The head of a company making virtual walkthroughs for estate agents says the industry wrongly sees technology as a disruptive threat, when it should be seen as a force for innovation.
Antony Waldorf, chief executive of Virtual Walkthrough, says the property industry is now at a crossroads.
“Like other sectors before it - financial services, fashion, retail and marketing to name a few - property is beginning to appreciate the impact of technology on its services” he says. But he notes that as a conservative industry by nature, UK property professionals have often shied away from technology.
“This is perhaps because it sees technology as a threat, and has been slow to embrace it. However, it does not have to be a disruptor” he claims.
Waldorf insists that agents should not turn their back on technology just because it is often of as much or more benefit to consumers than to industry insider.
“It is true that a lot of the innovation coming into the industry is empowering the customer and this is why the industry needs to embrace it, working with the tech sector, so that they don’t get left behind. Essentially estate agents need to work alongside tools that will provide differentiation in a crowded market” he says.
“Over the coming years we will see agents begin to realise that they need to catch up, allowing for a differentiated offer. There are innovations out there which are helping to better represent the industry and work with it. The property industry is slowly beginning to move into the future, and hopefully will start trusting and embracing innovative technologies, without fearing disruption” says Waldorf.