PropTech’s New Frontier: Why Commercial Real Estate Companies Are Partnering to Increase Industry-Wide Data Access, Standardization

Guest post by Bhaskar Maddala, Vice President of Engineering, Reonomy

The digital revolution has disrupted a myriad of industries, and commercial real estate (CRE) is certainly no exception. In the last few years, property technology, or PropTech, has transformed the market considerably, reimagining the way companies and consumers conduct business.

Data standardization, however, remains static. Though the industry is allegedly keen on data and analytics, CRE has yet to adopt a single, uniform method of asset identification. Since joining Reonomy, I’ve heard countless lamentations from commercial real estate professionals who struggle time and time again to find valid property information. Whether it’s because systems know assets by multiple identities or because addresses are manually recorded incorrectly, information is rarely served up in an easy, reliable fashion.

The commercial real estate industry also has not fostered an environment collaborative or transparent enough for real estate professionals to share and search for such records. Consequently, the sector continues to stumble where efficiency is concerned; individuals and organizations are hard-pressed to consolidate documentation when parcels have such diverse representation. For enterprises, in particular, data remains fragmented and siloed, resulting in disparate records and redundancies that ultimately prohibit bottom line growth.

Enter the new era of PropTech — one that’s reprioritizing the need for industry-wide data access and standardization through cross-collaboration and transparency. To close this gap, companies, like Reonomy, are joining forces in an effort to unite the market and offer a long-term alternative to how intel is collected, verified, stored and shared. These data partnerships are the first step towards tackling the market’s need for simpler data aggregation and entity resolution.

Considering the ever-changing nature of the market, businesses are acting fast; we’ve already taken action with Baya. As a real estate data and software provider, we leverage machine-learning to stitch together, organize and standardize records on more than 50 million properties across the United States. Since our inception in 2013, we’ve created a universal language to enhance data sanctity and entity resolution — a genome, if you will — known as the Reonomy ID.

Given the numerous ways properties can be identified, represented and misinterpreted by systems, the Reonomy ID acts as a key in linking all commercial real estate records. This same technology, which serves as the foundation in our software and data solutions, allows enterprises to integrate Reonomy’s data with their own internal systems, all while maintaining custody of their information.

Now Baya, the global commercial real estate platform utilizing blockchain technology to increase transparency surrounding leasing transactions, is leveraging our unique identifier for better aggregation. Baya, which is also the brainchild of Knotel’s CEO, Amol Sarva, acknowledged the market’s challenges in data collection and sharing. The company has set out to create the market’s first shared ecosystem of leasing information and transactional records. Despite their efforts to realize this vision, a roadblock consistently reappeared — the incongruence between property identification and data uniformity. That’s when we were tapped to assist. With the Reonomy ID, Baya’s platform is now able to cleanse, match, and stitch property records together across proprietary and third-party datasets.

Together, we’re endeavoring to revolutionize commercial real estate and provide the industry the answer it’s been seeking for better data aggregation. Without it, there’s too much at stake. For industry professionals, invalid, disparate data leads to missed opportunities holistic data can prevent. At the organizational level, the threat is even more menacing, as contrasting asset records makes it more tedious to validate and integrate without the right systems in place. This alliance reinforces our goal of giving the CRE industry a universal language to “speak,” while providing Baya’s platform with an infallible way to assemble information on properties, availabilities, comps and market research.

Our partnership puts a stake in the ground for industry-wide accessibility and entity resolution, and its likely other companies will follow suit. Data validation is a longstanding issue with multiple moving parts, and cross-collaboration provides levels of support, technology and new solutions to an age-old problem competition simply cannot. In all, this momentum is moving the needle for transparency across the industry, and will surely continue as more businesses address the overdue need for best-in-class accessibility and aggregation. While the industry still has a ways to go, such alliances, in my opinion, are certainly a proactive step forward.


Bhaskar Maddala is the vice president of engineering at Reonomy. Maddala will be speaking at the upcoming CREtech Future: Boston event. Join him at the conference on Wednesday, April 10th.

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