The Future of Proptech - DMA Group
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Better building performance and enhancing the occupier experience through proptech.

As the UK’s urban population continues to grow, the pressures on property professionals to deliver more cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable buildings has never been greater. But there are a wealth of technologies that can help address these challenges, from process automation and digital twins to artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). Performance-based property technology, or ‘proptech’ can marry building performance with the occupier experience, which is an approach that can help to not only improve efficiency and sustainability, but also the utilisation and usability of a space. In this article, we’ll explore performance-based property tech in more detail and look at some of the ways it’s being used to create better buildings.

Proptech is all about better building performance and enhancing the occupier experience.

Proptech has the potential to marry better building performance with enhanced occupier experiences. By harnessing the power of smart building design, end-to-end data and operational process automation, proptech can help create intelligent greener buildings that are more responsive to the needs of occupants.

Proptech is continually evolving and becoming more and more sophisticated. As such, building owners, occupiers, managers, and advisers will increasingly use it to collect better building performance as well as data about users, their behaviour, and their needs. This combined data will be used to improve the design and operation of buildings, to make them more energy efficient, and improve the overall user experience.

Proptech already plays a major role in the way we interact with buildings. Through the use of applications and other technologies, occupants are better able to control their environment, book appointments and access services. Building managers are able to use proptech to provide occupants with information about the building, its amenities, and events.

In addition, those building maintenance providers that embrace tech-enabled business process automation (digitalisation) will be able to transform the responsiveness and efficiency of their service delivery using live, transparent data that will consistently enable the highest levels of service quality, but with infinite scalability. Everyone will be connected via common service management platforms, accessible anytime, anywhere and on any device. Automated, live dashboards will enable everyone to know what’s going on every moment of every day, with automated calls-to-action to ensure nothing important is ever missed. So, if property professionals embrace the potential of digital technology the future of proptech is bright and exciting.

Technology will help us to design, build and operate buildings that are more comfortable, energy efficient and productive.

Technology will help us to create buildings that are more comfortable, energy efficient and productive. For example, Building Information Modelling (BIM) can be used to create digital models of buildings to investigate how changes to building fabric, engineering services or layout might impact energy use, including daylighting or thermal comfort. Such analysis will then inform design and future maintenance decisions accordingly, helping to create buildings that are more agile, flexible and ‘future-proofed’.

In terms of energy efficiency, ‘smart’ technology is already used to help manage a building’s lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems more effectively. However, this will only get better, with better real-time and live user and building performance data automatically making adjustments to things like lighting, temperature, ventilation, and humidity. Lighting can be automatically controlled to respond to daylight, occupancy and tasks, leading to significant savings in terms of both energy costs and carbon emissions.

Finally, research has shown that good indoor environmental quality (IEQ) can lead to improved occupant health and wellbeing, as well as increased productivity. Again, technology can play an important role here, for example, by monitoring IEQ and providing feedback to facility managers so that any necessary action can be taken, or better still, tech-enabled automated corrective actions based on real-time live data.

In summary, technology can play a vital role in helping us to create better buildings that are more comfortable, energy efficient and productive.

Proptech in smart buildings

The internet of things, business process automation and big data are key enablers of this change.

The internet of things (IoT), business process automation and big data are key examples of enablers of the change that is happening in proptech. By connecting remote sensors and devices and gathering live data, we can get a better and more dynamic understanding of how our buildings are operating and performing. This is supported by similarly live data on user demands and occupancy rates, all of which to drive greener more responsive and productive workplace environments.

Big data is the large volume of retrievable live data captured by IoT and other digital devices. These huge quantities of usable data can be quickly and automatically analysed to identify trends, patterns, issues and opportunities. This live data then enables automated remedial actions, or alternatively automated “calls-to-action” for facilities managers for intervention to improve the performance of their buildings.

For those maintenance providers that have already adopted live end-to-end, data driven business process automation, (and we don’t mean just installing a CAFM system) it will enable them to better operate and maintain buildings, whilst transforming service delivery efficiency, service quality and safety, with optimised human intervention.

IoT, big data and process automation are changing the way we think about and operate buildings. By better understanding how buildings are being used and how they are performing, we can increasingly make automated changes that will improve the efficiency of buildings and the experience of those who occupy them.

Building owners, occupiers, managers and advisors must embrace change and work with technology driven providers to realise innovation.

It is clear to see that more change is needed in order to meet the challenges of the future. Our industry is behind the tech-curve, with 77% of FM’s confirming same, and less than one in four knowing how to best embrace digital technology and digitalisation.

So, to make buildings work better and to improve the occupier experience, property owners, occupiers, managers, and advisors must work more closely with technology providers and tech-enabled service providers to deliver transformative innovation. Property professionals need to be more open to new ideas and willing to change the way they work if they are to capitalise on technology.

Much of London’s new tier-1 commercial buildings and workplaces have embraced smart building technology, and demand for that more efficient and greener space remains high. However, the owners of the buildings and workplaces they have vacated, now need to upgrade and enhance and/or repurpose them to compete and to remain relevant to future occupiers.   

Buildings need to be designed with their whole life in mind, considering how they will be used now and in the future.

The way we use buildings post-covid has changed, therefore, the way we design, build and operate them needs to change too. Buildings owners, landlords and developers can no longer treat their buildings as speculative, static objects; they are now much more dynamic environments that need to be more agile and flexible to meet the changing needs of employers, occupiers and users.

Good building design must consider the occupier experience, how the space will be used, how it is best maintained and kept legally compliant, whilst making them greener and more efficient. We need to design buildings that are not only functional but that also promote wellbeing and create a positive user experience.

Technology is the cornerstone in how we design, operate, and manage buildings. It can help us create amazing, and even personalised, occupier experiences, based on the individual preferences of each occupier. But we must be careful not to sacrifice comfort and security. In the past, uncomfortable and even unsafe occupier experiences were often the result of buildings that did not perform well. We can change this, because today, we have the technology to monitor and adjust building conditions in real-time, responding to the needs of the occupiers.

Digital twins transforming design, build and operation.

Digital twins are a rapidly emerging technology with the potential to transform how we can design, build, and operate the built environment. A digital twin is a replicated representation of a physical object or system that can be used to track and predict the behaviour of the corresponding real-world entity.

There are a number of potential applications for this technology; for example, digital twins could be used to simulate the impact of proposed changes to a building’s design, such as the addition of new facilities or the modification of existing ones. Additionally, digital twins could be used to monitor the performance of buildings and systems in real-time, allowing for early detection of issues and proactive maintenance.

Digital twins have the potential to revolutionise property technology, but there are still many challenges that need to be addressed before the advantages can be fully realised. For example, the accuracy of digital twins depends on the quality of the data used to create them. Additionally, it can be difficult to keep digital twins up-to-date as the real-world counterparts change over time. Despite these challenges, digital twins offer a promising new way to approach property technology.

The future is exciting for proptech, and we can’t wait to see what next.

The future of property technology is looking very exciting, with plenty of new innovations and developments on the horizon. We can’t wait to see what the next few years have in store for us, and how these new technologies will change the way we live and work in our buildings.

One of the most exciting areas of proptech is the marriage of building performance with the occupier experience. This means that buildings will not only be greener, more operationally efficient and sustainable, they will also be more comfortable and user-friendly for the people who live and work in them.

Some of the ways that this marriage between performance, efficiency and experience will be achieved include the use of smart glass technology, which can regulate sunlight and heat entering a building, and the development of more sophisticated air filtration and purification systems. There is also a lot of work being done on developing AI systems that can learn the preferences of occupants and adapt the building environment accordingly. These innovations and more, mean that the future of property technology is looking very bright indeed.