Date09 September 2020
Published date09 September 2020
AuthorElaine Worzala,Larry Wofford,David Wyman
Proptech and entrepreneurship innovation in real estate
Someone rolled a rock to the entrance of a cave and created an enclosed space for his/her family a
warmer, more defensible shelter, distinct from the surrounding environment. This can be called the
first real estate development. (Graaskamp, 1991)
That was then and this is now. The research in this special issue focusses on entrepreneurship
and emerging trends within the technology world and how it has already impacted and will
continue to influence the commercial real estate sector clearly illustrates that times are changing.
Graaskamps real estate definition that includes a fourth element (length, width, height) of space-
time, time for possession and benefit, might need a fifth element incorporating technology. That
is, maybe instead of space delineated by man, relative to a fixed geography, intended to contain
an activity for a specified period of timeit includes something about pushing a button or putting
on a pair of virtual reality glasses to better understand the real estate investment you are making.
The world in which we work and live in is changing at an incredibly fast pace. The papers in
this special issue highlight the entrepreneurial spirit that is alive and well as real estate
and technology collide to enhance the everyday lives of our consumers and the way that that they
interact with the built environment. Most of the papers highlight the benefits that the changes have
brought to the industry, making it more efficient and easier to make investments and complete
transactions. We have papers that focussed on smart buildings, neural networks, artificial
intelligence, big data analysis for real estate and the use of blockchain for real estate transactions.
Many of the papers are more exploratory in nature but the message from all of them is that
those of us working in commercial real estate will need to add tools to our toolbox to continue to
have success in this profession. The traditional set of skills used to analyse a real estate
transaction or a real estate market are still important but advances in technology will make the
analysis easier and in many cases more efficient. However, some cautionary words are also
provided. Reminding us to be careful, that old adage of Garbage In, Garbage Out(GIGO) is still
valid perhaps more important now than ever. It is tempting to cut costs and replace humans with
machines, but we cannot do this unless we make a commitment to standardize our data. The
current commercial real estate data available to us are anything but standardized. These shiny
new tools and techniques developed in computer science programmes and electrical engineering
departments across the globe could be useful. In fact, venture capitalists are actively investing in
fintech and PropTech specialists but they may not be ready for prime time. The human factor is
now more important than ever in making real estate decisions and it needs to be incorporated in
to the models. We cannot yet, Beam Me Up Scotty, and take away that rock or that cave but we
are getting closer to that reality every day. This first of two special issues will provide insight into
the benefits of adapting to our changing environment, but also alert us to some of the potential
pitfalls or a dip in the road that could send our driverless car crashing into a tree.
Elaine Worzala
College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Larry Wofford
University of Tulsa, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, and
David Wyman
College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Graaskamp, J.A. (1991), Fundamentals of real estate development, Reprinted in Graaskamp on Real
Estate by Stephen Jarchow, Urban Land Institute, USA, pp. 228-265.
Journal of Property Investment &
Vol. 38 No. 4, 2020
p. 265
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JPIF-07-2020-167

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