Improved transactions, upgraded CRMs and the better application of artificial intelligence (AI): There’s a lot agents can expect from technology providers this year.
The owner of online offer facilitator Market Buy, Dave Stewart, believes 2021 “is going to be a pivotal year for proptech in Australia”.
Reflecting on 2020, Mr Stewart said “COVID significantly accelerated the awareness and adoption of many different platforms within real estate”.
“More than that, it showed a whole slew of agents that new technology was not something to be feared as a potential threat to their jobs, but rather an opportunity to use technology to help them continue to be productive in an extremely challenging environment.”
He said that the proptech platforms that performed well in 2020 — through the delivery of “actual and quantifiable benefits to agents” — will continue to gain traction.
Mr Stewart then pointed out that these platforms “should see an even greater level of adoption throughout the industry as they are quickly recognised as valuable and effective in creating greater efficiencies within real estate business, both small and large”.
On the other hand, platforms that seemed like good ideas — but were more “flash than effective” — will continue to struggle in an industry that is notoriously reluctant to embrace new technology, he pointed out.
According to him, the next 12 months will see three main trends of proptech acceleration and adoption. They are:
1. Transaction management
“Buyers and sellers will use a central platform to allow offers to be made and received from anywhere in the world using simple and consumer-friendly interfaces.”
Mr Stewart considers this as “just a natural evolution of an already established trend of industries right across the board”.
He explained that consumers now expect to be able to transact everything online — from clothes to cars “and obviously now houses”.
2. The continued evolution of CRMs
The owner said that CRMs are striving to fill the need for instant information in the lead-up to offers.
Processing everything from property uploads to the delivery of vital and real-time information to agents who are now much more comfortable working out of the office environment, Mr Stewart said CRM information needs to be accessible and actionable from any mobile device.
“And, again, the user experience needs to be simple, straightforward and easy to learn,” he reiterated.
3. Greater movement in machine learning
Whether it be machine learning, or even AI, Mr Stewart said agents can expect “significant progress on these types of technology over the course of 2021”.
He expressed that “the sheer volume of information delivered to agents needs to be easily collated and sorted into usable and actionable material that leaves them much better positioned to act on consumer needs and wants”.
From the proptech owner’s perspective, the current experience of AI in real estate “is still very much in its infancy”.
While not overly usable day-to-day, Mr Stewart explained that as the technology does mature, “it will really start to fill a very much-needed void for agents”.