Platforms as digital infrastructure and a marketplace
In this model, platforms serve as digital infrastructure and often as an intermediary as well, enabling and facilitating the interaction between two or more groups: customers (tenants, buyers, sellers), service providers and suppliers (facility management, property management, asset management, etc.) and physical objects (smart devices from the internet of things).
The data generated during these interactions are generally only available to the platform operator. Google, for example, has based its entire business model on such data. An important source of income for platforms often comes from transaction and commission fees, which are paid by producers and consumers to the operator of the platform as compensation for being able to find one another.
The key features of successful platforms include quick and easy access for all users as well as the immediate availability of an extensive offering on both the supply and the demand sides. Platforms benefit from positive network effects: upon reaching a critical mass, participant willingness to pay and participate increases exponentially as the number of users on the platform rises. This implies that the demand of a user is dependent on the demand of other users.
And this is precisely the difficulty when developing platform business models: creating supply and demand, and achieving a critical mass of active users on both sides. This is exactly the case with real estate transaction platforms for the institutional real estate industry. What can be done to achieve the necessary critical mass? One important element for keeping users on a platform involves a wide variety of lock-in effects, which make it very difficult, for example, to switch from one social network to another.