One might be hard-pressed to say exactly what the term “proptech” means, even though it has already infiltrated our modern lives. Companies like Zillow and Airbnb are the biggest examples of proptech, while homeowners might also be well acquainted with Rightmove and Zoopla. Simply put, proptech merely means utilizing technology to drive greater efficiencies in real estate, be it in improved asset returns, reduced issues, and greater transparency for buyers and sellers.
But as anyone who has ever bought a home or business property knows, there are many variables to account for and factors to juggle: what is the incremental value of an extra bedroom, central air conditioning, a parking space, a scenic view, and other attributes of the property? Now, imagine that you’re the real estate platform hosting all of these properties, trying to provide the most up-to-date data possible for your customers as new data continually streams in. And it streams in every few minutes, every single day.
“The problem we’re really trying to solve is matching all this data across all our different data sources,” - Data Engineer, Proptech
Across the industry, the most popular way to match property data is with street addresses. This seems simple enough, except for one small but crucial issue: address matching is really hard and not foolproof. Even with the many open source tools available, the best-performing application tops out at around 80% accuracy. One company explored a lot of open source tools, as well as a mix of these tools with their own in-house engineering logic, but soon realized that nothing on the market performed exactly how they wanted or had the right use case:
“It's that last 10-20% match rate that you really want to get - we were trying to solve this with a simpler way to match addresses and have better overall performance." - Data Engineer, Proptech
That was when the company took a closer look at Placekey. “Placekey is the closest we've come to an open source tool that just handles the use case without additional logic on top of it to make it work. With the Placekey API, it’s not just matching the addresses, it's also having a unique identifier for an address that's really useful to us.”
Placekey allowed this team to focus on the bigger picture. And as they began to integrate data with the Placekey API, they realized another great attribute: “It's just really simple to use. It reduces the complexity a lot to have a unique key for an address. If I want to match addresses, I just do a join in SQL and that's it. I don't have to worry about generating that unique cadence a whole extra step.”
When the platform is incrementally processing data and responsible for hundreds of millions of property records, simplifying the process of tieing and uniquely identifying addresses becomes crucial to staying ahead of the market. With hundreds of thousands of new records being uploaded daily, one of the biggest challenges facing many proptech firms is batch processing while also integrating new data into existing databases.
Placekey’s open standard identifier helps resolve address matching problems and simplifies data integration for data teams working with property information - and its availability via an API and a bulk append process via s3 allow data engineering teams to integrate it seamlessly.
“Our data engineering team was like, ‘is this finally the solution to this thing we've been struggling with for months?’We were really excited to find Placekey.” Data Engineer - Proptech