Over the past few years, data and technology have become more prevalent in both our personal and business lives, and industries across the board are now experiencing significant change and disruption as a result.
New tech solutions are aggregating and interpreting data, which, in turn, is enhancing traditional processes. The property industry is no stranger to this evolution, with a raft of property technology or ‘proptech’ companies recently making their debut into the sector.
The property industry is not alone with the advent of ‘proptech’, with the likes of fintech, medtech and lawtech (to name a few) making waves in their respective areas. Parallels can be drawn between each of these industries as tech companies seek to disrupt the status quo. Traditional, profitable industries which have considerable levels of data and involve multiple transactions are often targeted by tech companies as they are a minefield of information and have stagnant processes to disrupt.
In both the legal and property industries in the UK, change through tech is beginning to immerse itself into the day to day fabric of business. We have seen the growth of established incubators such as MDR LAB and Pi-Labs respectively, and we are seeing a wealth of investment coming into the sectors. It is hard to turn the pages of a trade magazine without seeing a fundraising announcement.
In property there is still a lack of understanding around proptech, how it is defined, the ROI, and whether it is capable of delivering actual results. Recently we have seen different bodies of research from FTI Consulting, Freeths and Professor Andrew Baum of the University of Oxford beginning to dissect the sector, with FTI Consulting finding that 89% of real estate companies struggle to understand what proptech is.
For VTS the proposition is simple. In a transaction-heavy and ultimately data-led industry there is scope to reimagine traditional methods of data analytics in order to increase efficiency and transparency, and ultimately increase revenue, improve productivity and reduce risk. The aim is to bring about positive transformation with limited disruption to the company itself. All of the information is readily available; it is now possible to identify a process that takes two weeks, and use automation to turn that into two minutes.
VTS technology enables you to aggregate information into a single operating platform and to create a rich data source which can be mined and analysed according to the company’s most pressing needs. Although the property industry is built on information, until recently, it has been difficult for landlords and agents to accumulate it all in one place. Now with an increase of data driving into the property industry, we are starting to see increased adoption of companies like VTS which allow landlords and agents make sense of those data points and make the decisions off the back of them.
The legal sector, much like the property industry, is still in an early phase with tech adoption but has seen great potential for future change. In fact, a survey of 250 law firms by LexisNexis found that 82% planned to invest in tech in order to be more effective over the next 18 months.
Like most things, the more time and resource that you invest, the greater the reward; this is applicable regardless of whether this is proptech, lawtech or fintech. With technology expertise being established at the core of major property companies and law companies alike, it is easy to imagine a future where administration, due diligence, contracts or leases only take up a fraction of the time they do today. It is a future we need to invest in.
About the author
Eoin Condren, UK Managing Director, VTS
Prior to joining VTS, Eoin spent almost 10 years in real estate private equity in London and New York at funds such as W.P. Carey and Brandeaux.