Blog | REAL PropTech Berlin 2019: Charting a Course Forward for Real Estate

The autumn signals the start to a series of real estate and PropTech focused conferences such as Connect & Construct Summit Amsterdam, REAL PropTech Berlin, EXPO Real and MIPIM PropTech Asia. The first one we at Global PropTech attended was the REAL PropTech 2019 in Berlin on the fifth of September. This conference was attended by a diverse range of PropTech firms, real estate investors and developers and a few facility and workplace services firms. This one day event was packed with a series of key note speeches and panel discussions on topics as diverse as Changing the Built Environment, Boosting Employee Experience and the VC perspective – and of course lots of networking!

 From our perspective, there were four large themes on the current state of PropTech that were integrated through many of the discussions during the day.

First, a low sense of urgency for real estate firms to adopt PropTech solutions has resulted in slow implementation growth. Both internal and external factors have an impact on the perception of urgency. External regulations, such as energy efficiency directives, are not sufficiently restrictive enough to increase investments in solutions such as R8tech’s predictive maintenance solution. In addition many medium and large organizations are adopting agile workplaces slowly. Change doesn’t occur overnight for these firms, but it does happen. Real estate firms that are not staying ahead of client organizational changes may find themselves scrambling to catch up.

Second, implementing solutions across a diverse portfolio is a daunting task. No two buildings are the same. This means that each new building will require project teams to almost start from scratch each time. Not a comforting thought for those who would hope the process would get more efficient with each new deployment. This is complicated even more if a building portfolio is spread across multiple regions. However, each new deployment will improve the project team’s understanding of the process and what questions they should be asking of vendors and building managers. This level of process improvement and best practice integration will help to reduce the time to deploy with each new solution install.

 Third, a diverse group of large industry firms are taking the initiative and actively fighting against becoming the next KODAK. Instead of waiting for technology to make them irrelevant, firms such as construction giant Rhomberg and services firm HB Reavis are investing to internally launch their own PropTech solutions. CREE by Rhomberg is a BIM-based construction platform that supports the rapid construction, operation and management of hybrid timber high-rise buildings. HB Reavis has developed its Symbiosy workplace solution for deploying among its clients and external organizations.

Fourth, collaboration will be key to growth in PropTech. Given the diversity in building operations and the needs of firms, it will be difficult for a single PropTech firm to provide a solution to meet all of the needs of corporates. Some real estate firms and investors search for best-in-class PropTech solutions that excel at solving a single problem well. Successful PropTech start-ups focus on providing a single core solution such as realxdata’s analytics or they develop a middleware platform to collect data and make it available for third party development. In any event, PropTech firms need to have a clear understanding as to how they will help real estate firms to reach their strategic milestones. And they need to communicate that value to the industry.

This conference resonated with our Global PropTech team as our core mission is to help real estate, building services and PropTech firms to effectively form business partnerships, collaborate and to share best practices. If you are a real estate, building services or PropTech firm, please do get in touch to understand how we can support your business.

This blog was written by Derrek Clarke, International Memberships at Global PropTech after visiting REAL PropTech Berlin 2019 on September 5.



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