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Sunday PropTech Review; 20th August 2017

POSTED BY   james
August 20, 2017

Holiday season is upon us in the UK and I have just returned from a working week in the North of England. While the family have been enjoying the delights of some of the beautiful castles up in Northumberland, I have been working in a variety of places including the first house in the world to have installed electricity in 1878 (Cragside – seriously, take a look, an amazing and inspirational place that is really at the heart of innovation in the property world).

I have also taken some time to start reading another book, one of my favourites so far about our digital future – check it outWorth a read.

Before I get going, a correction from last week’s review. I misquoted the clever deal that MetaProp had put together. It was obviously a deal with Cushman and Wakefield. Apologies. Read about it here and a genuine thank you to those that pointed it out.

1. This week’s most shared article:

6 ways empowered agents embrace disruption to drive success
Inman, so often a site that decides to keep its articles behind a paywall (part of the reason I don’t have any podcasts this week – some excellent ones from Estates Gazette at the moment but they are keeping them hidden from you!), has let this one fly so I hope you enjoy it.

It looks at six ways savvy agents leverage technology to “ensure their ride on real estate’s lead wave” – a rather simplistic overview but still, it was the most shared.

2. Hey Siri, what’s the best mortgage rate?

Having had a live demonstration of how Siri can help rental clients (more to come in an upcoming podcast), the issue of voice search interests me more with each waking minute. It will be huge. Mark my words.

Therefore, this article interests me and it links nicely into a bit of research conducted by HSBC which I helped with which is also worth a look at given statements like “1 in 7 millenials would trust a robo-advisor more than a human advisor on “quality and impartial” mortgage advice” – just wait – it is already been muted that robo-advisers will sit quite nicely with the FCA as they know that they will be programmed to give the most accurate advice.

If you want to watch their video summarising the report (with me in it with a bad hair day you can catch it here)

3. Related to the above article but so important that I have to give it a separate section in this weeks review!

In fact, a totally separate article gave me my favourite quote of the week – also linked to Robo-advisors – though not directly linked to property, you can see the impact they are having here in the investment management sector: “The idea that you have got to become best friends with a man with cufflinks and an expensive watch to get financial advice is becoming harder and harder for people to swallow

The article also presented itself with some great input on the future of that sector – a sector, which for me presents an interesting symbiosis with our own in terms of their technology adoption. Take real note to the growth of Blockchain technology below. Significant.

4. Article of the week – Is the era of flexible office spaces a fad or is there real substance in the mentality change?

It was while I was away that I read an excellent piece about the issue of “Zombie Properties” as the guys at Virtual Commercial released a bit of research stating that over 30% of all shops and offices are still vacant, six months after coming on to the market.

It is no surprise then that the large developers are working alongside WeWork and The Office Group to help them. The feeling, certainly in London is that shared workspace isn’t going anywhere. This article, and the corresponding graph, just shows you the huge growth London is experiencing – In the first half of 2017, the serviced offices sector accounted for more than 15% of take-up – double the average figure recorded in 2014-16 alone.

5. Ukranian Government signs deal with Blockchain Start Up

Big news again in this area. The Ukranian Government will be trialling a decentralised marketplace and title registry.

Propy, who you may have seen in this review a few weeks back, are leading the trial which will allow a far more transparent process for buying land in Ukraine with smart contracts. It will also coincide with the Ukranian Governments decision to allow foreign investors to purchase land in the country from Jan 2018.

Watch this space, there will be more to come for sure. So much so that there were an incredible amount of articles this last week on Blockchain and smart contracts. Here are just a few:

Automated Contracts: a silver bullet for efficiency

PWC article: is Blockchain right for you?

6. All my recommended PropTech reads of the week.

As always, I like to list all the articles I have been looking at and reading through this week so here is a complete list in case you want more. Hope you enjoy them…..

I’m off to make my way home after another week away to a lawn that will look like a rainforest. Have a great Sunday and speak to you all soon hopefully.


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