PropTech Perspective Days 2021 took place from the 20th to the 24th of September 2021. To the event, which has been organized by Sofia Locks, took place many leading figures of the Italian real estate market, who illustrated the pros and cons of digital innovation in the real estate.
Had we to choose a single idea from all of those illustrated during the PropTech Perspective Days, it would be the speed. This year’s theme was "the pros and cons of digital innovation in real estate", and the speed with which technological solutions are running towards a new future for the real estate market holds opportunities and challenges.
All the guests have underlined that the core of different aspects, like the new offer of services, the sustainability of buildings, the connectivity, the smart working, the return to the offices, the models of flexible living, and many other...the heart of all is the innovative energy that comes from digital technology.
Digitalization is not only important, it is essential. It is no more a plus that should be added, but it is fundamental in every product and service strategy.
Francesca Pinzone, Head of Marketing and Digital @ Svicom
New opportunities have been created, but there are also new problems that have to be faced. The knowledge required to implement new real estate solutions increases, and this includes both traditional and service aspects. Design, technological choices, marketing, and customer relationship are just some of the aspects that have completely revolutionized the industry. Even in real estate a cultural revolution is going on.
Ours is a young market, it’s a strong growth market, with 25% more start-ups born in the last year. But there is still no culture of technology: a culture that must start from the idea of the project to the tenant’s management.
Silvia Piacentini, technical Director @ Arexpo
On these features new competition plans are developed, no longer just the classical location, but innovative access models, services, and collaboration between the subjects involved. The market is accustomed to innovative solutions: the younger workforce expects companies to offer comfortable and interactive workspaces; those looking for a housing solution value what are the accessory characteristics and which is the social aspect of the offer. The market demand pushes the evaluation criteria of the tenants towards more articulated offers, really news for the real estate market. And we cannot fail to mention the power of smart working, which not only has questioned the calculations of square meters required by companies for workstations. From coworkings to working spaces at home, until the new concept of social life with housing complexes which offer areas of common access, in the last two years all this has been transformed from design solutions to offers that mark more and more the trend of the market.
Even the properties on the market are now in competition, the most performing building, with most services offered, is more and more interesting for the tenant. At this moment, it is necessary a partnership between the tenant and the landlord, as there is a shared interest on both sides. The tenant wants to bring people back to the office and attract new talents. While the landlord needs to attract the attention of the tenant, by offering extra services that go beyond the meeting rooms of the past. Even considering the digital experience.
Federica Pedroni, Head of Workplace @ CBRE
The fundamental choice criteria, the location, maintains its importance but it is in competition with new valuation criteria. All the guests of PropTech Perspective Days have underlined that we are facing a period of great excitement, but also that there is still uncertainty in taking some choices. While the doubts due to the economic situation are diminishing in the face of new positive indicators , there remains an important step towards to do, in the acquisition of knowledge, and professional figures suitable for the imminent digital revolution. In this context, technological partners play a key role when they are able to bring not only technological solutions but also to establish a collaboration with all the subjects involved in the realization of a real estate project.
Once the tenant hardly got into the matter of access control. Today it is changing, many tenants ask what kind of plant will be implemented, and want to interact and create a common plant. This is new to us, but we are facing it very well, now we implement a sophisticated access control system everywhere, in the elevators, halls...with the App for reservation and WiFi insertion, which is now a fundamental component.
Alessandro Rendina, Portfolio Manager @ Savills IM SGR
Therefore, there are new challenges, in which it is necessary to make strategic decisions on elements that once were not part of the design, and now have a fundamental role. One technological solution doesn't worth the other, and it is necessary to know the differences and peculiarities, in a context in which the system design has more weight in terms of expenditure but also the success of the real estate project. Buildings have a new digital dimension, which changes the relationship between landlord, tenant, and user. As we have seen, it changes the demand that drives landlords and tenants to compete on products more fragmented, but with higher quality. On the other hand, a flexible offer is born, which allows you to attract a different audience and make the most out of areas that once were considered too peripheral.
An experience must be customized not only on the basis of the building but also on the type of area. If we decide that within a building in Via Tortona we offer a series of services by creating an effective technological tool for that type of building, the same cannot be exported to Bovisa or Affori, because we will have a target with different needs. It is necessary to be familiar with the area, and have flexible designer partners, that should think about which services are really needed.
Luisa Crupi, COO @ Abitare Co
The team around the design or revaluation of a modern building must be versatile. The new model of space commercialization considers aspects that go beyond what was required in the real estate market of the past. The hybridization between product and service brings real estate marketing closer to that of sectors in which the attention to the end-user makes the difference. The employees of one or more companies, the residents of an apartment building or a neighborhood, are now a community. An organic reality towards which the commercialization of products goes through new ways of communication and the satisfaction can only be granted through the phygital paradigm, the right mix of digital and physical which permeates modern life.
I addition to services, also the building of a community, which is enabled by technology, is fundamental for these projects. If I have a person in charge of building a start-up community and dealing with 1500 people, a technological system is the only tool to enable it. It is necessary a neighborhood or condominium application that connects the people who live within that context.
Alessandro Boscarini, COO @ Borio Mangiarotti
Companies are already facing this situation. New realities and projects are born (for example Wellio, to mention a project with which Sofia Locks collaborates), and the best market players have already shown how it is possible to create new value and respond effectively to periods of uncertainty. The city of Milan can be seen as a laboratory, as our guests have told us. Different experiences, but all with the same aim of searching for innovative solutions, in recognizing the human side of technology, and the desire of people to find the support of technology in everyday life.
Until now, our management part was more on real estate, so property management, facility, and also project...are more oriented to the property, to the more efficient use of the building. Today, however, our attention is more oriented toward the person. With the new paradigm of the real estate market, even investors have changed their approach. For us, the big innovation will be on the human side. Tenant care will be a great innovation area, to maximize the level of employment.
Raffaella Pinto, Head of Business Dev. @ Cushman & Wakefield
Technology is no more something far away and hidden. Today technology is an interface, next to people, whether they are users, decision makers, facilitators. From interaction to data reading, technology changes spaces or adds a new dimension in which people can move. These talks have taught us to refuse the contrast between technology and human presence. The period of forced distance that we had to face has shown us how technology is not a divisive factor, as some believed. People have moved away from central offices, but instead of moving away, people have come together in new communities: coliving, coworking, cohousing, smart neighborhoods, ...
Today, we are talking about creating a CRM, to analyze what services users want inside the building. Analyze big data, to see what preferences there are in terms of services, the most used spaces, the correct size of a specific space: how big must be the gym of a given building? Or how much space for a parcel store? All these answers are not only given by the creativity of the architect but must also be based on statistics, on data, on what actually happens.
Giovanni Maria Mancini, Founder & CEO @ Top Life Concierge
Beyond uncertainties, our guests have outlined a fairly clear future, in which technology and people proceed hands by hands to better understand how to meet human needs. In the future, the ones who will make the difference should be able to combine physical and digital with the intelligence of a human approach. For this reason, we, as well as our guests, look for high-value partnerships. Sofia Locks provides all its technological knowledge and its privileged point of the market. These were the Proptech Perspective Days of 2021, an exceptional overview of real estate thanks to the guests and their willingness to share experiences and synergies to respond to a market that demands human innovation.
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The program of the event
Pros and cons of the digital revolution in the real estate (in Italian)
with: Silvia Piacentini, Technical Director Arexpo, Francesca Pinzone, Head of Marketing & Digital Svicom
Designing the real estate market of the future: technology as an enabling factor (in Italian)
with: Federica Pedroni, Head of Workplace CBRE, Alessandro Rendina, Portfolio Manager Savills Investment Management
Coliving and cohousing: sustainability, scalability, and sharing (in Italian)
with: Luisa Crupi, COO Abitare Co, Alessandro Boscarini, COO Borio Mangiarotti
Live digital: the value of services in the real estate (in Italian)
with: Raffaella Pinto, Head of Business Development Cushman & Wakefield, Giovanni Maria Mancini, Founder & CEO TopLife Concierge