Sector By Sector – Property Part 2 – Technology & CX In The Property Sector

Last week in our first property deepdive, we looked at some of the challenges facing the property sector.

These challenges included climate change. Plus shifts in consumer behavior due to the pandemic and macroeconomic pressures.

In part 2 of our property series we will look at customer experience (CX) and new technology. How can new technology help to push the property sector forward? What role can better CX play in the property market? 

Let’s dive in and see what technology and better CX can bring to property.

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Supply Chain Stress, How Tech Can Help

Basic economics is the creation of a happy medium between supply and demand. Going way back, those with goods/services to sell adjust to cater for growing demand.

But now, things are more complicated.

We have a supply chain crisis in the world right now. It is easy to blame this on COVID-19. But in fact that is only part of the story. COVID-19 created the perfect storm for supply chain stress. But the problem was always there. Lurking in the shadows. We all saw ships getting stuck in the Suez canal. But there was also a huge backlog at the Port of Los Angeles, which has now eased. 

These are the supply chain equivalent of big flashing warning lights. It’s also a global problem.

We are now at a point where the global supply chain depends on each country’s ability to effectively manage its own part of the supply chain. We used to store more in big warehouses, but that was inefficient and the economy moved to “just in time” production. Unfortunately when demand did not ease as a result of the pandemic, and eCommerce erupted, we all saw how vulnerable the supply chain had become. When China, the globe’s production hub, stopped due to COVID, most of the world’s supply chain stopped too.

This caused very specific problems for property businesses, but the effect has been felt by everyone.

How Tech Can Help The Property Sector Navigate Supply Chain Stress?

Supply chain analysis is very difficult. But, with the right technical investment it is not impossible. Companies like Everstream Analytics already offer solutions for different industries. One of which is heavy equipment. There is no reason why property companies cannot use AI and ML to create their own risk management software. 5G technology also makes real-time tracking possible. Yet property companies may not have the necessary in-house knowledge to work on a project like this. But partners, like MAQE, can create custom solutions to help property businesses. We can build software that anticipates supply chain risks on large commercial projects.

Those empty offices and buildings we mentioned in part 1 also offer an opportunity. Empty commercial spaces can be retrofitted to become warehousing space. Easing supply chain stress for other parts of the economy.  Property companies could use technology to offer warehouse analytics to companies that use this new space. Giving those companies more data to work with when they make their own supply chain decisions.

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Cybersecurity & the IoT, A Game Changer & An Evolving Threat

Although increased use of technology in the property sector is a net positive, there are risks. One of those is cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity issues present material risks to property development companies. There is also risk to occupants, investors and property operators. It is also expensive and difficult for property companies to get cybersecurity insurance coverage. There are brokers that offer coverage. But there are a lot of exclusions that may not cover liabilities in the event of a cyberattack on a building.  

This is not even an Internet of Things issue. Though as numbers of IoT devices go up there is an increased risk. This is an issue that has been building over decades with our reliance on networked devices. Elevators, lighting, power and parking. All these processes involve computer systems in big condo complexes.
The problem is even bigger if you are a property company involved in large government infrastructure projects. In these projects the risks are even higher due to the activities of certain state actors. There have been incidents of governments attacking infrastructure in recent years.

So, how do property companies handle this risk?

They need to invest in critical IT infrastructure. Property companies should work with technical partners to create robust building management systems. The cost of investing in these projects pales in comparison to the size of potential payouts incurred in the event of a cyberattack or data leak.

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Buying A Home Is Now A Digital Experience, Property Needs Better CX

The first port of call for people wanting to buy, or rent, property is digital. Customers take to Google, look at listings aggregator sites and then they might contact a real estate professional. They may even go directly to the property developer’s website. If they have seen an offline ad or a proposed development site.

But for most of these touchpoints, customer experience in property does not feel intuitive. It certainly does not compare to most B2C eCommerce experiences.

Though property is different, property companies and everyone else in the sector need to realize something. Customers are comparing their digital experiences in property to others they have had. And property does not come out of the comparison looking good.

So, how does the property sector improve? 

Two things stand out in particular. Property businesses need to invest in digital experiences. They should also start putting the customer first.

With the technology we have now both AR (Augmented Reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) tours of properties are possible. But there are very few property companies offering this service to customers. This is crucial in markets in ASEAN. Overseas buyers, who may still be living under COVID restrictions, cannot come to view properties.

Personalization also has a role to play here. Finding the ideal property is a huge barrier for most customers. First time buyers in particular. Better digital support for people, before they speak to a real estate professional, would be something that would appeal to digital savvy customers.

Property companies need to work with experienced partners who can guide them toward. MAQE has worked with customers in the property sector. We also have a decade of experience in creating digital experiences for consumers. So if you need help, talk to us!

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Are you a property company that needs robust, advanced building security management systems? Or do you need predictive supply chain analytics? Maybe you want to improve the purchasing experience for your customers? Talk to MAQE via [email protected]. We can help with all these things!