“Applying the wow of PropTech out there into the built-environment”

Jonathan Yach mRICS
July 2020

The converging of two worlds – real estate and technology: the tomorrow-world of applied PropTech
The PropTech economy is the confluence of two great bastions of investment and enterprise: technology and the real estate industries. It touches everything in society, from how we work, live, and play to our investment decisions. Even before the onset of the Covid19 Crisis, real estate practitioners were enthusiastically engaging with and applying the broader principles of technology to benefit their built environment assets.
What the Covid19 Crisis has done is to accelerate the adoption PropTech elements:

– ‘contactless and touchless’ designs and technologies.
Where?: elevators, bathrooms, office access and egress systems, parking access, public transport hubs (including airports), payment portals within retail stores, online delivery protocols, app-based service tools (municipal services and payment, for instance), security-related checks and routings.

– insertable devices (insertable devices – insertable devices and trackers into the human body and into mobile devices).
Where?: quick-access-and-secure entry and egress systems, assured access to BIMs and other secure areas, trackers in mobile phones and in insertable devices.

– melding ‘gadgets’ with ‘data science’, creating graphical pictures of use and value.
WHY?: Most traditional property managers don’t yet understand the value of the data and are still oriented towards the gadgets that provide the data; traditionally, its easier to negotiate the purchase of a shopping mall footfall system than to describe to the vendors what needs to be measured. This shortcoming means that too much capital is wasted in the procurement and installation of devices and gadgets that age and thus become obsolescent. The new PropTech real estate practitioner appreciates that device-types are agnostic so long as the data answers the operational questions being asked.

– exposing valuable insights where utility savings and reduced carbon footprint considerations can be applied.
HOW?: by tracking the data, valuable insights can be gleaned about building performance, cost reduction and income optimisation, overall reduction in utilities (without thwarting building operations and impinging on performance)

-introducing a culture of ‘attenuator’ rather than ‘sensor’ – PropTech makes buildings smarter.
HOW:? Sensors are quite ‘old school’ in that they respond to a fixed set of circumstances and rules. Attenuators however have sufficient code and instruction within them to react to a set of circumstances and to autonomously effect changes that return systems and conditions to their ‘normal’ condition; in adopting an ‘attenuator’ culture, property owners are able to reduce human inference and are able to speed up situational responses.

I am reminded of the New Yorker cartoon with a man and a dog and in caption, written on the sign in the wall ”the Man is there to feed the dog; the dog is there to ensure that the man does not touch the computer”!

The “Wow’ factor for me was to see just how quickly these technological interventions could be adopted and applied!