"PropTech" is an abbreviation for Property technology. PropTech means any application in the real estate sector, be it 3D visualizing, home matching tools, crowdfunding in the RE sector, fintechs related to real estate, shared economy, smart cities, smart homes, artificial intelligence, smart contracts or building information modeling.
The new technologies all aim to make our lifes easier and we certainly all have already used the one or other PropTech application.
Not all applications succeed, but those who do, massively disrupt long-established businesses such as e.g. the hotel and tourism sector or the real estate agents-sector. Some react with legal arguments, others try – where possible - to integrate the new technologies in their business models.
Some other technologies are yet in the early stage of development. The blockchain technology, mainly known for the bitcoins, is currently tested to be used for the land register in Sweden, Georgia and the Ukraine. Blockchain is considered as secure technology and shall therefore ensure a secure process for real estate transactions and mortgage deeds in the future. In a survey of experts by the World Economic Forum in 2015, the majority estimated that 10% of the worlds' GDP will be registered in a blockchain by the year 2025.
A holistic approach to blockchains, however, shows the massive impact this technology has on the environment – the technology consumes a lot of energy, the carbon footprint is enormous. This is where renewable energy comes into play, and some inventive entrepreneurs are already setting up eco-friendlier mining-businesses.
The challenges for the PropTech industry are hence manifold, from the existing legislations they have to adhere to, to politics, the interests of various stakeholders, and the gap between the possibilities and visions of the new technologies and the interests of many involved that may hamper new laws making PropTechs of the future possible.