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What is the API Economy and what does it mean for PropTech?

By Maddy GlynnDigital Marketing Specialist
Published on September 5, 2019

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It’s no secret that commercial real estate organisations across the developed world have hit somewhat of a slump or plateau when it comes to the efficiency of their operations. All processes that can be automated have been, leaving little to no room for a more efficient system - or so we thought. 

The exponential and unexpected rise of PropTech and its integration into SaaS businesses has managed to streamline just about every process of commercial real estate that was seen as impossible only five years ago - see AmazonGo

So, what is this incredible $12 billion PropTech and API industry, and what exactly is it doing? We’ll take a look below. 

What is PropTech?

To keep things simple, PropTech is essentially a technology that is transforming how businesses and their employees interact with their buildings. 

The industry and the technology forming PropTech is still relatively new, which has resulted in some ambiguity. As of 2019, there is still a little confusion as to exactly what PropTech is, though at this point touts the industry as a blend of FinTech, ConTech, real estate FinTech and collaborative economy technologies.

To dig a little deeper, a vast majority of PropTech startups focus on enhancing processes that once relied heavily on human interaction or human ingenuity. 

In the past, there were a number of slow intermediaries when purchasing a home, or even buying groceries, and PropTech aims to eliminate these.

The Rise of APIs and Their Purpose 

Now that we understand a little more about PropTech, it’s crucial to look into how application programming interfaces or APIs are enhancing SaaS and PropTech itself. 

Envision a workplace reliant heavily on a SaaS platform to streamline several processes such as check-in and visitor management - this platform will need to work with a tonne of different datasets with ease. An API essentially allows the data collected from a sign-in (or any other action) to be converted to usable data and shared with other relevant SaaS platforms company-wide - or even with third-party businesses. 

With an API, cloud-based partnerships can exist between commercial real estate companies or any other company in general. The data collected and used by one party can be easily read, utilised and re-shared with relevant parties - who may be using a different management software altogether. 

An example of this could be a rental collection service’s software working cohesively with an accounting platform or company. The rental processes will be streamlined and provide a better user experience for customers - even though the two companies are separate. 

Although APIs and PropTech are reasonably new, the opportunities they provide are near endless. 

PropTech and APIs in Commercial Real Estate

Assessing both PropTech and APIs in commercial real estate now, it’s easy to see the massive potential here. Just about every process undertaken inside a building every day can be drastically enhanced and even monetised by PropTech and APIs working hand in hand.

Streamlining Visitor Management

One of the first processes that come to mind is, of course, visitor management improvements across entire companies. 

A corporation may add new visitors to a directory, which is what will be used to allow them access to a building. Utilising APIs and integrations, the directory datasets will be shared with all relevant SaaS systems, making it easy to grant access to visitors without a hitch. 

Better Management of Contractors

Another significant improvement that can be made by PropTech and APIs are the enhancements of contractor management. 

With APIs from companies such as Kineo, organizations and commercial businesses can easily see who is qualified for a specific task, if they've undertaken inductions and are capable of doing a task. These insights significantly improve safety and much more, reducing the risk of injury and keeping staff out of harm's way.

Company-wide Overviews

Adding to unparalleled insight into operations, APIs such as Procore make it effortless to get a real-time look into your entire business. 

You're able to instantly see who's on-site, when they arrived, what they're doing and when they leave. This makes it easier than ever to manage unproductive workflows which can be removed or enhanced, saving a business money over long and short terms.

Delivery Management

Further adding to improved productivity, delivery-focused APIs work to streamline deliveries, reduce slowdowns and keep things moving. 

Organisations can quickly see which clients require what task to be completed and can spot issues and track product or service completions. These APIs are also capable of managing budgets and sharing expense information with senior staff, keeping cost-effectivity at a high.

There’s little doubt that in the coming years we’ll begin to see incredibly versatile and use-specific APIs making their way into all types of PropTech and SaaS platforms. 

Experience Integrations with Sine

As a leader in visitor management solutions, Sine has several APIs or ‘Integrations’ that allow commercial real estate companies to majorly overhaul their workspaces. Whether clients require contractor management, induction automation or even a simple way to speak with everyone on site, Sine has an Integration. 

For example, through an Integration with Slack, organisations can be notified of a check-in instantly in their Slack Threads.

These Integrations and many more find their way into Sine’s platform.

Take a look at Sine Integrations to learn more about the APIs that may be most relevant to your business in commercial real estate.