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The rise of PropTech: emerging industrial technologies and their impact on real estate

Christopher W. Starr (Supply Chain and Information Management, College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, USA)
Jesse Saginor (Urban and Regional Planning, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA)
Elaine Worzala (Carter Real Estate Center, College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, USA)

Journal of Property Investment & Finance

ISSN: 1463-578X

Article publication date: 16 November 2020

Issue publication date: 10 February 2021




Industry 4.0 recognizes a broad set of technologies that rapidly redefine industry, including real estate. These broad technologies include the Internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, decision automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence. This paper explores applies Industry 4.0 to commercial real estate, resulting in a framework defined here as Real Estate 4.0, a concept that encompasses fintech and proptech.


This research paper examines Industry 4.0 technology to construct a framework for Real Estate 4.0. We also focus on how the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating proptech, particularly as it relates to getting employees back into their traditional work environments.


As a research paper, this is not a traditional research project with empirical findings. It is a primer on how the rapidly changing technologies of Industry 4.0 are now disrupting and transforming real estate today into what we are calling Real Estate 4.0.

Practical implications

Practitioner insight and future research are informed by a framework for Real Estate 4.0 drawn from the technologies of Industry 4.0. Additional implications are outlined for practical, systemic change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic within the scope of Real Estate 4.0 technology.


This is a combined effort by experts in three contributing disciplines: systems science, planning and real estate. Our intent is to provide a primer for those of us in the latter two fields so that we can embrace the rapidly changing built environment landscape as it adjusts and adapts to a post COVID-19 environment that will be critical to maintain real estate investment values and enhance the real estate user's experience.



This paper forms part of a special section “PropTech and Entrepreneurship - Innovation in Real Estate II”, guest edited by Dr Larry Wofford, Dr David Wyman, Dr Elaine Worzala.


Starr, C.W., Saginor, J. and Worzala, E. (2021), "The rise of PropTech: emerging industrial technologies and their impact on real estate", Journal of Property Investment & Finance, Vol. 39 No. 2, pp. 157-169.



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