What Is Proptech, and Why Should I Care?

Lee Odess
Lee Odess serves as chair of SIA’s Proptech Advisory Board.

The Security Industry Association (SIA) recently announced the Proptech Advisory Board, as you may be aware. The mission of this group is to foster engagement between the proptech community and the global security industry through partnerships, education and thought leadership.

I believe it is one of those moments we look back as an industry and say, “Wow! I wish we would have done this sooner! What other verticals should we be focusing on?”

As Michael Beckerman, CEO of CREtech, the world’s largest and most influential proptech media company, stated recently:

“The formation of the SIA Proptech Advisory Board is a milestone event in the history of the proptech sector as security is one of the most important, but least understood, aspects of the real estate industry and a critical component of the industry’s focus on better serving the needs of their customers.” 

Michael Beckerman, CEO, CREtech

The announcement has received both responses that brought excitement and bewilderment. Excitement is due to the opportunity many of us see with an effort to influence and lead. And bewilderment because, for many who focus inside the industry and only on high security, “what is proptech?”

So let us answer that.

Proptech is and can be many things depending on who you speak to, but here is a combination of what experts in the field call it, as well as what a quick Google search will find:

Proptech is property technology. You may also see it as prop-tech, commercial tech, real estate technology, retail tech, etc. Proptech is applying information technology and platform technology to the real estate market. Proptech is an overlap of many things such as financial technology (think Stripe), construction technology (think Procore), the collaborative community (think WeWork), smart real estate (think tenant engagement apps) and utilities such as security (all of us in this industry). A simple way I heard it explained recently is:

“Technology connecting people and information to simplify how commercial real estate is owned, sold, managed, operated, researched, rented or bought and invested in.” 

Proptech has recently seen a boom in investment. In 2021 alone, there was $32 billion (USD) in capital invested in proptech alone. Proptech is white-hot, and many experts believe we have entered a new era in how commercial buildings operate and, more importantly, how tenants, visitors and residents expect buildings to function. COVID-19 has impacted technology adoption, and proptech is the #8 Megatrend per the SIA 2022 Security Megatrends.

The entire real estate industry can feel the change, investment and how the expectations are different for the sectors that work with real estate. Security is not immune.

As we look at how security goes beyond the traditional value propositions of keeping bad people out, keeping people safe and embracing software more, the security industry will continue to play a vital role in proptech. I cannot state this enough, and as Michael so eloquently summarized it, security is one of the most critical yet least understood sectors in proptech.

And this is why we are going to focus on it. 

So if you like change, like to learn, want to make an impact and are comfortable stepping outside the security industry to represent it, join me, the Security Industry Association and your peers to make security a well understood and even more critical piece of the proptech community.

Here are some ways to get involved:

  • Participate on the Proptech Advisory Board
  • Volunteer for one of the three projects based on the Proptech Advisory Board objectives:
    • Education
    • Thought Leadership
    • Networking
  • Attend a breakfast happy hour event and network with proptech professionals

If you are interested in any of these options or have a new suggestion, please send an email to SIA’s Edison Shen (eshen@securityindustry.org) and myself (lee@leeodess.com) or stay connected through the SIA Proptech Advisory Board page.

The opportunity is now, and we are excited to get going.