Three Real Estate Technology Trends You Need to Know
August 03, 2022
By Rahul Mahna
IT professionals have seen firsthand how technology needs have changed the last few years. The biggest difference in the real estate sector is quite obvious: People have spent much more time at home. To manage this shift, real estate organizations have used enhanced technology.
We often advise clients that the IT industry changes every five to seven years, so it is important to be ready for the impending innovation curve. The pandemic served to shorten this cycle to almost overnight, with organizations having only weeks to implement new technologies to address issues. We’re often asked to build disaster recovery and incident responses plans for clients to prepare them for catastrophes, but many of the most prepared were not fully ready for this unprecedented public health crisis. For the lesser prepared, they had no real plan. They scrambled as fast as they could with the spirit of “move fast and break things.”
A return to stability is ongoing, and both the seasoned and unseasoned real estate firms have found a sense of technology rationality. Our team has found interesting trends in real estate clients’ IT implementations. Here are three of those transformative trends with which we’ve assisted clients.
Enhanced Video Surveillance
As people “hunkered down” at home, many building owners and property management companies have had increased demands on their traditional video monitoring and access control systems. Data became significantly more voluminous, and systems couldn’t measure and manage the needs of properties with the increased residents, delivery people, workers and so forth.
Traditional storage of video systems has been 30 days or less. Many states now require longer retention. For example, New York State requires three years of retention to cover the statute of limitations for liability. With the courts backed up, our clients typically see legal judgements being issued 12-18 months post-event. The only way to refute or substantiate a case is through proper archiving of video systems. Historically, long-term storage was very expensive. However, with new cloud and local storage, long-term video storage is much more affordable—with many clients retaining three years of video.
Some buildings had 24x7 monitoring. But with the large amount of people entering and exiting buildings, it became overwhelming to monitor the number of potentially harmful triggers. To augment or replace a first line of defense, artificial intelligence-driven technologies can now power state-of-the-art cameras to detect and deter loitering and vandalism. These robotic functions monitor and alert in real-time and even make announcements through placement of vandal-resistant speakers.
To rapidly solve a problem, many real estate brokerages and agencies did the best they could: They purchased additional cloud-based software due to its quick deployment, easy training and lower relative costs. One issue we keep experiencing with clients is how to converge data and make it more efficient when using separate systems.
We have found many clients using multiple software to manage their sales and rental practices. Variable factors and data include portfolios, agent split with team members, referral agents, landlords and others in nonstandard ad hoc manners. Combine that with accounting software, customer relationship software, commission software, email software, marketing tools and others, and you have an extremely complex setup.
We have seen an increased need to connect all these platforms into one data warehouse, to consolidate all of the systems data into the “single source of truth.” Some software could likely be eliminated, lowering costs and making the process more efficient. This trend of technology consolidation has started with many vendors and will only increase moving forward.
Customer Relationship Management
Many organizations have recently decentralized and hired outside their traditional geographies. We are now seeing core teams of investors, developers and bankers having difficulty communicating effectively.
Because many of the constituents in mortgage banking were hired quickly and had individual sales processes, our clients have been in the dark about various performance metrics. This made it difficult to effectively re-engage past customers, determine mortgage officer performance, and securely control sensitive contact information across the firm.
Customer relationship management (“CRM”) technology can help organize the vast collection of siloed contacts, provide unified marketing, increase sales and efficiency, create key performance indicators for management, and leverage a company’s website as a new business generator.
The common theme we’ve seen is the real estate sector is a technology explosion in tools and software. Smart organizations are embracing these new technologies. A thorough IT assessment can help organizations understand where they could benefit the most from the aforementioned technologies and solutions.