Whichever branch of commercial property you’re involved with, whether it be office spaces, logistics depots, shopping centres, or anything else, you’ll have noticed how much more digital things have become over the last decade or so. And despite a slowed couple of years thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, technology ventures within commercial real estate have been gradually increasing.
From the introduction of predictive maintenance all the way through to the use of smart contracts to streamline their operations, commercial property is a very different sector to that of ten years ago. The development of increasingly sophisticated commercial property software is another area in which the real estate industry is being changed. Here’s how.
How Technology is Changing Real Estate
Technology is changing real estate in several key areas; namely, in its bid to become a more sustainable sector, in its liquidity as an asset, in the management of properties, and in the breaking down of barriers between owners and tenants.
Smart building technologies are enabling efficiency savings to be made, smart contracts and tokenisation are enhancing liquidity, new software is allowing facilities managers to better oversee larger portfolios of properties, and VR technologies are giving potential tenants the chance to conduct property viewing from elsewhere in the world, or before a property has even finished being constructed.
Some Statistics About the Commercial Property Sector
Before going any further, it’s worth demonstrating just what a lucrative and rapidly growing market the commercial property sector actually is. Between 2019 and 2021 across EMEA, for instance, the commercial real estate market grew by $0.81 trillion. Looking at the UK, in particular, the commercial property market grew by almost $93 million between 2020 and 2021, which, considering that this was in the midst of a global pandemic, is no mean feat.
The Most Common Types of Commercial Real Estate Technology
Commercial real estate technology can be broken down into several key categories. These can all come under the term PropTech (Property Technology) which has itself grown significantly over the past few years. Within commercial real estate, PropTech has its own specific subset – CreTech (Commercial Real Estate Technology). Common examples of CreTech include, but are not limited to:
- Rental management software.
- End-to-end portfolio management.
- Repair and maintenance workflow.
- Smart building technology.
- Blockchain technology.
As a rule, CreTech can be thought of as Fintech which improves financial analysis and reporting, AI which handles data aggregation, Operational Efficiency Technologies (OETs) and software which handles construction or building management (as well as tenant relationships). The bullet points above can all fit into one of these categories in some way.
5 Innovative Commercial Property Softwares
Below, you’ll find example of 5 commercial property software packages we believe are helping change the way the real estate industry operates:
Used by over 45,000 CRE professionals, VTS’ software has been used to cover over 11 billion sq ft of commercial real estate, globally, and has aided with the management of over 85,000 separate assets. Their office-based software solution, VTS for Office, offers virtual tours to attract tenants, generates LOIs, and gives the ability to close out renewals utilising historical lease and tenancy data.
DoorLoop is a rental management platform, operating across commercial real estate as well as other real estate sectors. Specialising in providing an organised software from which an entire portfolio can be managed. It can even be integrated with popular accounting platforms such as QuickBooks.
DoorLoop is quickly developing a good reputation for themselves, from both customers and developers alike. In fact, according to one client, communicating with tenants and stakeholders “has never been so simple”, with the software enabling clients to “quickly pull up detailed insights into each lease and property”.
AppFolio is a property management software which enables both commercial and residential portfolio owners to manage and oversee their portfolio, and all the operations within, with just one software platform. AppFolio offers personalised owner, vendor and tenant portals; robust accounting; CAM tracking and reconciliation; a singular, universal interface; a real-time vacancy dashboard; and audit logs and actionable data sets.
Alasco is a German company now branching out into the UK, who offer a real estate finance solution which incorporates costs, finances, profits and asset ESG data into one, easy-to-use software. With automated forecasts, smart dashboards and more accurate, digital invoicing functionalities, Alasco provides the ability, in the words of one of their customers, “to keep track of costs and deadlines for each project.”.
Leveraging sensor-based technology and machine learning, Adappt Intelligence is helping office managers run their facilities with more accuracy and efficiency. From lighting and HVAC controls through to continual data on room and desk occupancies, Adappt Intelligence has employed its sensors across more than 10 million sq ft worldwide.
Commercial real estate is a big contributor towards greenhouse emissions, and it’s often discussed at major property conferences so future CreTech is going to have to look for ways in which it can help tackle this issue. It already is to an extent, with the introduction of efficiency saving smart software, but with 40% of global carbon emissions (not just in real estate) coming from the buildings sector, there’s still more to be done.
The commercial property sector is an increasingly digital one. Indeed, Michael Beckerman, CEO of CREtech, believes that the majority of the sector still doesn’t realise “how much their digital customer base demand digital experiences”, or “how profound the cost savings” could be by better utilising new technologies. For more insights on PropTech and CREtech it’s worth booking an event such as BWT UK, by the property conference leaders SPACE + .