Transforming Real Estate: How Proptech Evolved From Spreadsheets to Smart Buildings

A futuristic building cutaway illustration to give a visualisation of what proptech and smart buildings can do

Property technology (proptech) in Australia has come a long way in the past three decades. It’s a transformative journey from simple spreadsheet solutions to sophisticated smart building systems. BuildingLink Asia Pacific is at the head of this revolution. We’ve been leading the way with essential building management software for over 20 years.

Today, proptech in Australia encompasses interconnected systems driven by Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, smart security and access systems, and energy-optimising solutions that are revolutionizing property management practices.

Rewind just fifteen years and this market was in its infancy, worth an estimated $1.7 billion. Most building and strata managers were running their operations with spreadsheets and diary bookings. The growth and development over that short period are remarkable. Nowadays, the proptech market is valued at $33.57 billion, that’s a figure which is expected to more than double to $72.39 billion by 2030.

BuildingLink was one of a few early software providers leading the way to streamlined solutions with an emphasis on security and reliability. We’ve evolved too. These days, our comprehensive features include maintenance tracking, multi-language support and technology integrations that make it seem like your building can think for itself. Join us as we delve into the evolution from spreadsheets to smart buildings. And we’ll explore the impact proptech is having on expectations of real estate.

In the beginning, spreadsheets reigned supreme

Two decades ago, the landscape of property management software was vastly different. Most building and strata managers relied on cumbersome spreadsheets and manual diary bookings to oversee operations. Property managers faced significant challenges when it came to managing portfolios, communicating with stakeholders, and maintaining accurate records.

Spreadsheets are versatile and accessible, but they weren’t built for the task of building and strata management. It was easy to lose information or lose time checking through version updates for up-to-date data. Maintaining records related to property finances, tenant information, maintenance schedules, and more could quickly become a task only for the brave of heart. 

Despite their widespread use, the lack of integration and automation resulted in hours spent manually inputting data, performing calculations, and updating information. Lost hours, forgotten inspections, and difficulty ensuring contractor compliance opened the door to a high potential for errors.

While spreadsheets were better than pen and paper records, they weren’t enough to keep track of all the threads a building manager needs to weave together throughout their day. So, spreadsheets turned into databases. Databases evolved into CRMs and project management tools. From there, the building management software we know and love today was perfected.

Although spreadsheets are an outdated way to manage property portfolios and communities, we owe them thanks for paving the way to the sophisticated solutions we have now. Without these tools, we’d unlikely be enjoying the greater efficiency, integration, and functionality of dedicated building management solutions.

Embracing innovation: the rise of smart buildings and proptech

Building management software has since grown from supporting building and strata managers to supporting the communities they work with. More recently proptech solutions are making it possible to automate building functions too.

Imagine a world where buildings aren’t just static structures but dynamic entities. The kinds of residential sanctuaries that respond intelligently to the needs of their occupants, and the environment, and attract high-value residents who become part of inspiring communities. This is the vision behind the rise of smart buildings. It’s a paradigm shift reshaping the real estate landscape and redefining the role of proptech.

The true power of smart buildings lies in integrating different technologies with a centralised building management system. The building management software serves as the nerve centre. From there, building and strata managers can orchestrate the seamless operation of various smart technologies. From communicating with residents to ensuring all the facilities are running smoothly, proptech allows them to create environments that are not only smarter but also safer, more efficient, and more sustainable.

Innovative solutions like SALTO Systems’ digital access control and GroundFloor Lockers can integrate with propech solutions to revolutionise multi-occupancy buildings. SALTO’s digital access control systems replace traditional keys with smartphone digital access. The instant access and automated expiry of keys enhance security while streamlining access for residents and authorised personnel. Meanwhile, GroundFloor Lockers provide secure and convenient storage solutions, reducing interruptions to building manager’s days and enhancing the overall living or working experience for all residents.

BuildingLink: A case study in proptech excellence

BuildingLink continues to innovate and lead the way to excellence in proptech for Australia. For over two decades, we’ve been at the forefront of revolutionising building management software, offering a comprehensive suite of features designed to streamline operations and enhance the resident—and building or strata manager—experience.

What sets us apart is our unwavering commitment to providing solutions that address the diverse needs of property developers, strata managers, building managers, and residents. We don’t innovate for the sake of it. We create solutions in direct response to our client’s needs. From the get-go, we’ve recognised the importance of security and reliability in property management software. We lead the charge in introducing streamlined solutions. From better communication to branding that supports developers’ projects, our software evolves in response to our users.

Over the years, we’ve advanced from offering basic property management software to developing a sophisticated platform for building operations. It’s a journey that mirrors the broader evolution of proptech in Australia. Each of our iterations incorporates new features and technologies to meet the changing demands of the industry. It’s why our clients love us—and the second-to-none customer service!

Today, our proptech solution encompasses a wide range of functionalities, including maintenance tracking, calendar management, facility bookings, and community-wide communication in over 15 different languages. Everything is accessible from a single, user-friendly portal. What’s more, new integrations with some of the world’s best-of-breed technology providers mean clients can create bespoke technology ecosystems to suit their communities. It’s a change that puts our clients ahead of their competitors. 

Transforming real estate through proptech innovation

The transition from spreadsheets to smart buildings represents a fundamental shift in what we expect our building management software to do for us. It’s an expectation we’re keen to live up to. What began as a reliance on basic spreadsheet solutions has evolved into smart building systems and technology integrations that influence the way we interact with our built environment.

We’ve led the proptech charge for over 20 years. We plan to race even further ahead of the pack in the coming months and years. We’ll be taking our clients and the communities they manage to a brave new world. A world where convenience, connection and kindness are part of their building and daily lives.

Each iteration of our building and community management software will continue to incorporate new features and technologies that exceed the changing demands of our industry. It is truly amazing how far proptech has come in the past two decades. We fully anticipate the next two to be even more mind-blowing. Stick with us for the ride, it’s sure to be a wild one!