How Will Property Technology Revolutionise the Commercial Property Industry?

Advances in technology are transforming every aspect of the economy today and technology in the commercial space is no exception.

AI, smart buildings, tech-driven design, interior planning, and building management tools are being integrated into the daily workflow of facilities managers and estate agents around the world.

This new property technology (known collectively as Proptech) is set to change the way business is done in the office and industrial realty sector.

Whether you’re a building owner or tenant in Cape Town or elsewhere in South Africa, there are plenty of reasons to get excited about the advent of Proptech. In this article, we take a deep dive into several aspects of this trend to find out exactly what it is, how it works, and how it’s set to improve the efficiency of virtually every process in the real estate industry.

Property technology: the changing face of a traditional industry

With a strong emphasis on interpersonal relationships, sales and brokerage, expertise, and the responsibility of helping buyers make one of the biggest asset purchases on the balance sheet, commercial real estate has always operated on a traditional model that has stood the test of time.

But times are changing.

Recently, the wave of technological advances that are transforming virtually every industry in the economy has begun to wash over the property sector too, and agents and building managers simply can’t afford to ignore the tremendous benefits and gains in efficiency that proptech has to offer.

From faster sales and lower costs to efficiency gains in building management, property technology is set to make the buying and renting experience even better in years to come as it streamlines operations by improving efficiency and sustainability.

Let’s take a look at some specific use cases for proptech as we outline the benefits of adopting AI and other technologies to remain competitive in 2023 and beyond.

Smart buildings

We’ve covered some of the main features and benefits of smart buildings in previous articles, and since then the trend for building automation has only grown stronger.

A building that’s managed by technology allows for easy detection of maintenance issues, monitoring security and maintenance incidents and ultimately enhancing the comfort of occupants.

Efficient energy usage, which can be optimised by monitoring the demand for power usage by tenants, can help to reduce a building’s carbon footprint and make the entire premises more sustainable.

Efficient operations and transparency

Managing a building means juggling a variety of moving parts. While building managers do their best to keep their eye on all aspects of the property, it’s far easier for technology to do the monitoring while humans apply their judgment to ensure that the building runs without a glitch.

  • The flow of information between tenants, owners, the building manager, and maintenance and security staff can be significantly sped up with real time reporting and automation.
  • Gathering tenant feedback through automated surveys and collecting building usage data in a centralised location can improve internal communication and ultimately result in quicker resolution of tenant queries and issues.

Some of the practical ways in which this can be achieved include:

  1. Occupancy sensors
  2. Smart electricity monitoring.
  3. Online booking systems for shared office space
  4. Automation of new tenant registration, the sorting of mail, and security

AI and the future of the property sector

Artificial intelligence is changing the way business is done in every sector, and it’s only a matter of time until this new technology takes hold in the real estate industry.

Along with AI, which can be used to automate building management and client relations functions – especially through the use of chatbots – there are a number of other technologies that are also being used effectively in the property sector to boost transparency, efficiency, and ultimately, revenue.


From property, sales and rentals to building tenant information, and even land registries, maintaining databases is essential.

  • The data we use to do business needs to be reliable, and blockchain offers an efficient way to decentralise every imaginable database and update it in real time.
  • Smart database management can be integrated with building monitoring technology to provide owners and managers with an accurate, in depth analysis of energy usage and occupancy data that’s updated on a continuous basis.

This technology has already been used effectively in the financial sector for the creation of cryptocurrencies and to reduce banking fees and it’s likely to be adopted in the real estate sector over the next few years.


Having access to advanced data can be a game changer for building managers and commercial real estate agents, but that data will need to be collected by smart devices first.

The Internet of Things (IOT) is a term that refers to smart devices connected to the Internet that provide real time data to their owners and users.

  • From a commercial space perspective, the use of smart energy sensors and security equipment in buildings is already commonplace.
  • If these devices are connected to the internet and provide data to building managers on a constant basis, the improvements to efficiency and tenant experience are easy to imagine.

In the years to come, we can expect to see more and more smart devices pop up in office buildings that will provide crucial insights that allow owners and managers to create office space that attracts tenants and retains them in the long term.

Digital Marketing

Digital platforms such as commercial space have become more user-friendly than ever before with increased listing accuracy and transparency, and an enhanced ability to filter listings giving potential tenants a complete view and understanding of the property and its location. These enhanced customer offerings that make listings versatile and more affordable are made possible through the latest cutting edge innovations.


Virtual Reality (VR) and its more advanced cousin Augmented Reality (AR) have revolutionised the computer gaming industry in recent years.

The ability to create a virtual environment and an immersive user experience is spreading to the property industry, with the advent of virtual building tours being a prime example.

  • Instead of visiting the premises in person, prospective tenants can now experience the property using virtual reality technology.
  • This practice gained a lot of popularity during the lockdown with virtual tours and Zoom viewings and it remains an excellent way to view several premises from the comfort of your home or office.

If a prospective tenant lives far away, VR technology is an ideal solution. This is especially true of semigrants to the Western Cape who are keen to view commercial properties remotely from other cities or countries before they relocate.

Drone technology

Aerial photography adds an important layer of information to any property listing – and drones are making it far more affordable.

Being able to see the property and surrounding area and get a feeling for the landscape adds to the overall convenience for prospective buyers and tenants.

The days when aerial photography had to be carried out from a plane at great expense are thankfully behind us. Drone technology means that agents can quickly launch a camera drone and take high-quality images, either by themselves with the right training or using the services of a drone photograper.

3D Printing

The latest advancements in printing technology allow entire objects – even buildings-  to be created digitally and manufactured on the spot.

3-D printing has already been used in many industries to manufacture items as diverse as plastic toys and military equipment.

The potential for this technology to be used in housing and office construction is also huge, with small to medium size office buildings that are printed instead of built appearing on the future horizon.

Proptech means increased ROI

Buildings with advanced monitoring and optimisation thanks to technology are not only visually impressive and modern, creating a unique selling point in the market. They’re also more efficient – and that translates into a better return on investment for tenants and building owners alike.

Companies renting premises will always opt for a modern and efficient building, especially when it means lower energy costs and a sense of increased security.

Property investors looking at the long-term viability of a building can rest easy in the knowledge that proptech is constantly working to lower running costs and maximise tenant satisfaction.

These factors in turn will result in lower occupancy rates and a higher return on investment for the building over time.

Maximise your tenant experience with our expertise

Property technology has the potential to revolutionise the way we do business, increasing transparency and ROI. But no matter what technology we use to help us sell and rent the best commercial properties in Cape Town, the human touch will always be essential.

If you’d like to experience our efficient, client focused approach to office space rentals in the Cape Peninsula, our team would love to get in touch.

Contact us today to begin your search for the ideal commercial property in Cape Town.

Image: Photo by Willem Chan on Unsplash