PropTech is transforming the real estate world. Residential was the early adopter, pioneered by fast growing Rightmove and Zoopla. The office industry swiftly followed with smart buildings offering landlords and tenants the ability to control temperature, lighting, air conditioning and utilities, as well as access concierge style services at the touch of a button.

Industrial workspace is now benefiting from technological transformation. More than digitalisation of real estate and cloud computing, it is putting customer experience at its heart, as well as adding value to the investor.

With augmented reality, the prospective occupier can view their property from the comfort of their chair helping to shortlist their real estate move. It provides the consumer with the instant gratification they demand; whether it is the ability to pay a bill or enquire about a new business property at 10pm on a Sunday. 

The challenge for the property sector is how quickly they adapt to the technology available.

NSM saw the opportunity PropTech offered and swiftly acted, recognising that data is undoubtedly the biggest gamechanger.

Two years ago, we engaged a technology partner to create a system that could provide property owners and tenants’ satisfaction around the clock.

From a 24/7 personal call answering service that will help to arrange a tenant viewing at a time to suit, or enabling a director to see a full video fly through of each available property to helping a property owner see all data dashboards on each property at a glance.

Conversion rates, query resolution, transaction pipeline for new enquiries and renewals, lease completion to billing speeds, at the click of a button, SpaceMan stores and shares all available data on each property and automatically updates the website to keep it live.

Originally designed to make the team more efficient, SpaceMan takes the tenant on a journey from enquiry to viewing, heads of terms to lease completion and, following occupation, manages the lifecycle of the lease.

With paper files minimalised to documents needing signed in pen, all on-going property management and tenant liaison is a one-stop-shop. NSM has also adopted Office 365 for all document storage, which will be integrated into SpaceMan along with Outlook so all communications are fully assimilated.

Nicky Jones, our Managing Director at NSM, explains:

“Some five years ago we recognised that the amount of paperwork duplication and postal time lag were dramatically delaying new tenant occupations. It was in danger of damaging customer relations. I employed one person to simply chase paper and regularly carried suitcases of paperwork!

“After much searching, we discovered there wasn’t a system in existence that could provide the technology we needed and set about employing a partner to design what soon became SpaceMan. 

“It is an incredibly transparent system. At the touch of a button, the landlord or asset manager accesses a dashboard to show at a glance how well each building or portfolio is performing. In depth data from vacancy levels, marketing success to tracking lease lengths, incentives, void periods and trends within the portfolio are all available to view.”

We have built in controls that are unique to each property owner’s requirements with safeguards to meet each businesses’ specific needs. This provides further time efficiencies by enabling instant decision making. With parameters already installed in terms of each unit’s income requirements, all of our property managers are able to negotiate rent length, deal and incentive terms, with automatic approvals enabling the system to generate Heads of Terms on the day of the site viewing.

SpaceMan works on a cloud based platform so instead of carrying suitcases of paper, the team now only carry a mobile phone. Instantly updated, the platform sharing ensures any member of the team is equipped to deal with any landlord or tenant enquiry and it is kept 100% up to the minute with new automatic software updates.

As a self-built system, SpaceMan also enables us to design in new solutions to keep up with the evolution of property management. Bolt on products to auto generate documents have been integrated such as Docu-sign  which is already in use for approvals and ready to go live when the property legal world one day accepts electronic signatures on Deed’s, eventually catching up to the innovations in proptech.

NSM have also built additional functionality into SpaceMan since it went live in 2017, with the addition of dilapidation reporting and is currently reviewing the addition of a facilities management platform, helping SpaceMan to truly capture all of the customer journey from beginning to end, providing a unique seamless, cost and time efficient system.

Nicky is passionate about SpaceMan, she says:

This innovation has been one of the best investments our property management business has ever made. Not only in terms of the time efficiencies, but it also helps me to track our own performance in terms of marketing channel success and conversion rates so that I can make decisions about where best to invest our marketing spend for example.

“It has undoubtedly provided NSM with a unique selling point; the transparency, control and ability to see at the touch of a button at any time how your property is being managed is certainly helping us to stand out from the crowd which is helping to expand our management service across the north.”

Within the industrial property arena, NSM is clearly an early PropTech adopter. Without an off the peg solution it has created an ever-evolving, digitised solution that is transforming the way occupiers and owners experience industrial space, delivering added value.