in an omni-channel way, has contributed to the radical transformation of the real estate ecosystem.
So what? Let’s be very practical and realistic. PropTech has become an established and in high demand “product” and is helping the whole property ecosystem moving from good to great. Let’s also clear the sky from those saying that digital transformation in property is such as, being in the social media and advertise a project there, only!
Honestly, in PropTech we do not look at social media as part of the digital transformation in the property industry, it’s only an “ancillary” service which helps bringing information and offerings to a much wider public in a borderless manner.
PropTech, The Non-Human Technology That We All Hate-Love
Let’s now go back to what I was saying above, the fast forward moving technology Quantum Leap that PropTech has brought into the real estate industry. I don’t know you, but personally, I cannot say I 100% trust computers, robots and AI.
I’m a member of the “Terminator” generation and, in a metaphoric way, Skynet might really be a forthcoming threat to humankind. In contraposition, I really love the positive impact of technology, particularly on real estate, and I’m not the only one.
So, how to bring this hate-love kind of relationship to the next level?
The Tech-Bridge Towards Humans
Few days ago, I’ve finally found a making sense reply when, the director of Avanser, Mr. Alfred Tan, during an interview I was listening to, mentioned “we, at Avanser, are bridging buyers to PropTech with a human touch”.
This was like turning on the light in a dark room and seeing things from the correct perspective and with the right focus! After a while, when I was discussing about the recently defined partnerships ProSales-Avanserand ProSales-Silversea with the ProSales CEO, the big picture became even clearer.
What most PropTech start-ups are doing is to apply, no matter what, technology to the solution of a market’s pain point. This, of course, is good and the right thing to do but, we all, should keep in mind that human beings are the main actors and the bridge between them and Proptech must be designed, studied and tailored for them!
The flow chart below gives a very good idea of why, a super-tech business as ProSales is, has decided to close few strategic partnerships which are all “humanizing” the tech-approach to prospects and the presentation of a project. Avanser takes care of the first part of the property-buying-journey where potential leads are managed by the project’s sales representatives who are heavily using technology only to communicate, follow-up, allocate leads and keeping them hot.
Here comes the second important partnership, Silver Sea, an established provider of 2D floor plans, property virtual chat, 3D and 4D Virtual tours that all are but virtual. What I mean here is that the virtual reproduction of the property, landscape, ID and so on are all extremely real.
The latter allowing an extremely realistic “virtual” view of the property with the first bridging it with the “human touch” and activating flow of information and follow-up to raise the chances of closing a positive sale!
Talking about facts and not fairy tale stories, in the course of the first MCO, now renamed as MCO 1.0, developers and agencies using Avanser have managed to close more than 1,000 contactless sales! The numerous links that have been added above, will allow all visitors to have a very realistic idea of why I’m calling this approach of PropTech to one of the biggest pain-point in the industry, contactless selling of properties, the “Tech-Bridge Towards Humans”.
Let me give you a final smart tip to know more and better understand, directly from the voices of those creating this tech/human bridging. Let’s see each other “virtually” during a special FB live session that will be broadcasted on Saturday, February 6th afternoon at 3pm here. Mr. Alfred Tan, from Avanser, and Mr. Chuah Huai Jie, ProSales CEO, will discuss and dissect this topic in detail to make it clear and understandable for us all!
I’d love to see your comments below, if you have any and stay tuned, more PropTech coming your way very soon!
About The Author
The opinions expressed in this article are solely of the author, Dr Daniele Gambero.
Dr Gambero has been an expatriate to Malaysia from Italy, since 1998 and has more than 35 years of real estate experience. He is the co-founder and group CEO of REI Group of Companies, the Co-founder of Propenomy.com and the deputy president of the Malaysia Proptech Association.
In the past 10 years Daniele, as international and TEDX speaker, has engaged several hundreds thousand people talking about Property, Economy, Propenomy, Digital Marketing and Motivation. He is also a bestselling author and columnist on several magazines and main stream media. You can reach him directly through his LinkedIn page here