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  • Mar 29, 2021
  • Stacy Holden, Sr. Director, Industry Principal, AppFolio Property Manager
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Proptech: a friend to your property’s residents, managers, and NOI

James Scott, IREM's Innovator-in-Residence and Lead Researcher at the MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab, reveals which real estate tech trends are here to stay

In the wake of the global pandemic, real estate technology — or proptech — emerged as an invaluable resource that has enabled many to streamline their property management operations while protecting residents, team members, and net operating income (NOI).

Our team sat down with James Scott, IREM's Innovator-in-Residence and Lead Researcher at the MIT Real Estate Innovation Lab, to explore which technologies are attracting the greatest interest and adoption among real estate operators. Here’s some of our conversation.

Today’s tech

Take a long term approach

According to James: “There are certain technologies that I do feel will play a very limited role...once we get over this particular situation that is COVID.” However, “the likes of wearables, space optimization programs, robotic cleaners, thermal imaging, temperature readers, air ventilation and purification systems, touchless technologies, chatbots...people have seemed to be very, very interested in.”

Artificial intelligence

AI is a technology that will stand the test of time, especially as it relates to property management. Certain applications, like chatbots for scheduling showings, stepped up in a big way during the early months of the pandemic. As James explains: “The chatbot technology within true natural language processing and voice recognition, which are aspects of AI, have really, really improved. That technology in itself for property managers is hugely helpful because ultimately, it reduces a significant number of tasks in their day-to-day operation.

Tomorrow's tech

Digital twin

James Scott is “a big believer in digital twin. It's a digital replica of a physical entity...to give  you an up-to-the-minute exact visualization of what is taking place in your building. You can play out different scenarios if you wanted to initiate changes.”

Robots that clean and protect

“We've probably seen more advancement in robotics over the last few months because of COVID than we have for a long time, specifically robotic cleaners...That is something that I think is going to evolve very much over the next few years.”

Embrace the future

James concluded our chat with a few reassuring words for those who may feel overwhelmed at the thought of implementing technology into their real estate operations:

“Trying to understand the technologies that are out there can be a little bit daunting. Just have a look at what's available and embrace the idea that technology is there to help you. All of those burdensome tasks... can be automated. And then from that, you can be out there doing exactly what you want to do, the best parts of the job.”

Should technology scare you? We don’t think so. The right proptech can automate the manual and mundane and free up resources to focus on the more complex, ultimately growing your business.

James said it perfectly: “technology is there to help you,” and that’s certainly also AppFolio’s raison d’être.

You can read the full interview here. Let’s embrace the future, together.

Stacy Holden is the Sr. Director, Industry Principal at AppFolio, a leading provider of cloud-based business software solutions in the real estate market. Stacy has over 20 years of experience in the real estate and property management industry and is an expert on how customers can leverage technology to solve some of their greatest business challenges.


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