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PropTech - implications for
comme what I’ve done to other industries, and I’m really excited about what we can achieve.” Mark and Wondrwall are transforming our homes, but what are Manchester’s property tycoons’ thoughts on introducing technology to their spaces?
by Mel Hill A packed-out room at Rider Levett Bucknall welcomed pro-manchester’s latest PropTech event, focusing on how technology is impacting the property offering in Manchester. Everywhere you look technology surrounds us. Whether this is in your car, at home or simply just your mobile phone, the world in 2018 relies on technology and being connected. PropTech is defined as part of a wider digital transformation in the property industry. It considers the technological and mental change of the real estate industry and it’s consumers and the change to our attitudes, movements and transactions with buildings and cities. Across the world today, there are entrepreneurs creating new technologies to change the way we use spaces, especially in commercial properties. At the beginning of September,
pro-manchester gathered some of Manchester’s leading experts to discuss how technology is set to impact the property industry in the city. Chaired by Joe Averill, who does transactions and asset management for OBI Property, the event welcomed: Jessica Bowles – Strategy Director, Bruntwood; Tim Ryan – Partner, DAC Beachcroft; Mark Lufkin – Chief Commercial Officer, Wondrwall and Doug Ward – Founder, Telcom and Node. Connectivity and the internet are as important as utilities for businesses now. With the rise of FinTech, EduTech and now PropTech, it is clear that technology is paving the way for drastic changes in sectors which have always followed a more traditional approach. Our panellists believe it cannot be argued enough that technology will be the single biggest change to happen to the property sector in generations.
Mark Lufkin, Chief Commercial Officer at Wondrwall, a technology disruptor aiming to make our homes smarter, previously worked on bringing technology to the automotive industry. “I started working in Germany and worked out how to bring technology into cars 30 years ago. When I started, it was completely normal that we wound the windows down and had no stereo in our cars. This just wouldn’t be acceptable if you were purchasing now. “These days, cars take care of you. They are designed to keep you safe and secure and are about to start driving themselves. “I look at a house on the other hand, and there’s nothing. When I moved into my home, there were simple changes that needed to be made; like USB ports to charge our phones. “We’re not doing much in changing the way we build homes. I’ve been brought in to change this and apply
Jessica Bowles, Bruntwood says: “I think technology is going to transform the relationship between the building owners and its occupants and this is going to be democratised. As a property owner and developer, we’ll be able to do a lot more things a lot more efficiently. “What I’m interested in is how cities are growing and changing. Technology is changing all of our lives and that’s no different in the property sector. At Bruntwood, we’re thinking less about the 112 buildings we have, and more about who’s in our buildings and how they are using them.” A fascinating insight into how Bruntwood now sees more potential in ensuring its tenants have great spaces, rather than expanding its portfolio. It is believed that by 2030, at least 30 percent of the average portfolio will comprise of flexible space. This is a huge shift and investors and property owners will need to adjust with this shift. Jessica continues: “Our core business has always been refurbishing. What we’re now seeing is people being prepared to pay more for a product that gives them an opportunity to interact with other businesses. “This all tracks back to talent – the biggest
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