Kykloud CEO, Ed Bartlett teamed up with Rajeev Nayar, CEO of Fixflo at this year’s Future PropTech event (London May 4th 2017) to talk about the benefits of technology integration and data sharing.

The event, now in its 3rd year, brought together more than 600 professionals from the Proptech and traditional property sector to gain an up to date insight in to the development of technology within property.

Kykloud and Fixflo, the web enabled app that is quietly revolutionizing the landlord/ tenant relationship with more than 10% of all UK lettings agencies now adopting its technology, are firm believers that proptech businesses must embrace integration and view data sharing as a hugely positive step for the entire profession.

The two CEOs, whose companies both already work in partnership with the likes of Qube, told the packed audience why they believe integration is the key to the ongoing success of the proptech industry and why fellow tech providers need to look to other industries to see just how beneficial it can be.

Rajeev described what he sees as the ‘hedgehog strategy’; over the past few years, there has been an emergence of propTech companies who have focused on solving very specific challenges within specific stages of the property lifecycle and strive to provide the very best solution.

The property industry has been quick to adopt these best in class solutions but because the UX is not seamless and users have to dip in and out of different systems they are beginning to suffer from what Rajeev describes as “UX indigestion”: the systems don’t work well together; users have to logon to numerous systems and move data around different solutions, usually through spreadsheets, which means they are wasting time and missing out on opportunities to bring data together. Departments are not talking to each other, more so their systems do not communicate to each other.

Back in October 2016, both Ed and Rajeev attended the CRE Tech intersect event in NYC where a panel of leading, global property companies all said the same thing; they wanted a wrapper to present and expose data where ‘integration is vendor led’.

These companies admitted that they ‘agonise’ over data and how they best extract it, but with so many best in class tech solutions now available to them, they no longer want to use one product which offers everything, where compromise is inevitable.  They don’t want to compromise on elements of the technology just for ease of use, they want to be able to choose the best technology to meet specific needs and they want tech businesses to be the innovation engines.

Property professionals lie awake at night worrying about how they secure the next deal not thinking about how they find the technology to support it; this is one for the proptech industry to solve.

So it’s the proptech professionals who need to come together to get the different systems to communicate with each other, which thanks to API’s (Application programming interfaces) needn’t be a huge mountain to climb but will help to create a best in class “property stack” for the property industry.

Other markets are already way ahead of the proptech industry, so we know this is completely achievable.

Take Xero as an example – a small business accounting system.  The company has invested heavily in building an open platform. Since 2011, it has grown from having 25 app partners to more than 500. These partners allow Xero users to develop a best-in-breed solution for their business. From marketing software specific to their business, industry software from workforce management to inventory management and finally accounting. This powerful ecosystem provides Xero with a competitive advantage of locking in users into their software. But also for the integration partners, they have leveraged the Xero network of more than 600,000 subscribers to grow

Google Maps is another phenomenal example of just how much value can be drawn from an open API. There has been multiple businesses that have been built on the back of it – non more notable than the rise to fame of Uber and Lyft, but in property terms both Kykloud and Fixflo successfully integrate Google Maps in to their products.

It is abundantly clear that rather than having to choose between one product, where some elements of the technology deliver but others parts of it are second rate at best, or choosing individual solutions which only communicate through timely and error prone spreadsheets, the property profession wants a solution which offers them the best of both.  They want best in class individual products which all talk to each other effectively and it’s our job to give them what they want.

We mustn’t be scared to collaborate and share our data – in doing so we could unleash huge mutual rewards.