PropTech 2021 – How technology is changing up big business in wake of pandemic

The REINSW is committed to staying on top of digital innovations delivering exciting and rapid changes to our industry. More than 200 members attended our live PropTech 2021 virtual seminar on Wednesday, which focused on the theme Evolution or Revolution.

Headlining this online event were expert speakers in the evolving tech-space sector including the REA Group, Airbnb and Uber.

REINSW President Elect and Host Peter Matthews said it was a terrific response and provided an insight into how big business is managing the proptech evolution.

“It was just great to have so many members interested in understanding what influence proptech is having on their customers globally, but equally looking for key messages that they could take from the panel and deploy in their own business today,” Mr Matthews said.

Members were also given insights from Susan Wheeldon, Country Manager Australia and New Zealand at Airbnb; Simon Hope, REA Group General Manager and Ashleigh Cormack, Public Policy Manager at Uber.

The speakers then took part in a panel discussion which discussed the impact of COVID-19 and how it has instigated change, resilience and flexibility.

Ms Wheeldon revealed how Airbnb’s new platform upgrades have been designed to make it easier for people to become a host or book accommodation.

This includes computer vision deep learning models, which automatically arrange photos based on guest appeal, and smart text suggestions for perfecting posts.

Airbnb has also developed an easy and efficient app which allows hosts to test their internet speed and post the information on their listing page.

“As people embrace the flexible new way of living and working, including business travel, connectivity is becoming increasingly important,” she said.

Mr Matthews said it was time for people to let go of the fear of technology and embrace streamlined processes in order to boost productivity, increase savings and create better customer service.

A real estate veteran of 32 years, he is also CEO of Realtair, an online proptech platform which aims to automate and streamline the real estate process.

He believes agents have been too slow to adopt technology in a holistic way, instead taking up platforms to solve one problem and not another. To combat this, he wants agents to look at innovations that are working and also identify areas in their business that could benefit from a tech-solution.

“One of the things that stood out from the seminar was the word ‘transparency’ – providing transparency to the process. Technology can provide this! Transparency creates trust and each of the panel members suggested it is intrinsically important to the agent and vendor relationship,” Mr Matthews said.

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