On Monday, December 9th, the ULI Young Leaders Group Real Estate 101 Committee hosted their second event of the season. The panel discussion focused on “What is PropTech?” and featuring seasoned industry experts, Moderator Mitchell N. Schear, Executive Partner, Camber Creek, and panelist Tiffany Butcher, Executive Vice President – Residential and Retail Asset Management, JBG Smith; Daniel Ressler, Senior Project Manager, James G. Davis Construction Corporation; Khushbu Sikaria, Vice President – Innovation & Product Development, Bozzuto Management Company and; Caesar Nguyen, Director of Real Estate | Mid-Atlantic, Common. The discussion revealed insights on how to “future proof” and work with disruptors in the industry to maximize results.
The conversation began with a discussion on the importance of new technologies in the real estate industry. Much of the focus was on value-add opportunities to lower operational costs through AI technologies, such as automated leasing agents. The conversation also touched upon business intelligence, which allows firms to organize and leverage their existing company information to adjust operations on future projects.
In addition to asset management and operations, PropTech has significantly helped the construction industry. Construction efficiency has been flat for years, but PropTech has allowed for additional efficiency and greater transparency. PropTech has also been used to laser scan spaces with robots, so surveys and BIM modeling can be performed with fewer person-hours.
The panelists agree that the PropTech market is very fragmented at this point, but slowly, the market is consolidating around leading technologies. Most developers are introducing pilot programs at one or two of their properties prior to expanding the PropTech to their entire portfolio.
To stay up-to-date on PropTech, the panel recommended CB Insights, MetaProp and Fortune research. These resources make it easier to track the new technologies, as the new tech firms search for capital.
Parting advice from the panel included a few valuable tips for attendees: 1) Be open to new technologies 2) stay up-to-date on market services through investigation and collaboration, and 3) always prepare for the future by understanding these disruptive technologies.