Property managers have to innovate to sustain biz


Local property managers are still lagging in adopting the Internet of Things (IoT) compared to proprietors in other industries.

Malaysian Institute of Professional Property Managers (MIPPM) president Sarkunan Subramaniam said the majority of property managers are, however, open to the idea of shifting away from the brick and mortar of doing business and explore property technology (proptech) to move on to the next level.

“It all comes down to the lack of knowledge and ignorance towards technology advancement and how fast it can disrupt an industry.

“We are still left behind compared to more developed countries such as Australia, and especially the US,” he said at a media briefing on the MIPPM Property Management Conference 2017 in Kuala Lumpur recently.

Sarkunan said tasks such as internal management — that would usually take a longer time to execute with a heap of paperwork — could be easily improved with the use of technology.

“The property scene is taking baby steps in converting to advanced technology, especially in property management. Arduous tasks that involve a stack of papers could easily be transformed into several minutes with a mobile device.

“With the rate of how fast technology — especially IoT — is changing other sectors, the industry will likely to be paperless in 20 years’ time,” he said.

Sarkunan added that the industry is also expected to have a landscape change in terms of adopting technology in its business model, due to the increasing participation among the younger players.

“There are two categories of people in terms of adopting technology — digital migrants and digital generation. And there is a huge difference on how both parties see things.

“With younger players entering the property market, it will be going through vast landscape changes in several years,” he said.

Meanwhile, MIPPM VP Adzman Shah Mohd Ariffin said that conversion to technology is most likely to be embraced at a personal level and not at a corporate level.

“We have not seen proptech being embraced at the corporate level, at least not in a bigger scale.

“To my knowledge, there are some studies that are being conducted by big firms on the implementation and the effectiveness of proptech,” he said.

He added that certain housing technologies for smart houses are already being developed internationally and it is hoped that there would be demand from Malaysia for it to be launched locally.

As it is, Adzman Shah said local industry players have slowly invested in the “smart city” concept, which is said to be able to reduce obstructions pertaining to city living.

“Malaysia is at the stage of setting up a platform for ‘smart city’, as the model has the tendency to improve the quality of living and resolve problems such as pollution and parking,” he said.

Meanwhile, the MIPPM Property Management Conference—to be held on Nov 29, 2017, in Kuala Lumpur — is expected to be attended by both local and industry experts.

Themed “Proptech: Driving the Future of Property Management”, the conference will include discussions on existing issues pertaining to the adoption of proptech and IoT in the property sector.

“This is our second year hosting the conference, and this year we want to highlight the aspects of innovation and its impact in built environment,” Adzman Shah added.