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PropTech Today: Remember who you are dealing with

If an industry, which is going through a major change is going to truly implement change at every level, it must bring all of the people involved in the deals together. 

Technologists need to stop talking in language no one understands and industry people need to realise that the end users will be driving the change. We all need to wake up.  

Last week, thirty three floors up in a rather shiny office building in Buenos Aires, the size of the challenge came with a bit more clarity. A city with over 14 million people looks pretty big from up in a particularly high building set amongst many others that are not quite as imposing. 

With the delegates of this large corporate company in front of me, I invited them to turn to face the panoramic windows in front of them and take in the view. This was the opening to a 20 minute session set to help them realise the size of this new movement impacting their market. 

Behind every door, every window or every home and office in front of them are people that are experiencing huge changes in their lives simply due to technology and innovation. This was there to highlight not only the sheer size of the market - Buenos Aires is simply massive - but also to make them understand that the expectation of seamless technological experiences is being driven, in part, by the people behind the windows. 

We would be foolish to forget that. Our clients are the ones in the driving seat demanding a greater degree of service and experience for, often, less money. 

I am writing this column amongst 200 other delegates at the International Blockchain Real Estate Conference over in New York and it has struck a rather large chord with me. 

Last week I was telling a large corporation not to forget the people behind every single transaction and that they needed to consider the home as a living, breathing asset. 

This week, I am about to hit the stage and remind all the delegates in the room to stop talking about Blockchain as if it is going to change the world immediately. I have sat here and listened for six hours so far about some great complexities surrounding the blockchain world. It’s all like listening to people talk Latin and expecting others to understand what they are talking about. 

Whilst it will no doubt change many things in our industry (and do check out my column from last week to understand a bit of the changes afoot), those ‘in the know’ need to remember those who need to understand the changes. The agents and brokers that will be impacted by changes and, whilst I don’t speak for everyone, I am not sure they have a clue about Blockchain, let alone its complexities. 

Therefore, this is a bit of a call for agents to really consider the end consumer. It is also a call for the technologists (and conference people!) to remember those who need to understand the technology in the first place. 

Having had a small rant there, another trend is emerging that I have just started to truly understand. This movement around PropTech is a global sensation. In the last two weeks I have spoken to at least 15 nationalities of entrepreneur who are all excited by the proposition of PropTech and how it will impact change in the industry. 

Most have discussed events or conferences they have attended in recent weeks, all saying that they were oversubscribed and incredibly exciting. 

This is all well and good but we have to ensure that these conferences educate the appropriate people in appropriate ways and not lose sight of who we are dealing with. With that in mind, I hear MIPIM UK is getting behind PropTech in a good way, and slowly morphing towards understanding the power of their position in the market. 

Next week will see MIPIM UK return and on October 19, we will be doing a small presentation on a review of MIPIM PropTech here in New York - if you want to come along I was given a Promotion Code for readers of Estate Agent Today. You can pop over to their website and enter in ‘MIPIMUKTECH’ to get a pretty hefty discount on a ticket.

*James Dearsley is a partner in PropTech Consult, digital transformation specialists for the real estate sector. To sign up to James’ Sunday PropTech Review, click here.

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