New technologies (such as sensors, big data and data analytics) enable the real estate market to innovate more. Nowadays, there are new technological applications to improve the use, sale and hire of buildings and make this process more efficient. Technology makes the real estate sector more prone to transparency. Further development of digital market platforms for real estate will enable market parties to find each other more easily, resulting in lower transaction costs. Data analytics also makes it easier to determine the value of buildings. The results are improved occupancy and additional services through Smart Buildings.

Considerable steps have been taken to digitize the administrative process. Occupancy in offices can, for instance, be further optimized and service provision improved (such as indicating via an app where free workstations are still available in an office).Technology has presented opportunities for higher value of real estate through:

Higher rental returns because the tenant is prepared to pay a higher price per meter squared. Efficient occupancy means that fewer meters squared are needed, the quality improves and Smart Buildings result in lower energy costs.

Lower risk for real estate investors. Big data improves real estate valuation therefore no risk of being scammed by valuation officers. In addition to this, the liquidity of real estate increases through the further development of platforms. Finally, Smart Buildings reduce the risk of vacancies, as these buildings are made more attractive to tenants.

Technology in the real estate industry has threatened opportunities for real estate agents. The traditional roles of the agents are most under pressure. This is because platforms can further digitize and take over this role. In order to keep up with this fast-paced technology, real estate agents can attempt to operate as a platform themselves and digitize transactions.

The real estate sector is making new technological advancements every now and then. Sensors measure, for instance, the building occupancy, and the paperwork involved in transactions is slowly disappearing. Such technological innovation has a huge impact on existing structures. Business models are changing, mainly because of digitizing and applications under huge real estate investment companies such as PropTech.

With the increased demand for low-cost housing with less negative impact on the environment, real estate developers are left with no choice but to consider

technologically innovative ways of building houses. The areas of focus include using prefab building material and modular construction where a building is constructed offsite and then assembled onsite. More efficient construction is being achieved due to the use of new technologies during the construction process. This particularly influences building companies. This includes such things as robotisation and 3D printing. In 2014, Winsun, a company based in China pioneered a 3D printed house. Compared with the traditional construction methods, they were able to save up on 80% of the construction costs and 60% on labor. Smart Building gives advice for optimum use. The sensors and Machine Learning enable Smart Buildings to give the tenant feedback about their current use of their property and link advice to this to save energy or improve the occupancy. Maintenance reports can take place via an app. Ultimately, the lease contract can also be canceled digitally.

After construction, real estate landlords do not waste so much time and energy looking for tenants. Thanks to rental platforms which are digital marketplaces, tenants and landlords can find each other easily. This helps in making better and faster matches thus reducing the number of vacancies. Examples of rental platforms are Fundainbusiness for commercial accommodation and Skepp and Flexas for offices. Space as a Service companies such as WeWork , Tribes and Spaces are not rental platforms because they don’t link tenant and landlord. They rent properties themselves for longer periods and divide these into smaller time and space blocks, with the aim of leasing them. This enables these companies to ensure a better match between supply and demand.

Algorithms from platforms can make selections of buildings based on the personal

characteristics of the tenant. Where an individual real estate agent understands a part of the market and can give, for example, 10 suitable objects, an algorithm can overview the whole market and can offer 50. A first impression of a building can take place via Virtual Reality and contracts can be signed digitally. Using real time technology and devices, like the Samsung Gear VR virtual reality headset, real estate developers can show off the progress of the houses under development as well as completed units. Companies like BlackRhino VR in Kenya are commercializing the potential that VR holds in selling property developments both off-the-plan and finished. Through the power of virtual reality, they allow prospective buyers to walk through and experience the space even before construction has started.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a key component of home automation and smart homes. This involves automating the ability to control items around the house from curtains to electricity with a handheld device or voice command. Smart home technology has started changing the way home-owners view property. It is becoming a game changer for real estate developers all over the world. Instead of selling a shell for a house, developers are enticing buyers with internet ready homes. It is also anticipated that there will come a point when real estate agents use IoT for home searches. The practice of consumers going online and pecking their way to their perfect home has been replaced with voice driven applications embedded on phones that are able to automatically answer any questions they have.

To remain competitive in the technologically evolving real estate industry, companies in this sector have to look out for better ways to increase efficiency, differentiate and position their products and services as they build customer loyalty. With a robust back-office operation, the company can have visibility of a customer life-cycle from the time they were prospects till when they become landlords or tenants. Automating your customer relationship management, portfolio management and facilities management, the companies are able to address challenges such as cost efficiency and communication between different stakeholders.