The property industry's favourite topic this year has got to be PropTech; a mashup of "property" and "technology", featuring various technology products and services claiming to radically change how we live, work, buy, sell and build in the future.
So we did a quick survey around the office to see what everyone's favourite PropTech innovations were and why...
As built into the Amazon Echo, Alexa is the first real example of artificial intelligence in the home that you can talk to. You don’t have to get a phone out of your pocket – you just ask her (it?) for information or to remind you of something in your normal speaking voice. It links to services like Spotify and can even control your heating.
- Andrew Waller
"Shared living made simple...": This residential innovation splits bills and tracks expenses amongst flatmates very easily, via a user-friendly and free iOS, Android and web app. You can pay your housemates back directly through the app, which also conveniently stores past expenses and recorded payments for monitoring purposes.
- Melita Thomas
A fantastic search engine for commercial lettings and investments, which also enables agents to easily produce marketing materials.
- Mark Jones
4. 3D printed buildings
The concept has been around for a while, but Dubai unveiled the world’s first 3D printed building this year and wants 25% of its buildings to be 3D printed by 2030. None of this could be done without the help of a ginormous printer though - this one was 120 feet long, which is a whole 20% bigger than a blue whale!
- Steph Yates
Whilst at university, the last thing I wanted to do was contact my landlord to complain about the house falling apart. However, via the tenant portal, I had access to Fixflo; a customised picture-based diagnostic system which helped to identify issues, pinpoint the room on a map of the house and educate me on what my responsibilities were in the situation. This gave me the opportunity to provide every detail, including evidential pictures, which they need to fix the problem without any need to interrrupt my revision.
- Miquela Bezuidenhoudt
6. Appear Here
This PropTech innovation has successfully filled a clear gap in the retail property market by connecting landlords' vacant spaces directly to retailers - all at the click of a button. Their website is very user-friendly and I’ve also heard that they will be expanding into additional support services by helping their clients set up their pop-up stalls or shops; through efficiently finding them support staff and facilities.
- Joel Suissa
Aiming to give people with no formal construction training an easy way to start building their own homes. The plans are simple to construct, free and easily customisable to meet demands. Construction of WikiHouse structures requires no special parts and can be assembled in less than a day by people with no formal training in construction.
- Francis Hardy
8. Nest Smart Thermostat
This Gadget allows you to adjust the temperature at home, both manually and remotely. You can also turn the heating on from your phone in advance of arriving home and the device switches the heating off when it senses that nobody is there. Thanks to this innovative Smart App, I now have much greater control over energy consumption and am hopeful that I might see a 5-10% reduction in costs.
- Neil Webster
9. The DAQRI Smart Helmet
Virtual reality is finally going beyond the gaming world and into the (err...) real world, with improved functional applications. The DAQRI Smart Helmet is clearly aimed at real time front-end design and specifications, with the construction, building and Facilities Management markets at the forefront of its functionality. The primary focus is on the BIM aspects of a property.
- Matthew Blackmore-Squires
"Heating and cooling individuals more and buildings less..." Tempronics has turned this concept into reality, with the introduction of their 'Temperfect' office chair. They have embedded hundreds of tiny pumps into the cushions of every Temperfect chair to allow personal control of thermal comfort. This innovation has the potential to significantly reduce heating and cooling costs (both financially and environmentally). Roughly 50% of energy expended by offices is for heating and cooling purposes currently.
- Bob Thompson