It’s about people, stupid!

A shift from technology to people to create a better life

Propteq 2018 - It's about People, stupid

Propteq 2018

London 2018. This is the second time I visited the Propteq event. To summarize my overall impressions; great location, interesting topics, a positive atmosphere, many new and familiar faces. This year more than 270 people from 37 countries participated in 16 sessions. PropTech is definitely trending.

It proved to be quite challenging to choose from all the interesting sessions. I took part in the following three:

  1. Innovating Corporate Real Estate: From Strategy to Execution
  2. AI: How to develop an intelligent strategy
  3. The Future Workplace: Real Estate Re-imagined

After each session, I took the liberty to invite one interesting participant for a spontaneous interview. I would hereby like to thank them for their willingness to share their insights:  

Location, location, and People

Last year we talked about topics like process optimization, decision making, Real estate as a  Service (RaaS) and smart buildings from a facility management perspective. This year the dialogues were totally different!

The first session kicked off with the question: why we have to innovate? We have to innovate or die. Because things are changing faster than ever. And these are no empty words. Client behavior is changing rapidly, they not only want different things, they have high expectations. A growing number is an experienced user of smart home technology and IoT services. They know how to employ technology to serve needs and desires they didn’t even know they had. One size does not fit all. Now that ‘intelligent spaces’ are becoming the norm, Real Estate needs to create spaces where people want to go and stay. A smart building is more than bricks and bits. They empower cultures and brands. Buildings have to facilitate our activities. Are we moving forward to ultra-adaptive buildings (like Barbapapa buildings?).

Let’s regard a building as an adaptive ‘system’. The level of its adaptivity relies on its knowledge of its users. For this, it needs as much user data as possible and the capacity to convert that into relevant feedback. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and IoT technology are charging that capacity and the opportunities are endless. Yet there are all sorts of different and diverging, scientific views about the impact of AI technology and the speed at which it develops. Does the development of AI require governance? And if so who should govern it and how? What struck me was that no attention was paid to a highly related topic: GDPR.  During our last PropTechNL meetup on February 14th, hosted by our partner Dentons Boekel, GDPR, security, and ethics were topics that clearly raised a lot of questions and challenges which need to be answered on short notice. Topics that will be addressed next year? Wouldn’t that be a bit late? What do you think?

The ratio between the operational costs of a business are typically 1% energy, 9% rental and 90% staff/human resources. It would seem obvious which changes result in the highest impact. Would you rather reduce your energy costs by 1%, increase your productivity by 1% or decrease your sickness absence by 1%  by creating a happy building for happy people? Most young PropTech companies focus on facility department and ‘climb up’ to the Real Estate department. But users in different contexts have different wishes and needs. We need a human-centric approach. (not by people always!) Technology can help us with that. Algorithms that are designed to empower smart, adaptive and happy buildings offer promising opportunities to create a much better, healthy, efficient built environment. It might take some time for these technologies to mature and its governance to take form, but its impact is already showing up. What’s your approach to add value to your clients and living environment?


I see some major shifts during the dialogues and discussions:

  •   From Push buildings to Pull needs;
  •   From Facility Management and Real Estate to Human Resources;
  •   From Smart to Healthy buildings;
  •   From PropTech startups to Added (Shared) Value;
  •   From Building to Living environment.

As PropTechNL we endorse these shifts. We have to Rethink Real Estate to create a better life.  We can’t do it alone or with the traditional real estate companies. We need diversity and cross-overs. So, for me, it remains valuable to share insights with each other from different perspectives. Sharing is caring! Please, share your insights below.

Adam Penkala, co-founder @ Velis – Real Estate Technology Solutions

Chrissie Lightfoot, CEO @ Robot Lawyer LISA

Alex Storey, UK Country director & Head of Partnerships @ Disruptive Technologies

4 antwoorden

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] It’s about people, Stupid! – From PropTechNL, a nice little write-up of the recent Propteq event in London. […]

  2. […] than 270 people from 37 countries participated in 16 sessions. PropTech is definitely trending. Originally published on 18th February at Click here to read more. […]

  3. […] Read a review of the PropTeq event here from Menno, one of our friends from Holland. […]

  4. […] Read a review of the PropTeq event here from Menno, one of our friends from Holland. […]

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