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Technology has been disrupting every industry we can think of, and real estate is no exception. In 2017, more than $5 billion was invested in real estate technology, a 150-fold of $33 million invested in 2010.
Among other technologies, pundits have predicted that the real estate landscape will be profoundly changed by AI, Big Data and drones. AI is highly expected to assist real estate brokers provide comprehensive and timeless answers to home buyers who are making a huge life decision of purchasing a home. Big Data will aid in increasing industry transparency, which can then streamline the sales process and empower home buyers. Drones will drastically change the sourcing phase of the buying process with the ability to provide buyers with 360-degree views of the property itself.
By now, you might be thinking about it is merely about sophisticated and complex technology like the ones mentioned above. While those are definitely making their forays into this industry and are poised to change how business is made, there are definitely many other types of real estate technology that you should keep a lookout for. For one, such technology are already adopted in full-force by the industry, with plans to further integrate it with the workings of the industry.
With that said, let's dive right into our huge landscape of apps, categorized by:
- Facility Apps
- Modern Real Estate Management,
with an indication of who are the established players and upcoming contenders.
Best HVAC Apps
Upcoming: Comfy, Enertiv
Established: BuildingIQ, Honeywell
What used to be the area of concern of office managers has now ‘democratized’ as common employees would also want to have a say in how the office feels when it comes to HVAC. For example, an up and coming app Comfy allows users to warm or cool the place as desired, adjust light levels, book rooms and send feedback. Now that’s what we call providing value beyond just HVAC.
Best Real Estate Maintenance Apps
Upcoming: Bixby, Rentigo, Tenant Loop, Diffe.rent
For a generation that demands efficiency more than ever before, it is no surprise that such apps are growing fast. While there are minor differences between each app, a common USP among them is the ease of communicating among landlords, tenants and contractors to solve any maintenance issue present in the property. Some of such apps like Entrata also provide another suite of management apps to help property managers streamline their workflow.
Best Security Apps
Definitely an important aspect of real estate, this industry where incumbents traditionally had a stronghold over is slowly but surely seeing a change with newer more innovative players rethinking the security equation. Cloud access control systems are quickly gaining preference over traditional locally-hosted access control systems. One such rising player in the industry in Kisi which simplifies yet enhances security of access control with its suite of full-stack cloud access control solutions.
Best Visitor Management Apps
Upcoming: Envoy, Teem, Quantum Secure , Veristream, Proxyclick
Established: Traction Guest, iLobby
It is easy to neglect visitor management in the grand scheme of real estate. However not only does a good visitor management convey a pleasant first impression to visitors, it helps to regulate traffic inflow which affects the level of security. This category is poised for growth in the coming years with more companies recognising the need to humanise the registering of guests without compromising on security.
Best Room Booking Apps
Upcoming: Get A Room, Robin
Established: Yarooms, Skedda, MeetingRoomApp
With the advent of coworking and shared office spaces, booking common spaces like a conference room now require much more coordination. This is the single biggest reason for the birth of such room booking apps. Notwithstanding minor differences, their main USP would be to offer a platform for all users to book rooms, and to cap usage of certain members who might have a limited number of hours based on their membership level. We foresee these apps to continue growing in number of customers.
Best Video Security
Similar to security apps, this industry which had been a stronghold of incumbents is now seeing a disruption by newer contenders. Video security is no longer just about security guards monitoring a slew of CCTVs around the premises, but has evolved to having access to real-time streams, using AI to detect any anomalies, and integrating with alarm systems. This is an industry that will definitely see a lot of changes in the next few years as these new players find their feet.
Best Wayfinding Apps
Upcoming: Connexiet, Wayfinding Pro
Established: Mobilesmith, Visix
With such apps, organisations will be able to engage their customers with relevant location-based content and help with navigation, parking, and more. They will also be able to collect data with regards to the traffic flow and time spent in each location. The most common use case as of now are hospitals (Connexiet has a core product MediNav for hospitals) and popular tourist spots, but we foresee it to expand to places like mega malls and airports.
Best Office Design Services
Upcoming: Decor Aid, Homepolish
Established: Turnstone, Office designs
Office design may seem to some as a nice-to-have, but a well thought out design has proven to increase productivity of employees and help in maintaining high levels of employees engagement. Furthermore, the new norm for large corporations is having an office space that conveys the company culture, and this is often achieved with design. We are not seeing a slow down in swanky and fancy offices, so expect further growth in this industry.
Best Office Supplies
Upcoming: Boxed, Managed by Q
Established: Staples, ULINE, Office Depot, Quill, Canteen, Order-In
Of all the categories, this is probably one of the categories which are still relatively unscathed by any new players, with the exception of Boxed. Boxed offers delivery of wholesale products at low prices -- perfect for companies with a high headcount. Otherwise, we believe that companies will still retain their current ways of getting office supplies until a new contender offers a bold solution.
Best Office Cleaning
Upcoming: Handy, My Clean, Green Air Cleaning
Established: Busy Bee Cleaning
Similar to office supplies, office cleaning is one of the categories which we do not foresee a huge change in the near future as there are currently no promising new players which are offering a radically different and better solution to the current situation. We’re hoping for progress in this category though! Robots cleaners perhaps?
Best Office Catering
Upcoming: Zero Cater, Cater2Me, CaterCow, Lunchspread, Farmcutmeals
Very often, food is almost as important as the event itself. This has gave rise to a plethora of catering companies operating in niche areas such providing organic or healthier choices. We foresee such players to continue gaining traction in their niche areas, slowly but surely taking market share from the traditional mass-market players.
Best Office Security
Established: Allied Universal, Epic Security, American Guard Services, Citadel
The category of office security is seeing some slow but certain changes to how the industry works and expectations of clients. In a industry where incumbents are still doing business as usual, it is easy for new contenders to offer something new. Bannerman is one such example, with its offering of being able to manage security guards deployment and shifts on a master dashboard.
Modern Real Estate Management
Best Office Engagement/Maintenance
Upcoming: Office App
Similar to real estate maintenance apps, such apps have recently risen in popularity. One such app is Office App which touts to offer a one-stop-platform to make the workplace an enjoyable environment to be in. Other than room-booking functions, it also includes a company-wide newsfees, options to order meals, do dry cleaning etc. With only a few apps in this space, we foresee this category to experience a great burst of growth.
Best Coworking Apps
Upcoming: Nexudus, Optix, Office R&D, Space OS
Established: KUBE by WUN, Cobot, Coworkify
With the prevalence of coworking spaces, it is no wonder that there are a multitude of coworking apps trying to get such spaces on board. Main functions of such apps are member management, access control integration, CRM, booking and even printing management. Coworking spaces are here to stay -- and so are these apps. If anything, we believe that competition in this industry will intensify and the market will reach saturation.
Best On-demand Booking
Also a product of the prevalence of coworking spaces are the rise of these on-demand booking apps for coworking spaces. As owners are always looking to maximise capacity at all times, it is no wonder that there is a high demand for apps that allow people to access coworking spaces on-demand. Some apps are offered by coworking spaces themselves (WeWork), while others are third party apps which offer a marketplace of coworking spaces which users could book on-demand (Croissant).
Best Management Apps
Upcoming: TenantCloud, Fronststeps
Established: Yardi, Rentec Direct, Appfolio, Buildium
While real estate maintenance apps are user-facing, management apps are more for property managers to better manage their premises. Main features include leasing, operations, marketing, and accounting. We are seeing a shift in these apps to enhance their suite of features to cater to the changing and higher expectations of property managers. Those software which are not able to do so will face marginalization.
Best Real Estate Broker Apps
Established: Compass, CBRE, Kennedy Wilson, JLL
Also one of the categories which will see fewer changes in the near future as the barriers to entry are relatively higher and incumbents are expected to retain the same amount of control over the market. What will change will be the technology that they will utilise to continue providing value to their customers. An interesting point to note is that some companies have positioned themselves in hopes of attracting a particular niche audience, while others remain as mass-market products.
Best Real Estate Marketplace
Upcoming: Renthop, Zumper
Established: Streeteasy, Zillow, Apartment Finder
This industry is rather crowded with many service providers providing the same service. They have also utilised technology to make the apartment finding process much more streamlined.