Computers and robots don’t exactly need a WC or urinal. My guess is it’ll take a while for AI to teach them all what’s needed about u-bends, obstructions … and smells, too. 

Until then – and that’s not any time soon – property management is still, first and foremost, about human beings and service.

Here’s the point: property and property management requires at least some element of human involvement. It’s fundamentally analogue, not purely digital. Software on its own cannot be the answer, though it can (and should) be part of it. And, certainly much more than it is today.

Goodness knows, lettings and property management is woefully overdue investment and updating. No one’s questioning that. But for property management, pure “proptech” isn’t a silver bullet. Gizmo software solutions that promise purely digital solutions can’t do it. Or at least not until AI robots wipe us out. Hopefully not in your or my lifetime.

It’s different for transactional elements of the property industry. Just like Amazon has done for many transactions or sales, these can be digitised to a higher degree. Much can and already has been done here – Rightmove, Zoopla, On The Market, and Purplebricks, to evidence. Though there’s more to go.

However, in lettings and property management – in other words what happens once the tenant or owner has been found, and the lifestyle starts to be enjoyed – it’s about service, maintenance, community and anything else, including emergencies, births, deaths and acts of god. And here, proptech can assist, but it cannot replace to the extent it can for transactional.

We still need people – us: we’re analogues.

In the future, look out for IT developments that, joined up, assist the whole ownership and rental process and service. Not just parts of it. Here, IT and software is much more about those that improve the natural service flows that have evolved and been honed over many years, if not centuries. 

There’s lots of areas which can (and need) to be improved – efficiency gains that deliver better service and lots of cost savings – but ultimately the overall experience is a service which will always require analogue human interaction, and all the vitality, character and sociability that makes being alive such fun and enjoyable! 

I could be wrong. May be one day we’ll find that robots do need toilets after all …. (and if so, they can fix them themselves; I won’t be ….)