MIPIM 2019 in Cannes offered a great meeting point for architects, investors, developers, technology and service providers to come together to discuss the latest trends in the building industry. PropTech is increasingly becoming a hot topic and MIPIM 2019 was no exception.
The PropTech evolution has been classified by The World Economic Forum (JLL CEO Asia via WEF) into three major categories:
PropTech 1.0: Emerging offerings around online listing sites for residential property (2007)
PropTech 2.0: New services based on data analytics (2013)
PropTech 3.0: New players focusing on emerging technology such as drones, VR and AR as well as blockchain (2014 onwards)
What we see now also in the discussions had in MIPIM is the evolution into PropTech 4.0 where focus shifts from experimentation with technology back to the basics: what is the value that can be created and the use cases that should be solved?
Technology in itself holds no value unless it is adopted by its users and same applies to PropTech, which is currently probably at the height of its hype curve. It is certainly not technology that disrupts markets, but customer adoption. With these thoughts in mind it is time to start disrupting also the slow-moving building industry.
What become the defining factors of success is not technology features or even integration capabilities, but instead the use cases that these emerging or existing technologies enable us to solve. Whether the impact is on building experience, operational efficiency or society itself, one fact is the same: smart buildings are no longer physical structures with a stack of tech deployed. Instead, they are interfaces between the people and the processes and services within, and their role is to be an active contributor instead of a rigid frame. It is all about outcome economy.
If we talk about smart office buildings, for example, buildings play an integral role in employee experience. Buildings are a platform for innovation – enabling activity-based working, community building, well-being and collaboration. Whatever PropTech lies behind is secondary. Because we have seen plenty of examples of ‘smart’ buildings crammed with the latest, greatest tech but where the definition of use cases for same has fallen flat. What one ends up with is simply a giant data dump and an investment with a debatable return.
PropTech deployments should therefore always be deployed in line with business strategy, culture and organizational KPIs. In an office space, focusing on increasing the productivity and happiness of employees while optimizing space and operational efficiency is key. It is about finding a holistic approach to define ‘smart’ and ensuring the tech deployed is scalable across buildings, businesses and time spans. This is where value in the light of PropTech 4.0 is created.