Steve Smith

Pixel MD, Steve Smith, speaks at Homes for Scotland annual conference on innovation and technology in property

How is the housing industry in Scotland embracing digital technology?

Technology is poised to change the housing industry beyond recognition but Pixel is at home in the future.

There is little doubt that consumer habits and expectations have changed dramatically in recent years with the massive impact of technology.

Whether it’s travel, food, cars or fashion, almost every consumer-facing industry, and a growing number of business-to-business organisations, have had to change the way they communicate with today’s tech-savvy buyers to future-proof their business and embrace the disruption in their markets. Companies once dominant in their sector like Nokia and Blockbuster saw massive shifts with the advent of Apple and Netflix.

Now it is the property industry’s turn for disruption as consumers today conduct their own research online before making a buying decision; as Google first coined the phrase the “Zero Moment of Truth” (ZMOT) back in 2011.

Home buyers are also consumers of products and services from other industries, many of which have adapted to accommodate these changes in consumer behavior. But what about the property industry? When we consider that buying a new home is one of the largest purchases most people will ever make, the information available to them is no more than it was 10 or even 20 years ago.

As an established property technology company with more than 20 years’ experience in the industry creating three-dimensional (3D) visual content, interactive choice selector systems and online virtual reality tours, Pixel has completed more than 2,500 property projects worldwide. With such in depth sector knowledge, we have strong views on the need for the housing industry to better align itself with the home buyer’s online journey. By investing more in digital technology and meeting the online consumer’s needs and expectations as other industries are already doing, the property industry and buyers can significantly benefit.

As a company based in Scotland with an overseas production centre, we see the huge growth potential across Scotland’s burgeoning digital technology sector and are passionate about playing our part as an established proptech to support the changes needed. Pixel’s biggest challenge, along with securing the right investment partner, is educating the housing market about the changes technology is bringing to an industry that has seen very little change, and one which has so much to benefit from embracing a more dynamic digital approach.

CGIWith investment into proptech continuing to increase from £250m in 2015 to an estimated £3.2b globally in 2017, we are starting to see a willingness amongst the more progressive house builders that recognise the need to embrace and reap the benefits of digital technology.

As Pixel boldly highlighted on the innovation and technology panel discussion at this year’s Homes for Scotland annual conference, such rapid investment points to a global disruptive shift happening across the property industry, changing every aspect of it from the ground up. The main benefactors will be the home buyer or renter but also those development and investment companies that embrace these technological advancements. To not embrace and invest in this change, runs the risk of suffering the fate of companies once dominant in their market, now in sharp decline.

The change this level of investment heralds will be positive and long overdue and in so doing will also have a positive knock-on effect across Scotland’s digital technology sector.

A great example of this is Pixel’s partnership with Springfield Properties as it continues to focus on the accelerated delivery of much-needed affordable housing across Scotland, most notably the building of 3,000 homes at Bertha Park, Perth. Recognising the importance and benefits of embracing digital technology, it has recently launched the “Choices Selector”, an intuitive image-based specification and selector system that can display thousands of possible finish combinations throughout the home, before construction even begins.

We see huge potential in the UK housing market and believe we can almost double the demand for essential new homes within a year of national launch with our forthcoming interactive systems. With our tech development centre in our India office and business development and account management in Edinburgh, Pixel is well place to expand throughout the UK and globally in 2018.

Currently in discussions with investors, Pixel has an eye to the future and global expansion and is seeking partners that share it’s vision.

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