Whether you’ve seen the term in the news or you’re in the real estate industry, chances are you’ve heard the term “proptech.” Don’t know what it means? Not to worry. We’ve written a brief primer to help you understand everything you need to know, from what proptech stands for and what it does to how Usewalter fits into the market (sneak peek: we’re a first mover in the space). Read on to learn about real estate’s hottest trend.

What does proptech stand for?

Proptech is the mash-up of two words: property technology. Like any good word combination, proptech is snappier than its origins and – dare we say? – sexier, too. In real estate and investing circles, the term proptech represents the wide range of technologies designed to manage, optimize and enhance real estate properties. Whether it’s integrating big data from a smart office building or helping landlords collect rent, proptech is changing the way real estate owners, managers, landlords and residents interact with their properties. According to a report prepared by Canada’s Proptech Collective, the top three fastest growing categories for Canadian proptech startups are rental management (which includes Usewalter); building automation & IoT (such as BrainBox AI or ThoughtWire); and property data & appraisal (for example, Local Logic or Solidifi).

Okay, but what does proptech actually do?

In short, proptech is technology created for the real estate industry and can be used at any stage of a property’s life cycle, from planning and building to optimizing and managing. To help landlords, owners and managers make the most of their properties, proptech providers typically create user-friendly apps and websites designed to drive efficiencies, optimize assets and streamline operations.

Proptech in action can be found with Magex Technologies, who provide centralized data management, bookings and accounting solutions, or Hopem, a leading accounting software developer for the property management industry. Another example is Yardi Breeze, a simple platform to market and manage a portfolio of residential, commercial and mixed property real estate. Last but certainly not least, Usewalter is a property management platform that aims to elevate the condo experience for both property managers and residents. No matter which camp you fall into, our digital concierge and property management platform is designed to make your life easier.

If you’re a property manager, you can use our app to assign work orders, track building data, share announcements with residents as well as collect fees and rent. Usewalter also has the ability to integrate with any of the back-end softwares including Condo Manager, Hopem and Magex. If you’re a resident, you can use our app to book in-home services, track packages, request maintenance work and sell goods to your neighbours.

How does the Internet of Things fit into proptech?

The Internet of Things (or IoT, as it’s known) represents all the devices and appliances that are connected to the Internet – and it’s one of the biggest trends in proptech right now. Using software, sensors and other technologies, smart devices share information with each other all the time. A growing number of buildings and homes are implementing smart devices to run, manage and optimize their environments. From sensors that help regulate airflow to thermostats that can be controlled from a smartphone, the possibilities are endless. Thanks to IoT devices, with just a few clicks on a smartphone app, users can lock or unlock their home from anywhere with a smart door lock or receive video calls from their doorbells when someone is ringing. A smart refrigerator can tell owners if its door has been left open, or even if it’s running out of ice.

At Usewalter, we designed our proptech with all those possibilities in mind. Our app allows residents and property managers to integrate every smart device they use into one centralized hub. We’ve created an easy way to manage a complex network of devices – just one more way we’re dedicated to making life better.

Where is proptech headed?

Though real estate has been notoriously slow to adopt new technologies and trends, demand for proptech solutions like ours is on the rise. According to a Deloitte report published at the end of 2019, “proptech startups have already raised over $43 billion in funding worldwide since 2012. In 2018 alone there was an 82% increase from the year before.” Real estate owners, managers and entrepreneurs are realizing how useful proptech can be – and the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly highlighted the need for innovative technologies that allow people to work, live and thrive at home. As cited within the Proptech Collective report, “COVID-19 accelerated the pace of tech-adoption; what was previously good-to-have is now essential.” With the Usewalter app, we have just the solution they need.

We’re here to help property managers and residents navigate pandemic life and beyond. Our goal is to elevate their real estate experience, keep them connected and, ultimately, make life simple. We’re currently servicing more than 35,000 doors and recently on-boarded our first buildings in the U.S., but we’re nowhere near done. In North America, we have over a $1 billion annual total market to tackle.

As the industry continues to grow and change, Usewalter is proud to be at the forefront. We believe the proptech revolution is long overdue. As the Deloitte report says, “Like other traditional industries, real estate is a market that hasn’t changed very much in decades – maybe even centuries. Proptech presents that rare chance to disrupt such an industry and it’s attracting a lot of attention from entrepreneurs, investors, and industry incumbents all at once.” These are exciting times, indeed, and the Usewalter team is eager to show the world what our proptech can do.

To learn more about how we’re making life better for property managers and residents, please visit us at usewalter.com or email us at info@usewalter.com. We look forward to hearing from you!