Digitisation in the Real Estate Sector: Proptechs and Assets

The advance of digitisation presents great challenges in many sectors. Companies are facing a wave of innovations and new competitors – and developments such as big data, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence threaten to turn entire sectors of the economy upside-down.

But not in the real estate sector – at least, this is what we are always being told. While, for instance, Amazon is stirring up the retail sector, AirBnB the hospitality industry and Uber the taxi business, life in the naturally more ‘analog’ and complex real estate sector is supposedly more laid-back. However, even though proptech startups from other sectors are still relatively insignificant in terms of numbers, appearances are deceptive.

The Immobilienscout24 platform demonstrated years ago how, even in the real estate sector, it is possible within a relatively short time to scale a new digital business model that dramatically changes existing value-added steps.

However the advent of digitisation to the real estate world represents an opportunity for more than just proptech companies. It also offers potential for established companies. For instance, Bulwiengesa and Drees & Sommer have set about applying their pooled experience in real estate analysis and consulting to the digital world. The result of their collaboration is an online tool called Asset Check.

Asset Check

With this tool, users can independently carry out a cost-efficient initial assessment of an office, retail or residential property – the three most common types of use. All that is needed for the assessment is a smartphone, tablet or computer, and the key figures for the property. Andreas Schulten, a member of the Board of Directors of Bulwiengesa, commented:

‘Asset Check provides a reliable basis for everyone – buyers, sellers, portfolio holders or investors – to make the right decisions.’

Norman Meyer, Head of Digital Business Models at Drees & Sommer, added: ‘This is the first time clients have had access to all market data and data relating to a specific property at the click of a mouse.’ He explained that this data was previously usually gathered separately, and no account was taken of their mutual interdependence. This meant clients often had to draw their own conclusions. This gap has now been filled by the collaboration of the companies and the tool they have created.

It is clear that digitisation is coming to the real estate sector, as to all other sectors. But established companies should not only adapt to new challenges and disruptive competitors; they must also ask themselves what role they want to play in the new world, and what they are able to contribute. However secure most companies still feel, the next revolution could be just around the corner. It is therefore high time to take an active role in shaping the future. The opportunities are there – as the example of Asset Check proves.


Top photo © leolintang/GettyImages 

About Author

Norman Meyer has been Head of Digital Business Models for the internationally active project management and consulting company Drees & Sommer since February 2017. Prior to this, he founded and established the prop-tech company "Asset Profiler", an online platform for real estate transactions, starting in 2011. From 2003 to 2011 he was employed as an investment manager and later as Partner in the consulting firm Egon Meyer + Partner GmbH. There he gained extensive experience in the transaction business of commercial real estate and residential portfolios. Norman Meyer is a member of gif Gesellschaft für immobilienwirtschaftliche Forschung e.V. and the Urban Land Institute.

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