Real Estate Tech is to the property sector what Fintech is to finance and Edtech to education. Tech-fueled solutions are slowly revolutionising the way real estate professionals work and manage their assets.
Here is an overview of the main innovations in France and abroad, which are revolutionising the commercial property sector.
Optimising Property Management: Prop Tech
One of the major challenges faced by large real estate groups is the administrative and financial management of their assets, from building design to operations. In general, managing the sales and leasing of properties is cumbersome, and startups had difficulties in entering the market… until now. Today, deals and operations are happening faster thanks to “Prop Tech” startups (for “property” tech).
As a matter of fact, many innovative solutions aim at accelerating deals, improving management and funding of multiple real estate projects, to gather real time data on ongoing operations over different assets. VTS, an American startup, is one leading technologies to optimise relations between brokers and landlords, for enhanced reporting, asset management, and more transparent collaboration between stakeholders.
One of the main steps of real estate deals is simply visiting the premises. How to make it easier? Building Information Modeling (BIM) is increasingly crucial in the sector to bring spaces to life in 3D, and in real time. Ultra-innovative services such as Floored, a NYC-based startup, creates impressive virtual 3D environments to help real estate professionnels explore spaces online, as if they were on the premises. The solution also helps building designers improve their plans with interactive architectural files. In France, startups such as Piccoro specialised in augmented reality visits for indoor or outdoor architectures. Another company, Vectuel, makes large-scale projects – such as the Canopée des Halles – understandable by everyone via 3D modelling.
What is next? Maybe 3D printing… of buildings. Applying 3D-printing principles to real estate can help build houses in no more than a few hours. A Chinese company managed to building tens of houses in less than a day, with a cost of €3,500 per house! In France, Constructions 3D is currently offering 3D-printing technologies for building construction. The solution is faster, cheaper, but also greener: the printer uses local materials and limits waste to the minimum.
Greener and More Sustainable Buildings
Tomorrow’s real estate will be part of more sustainable cities. Now, many innovations bring technology to buildings, making them greener and more energy-efficient, and offering smart solutions to environmental issues in cities to insure urban biodiversity is taken into account.
Sous les Fraises, a startup from the second season of UR Link, works on urban farming and builds greener roofs. Its innovative market gardens produce edible vegetables, which are sold in local circuits. The So Ouest shopping centre in Levallois will host its own urban farm on the roof by June 2017.
Green City Solutions, a German startup, offers a connected urban City Tree, which reduces air pollution in cities with the same efficiency as 275 trees, occupying 99% less place. The first season of the UR Link acceleration programme in Germany selected the concepted to be trialled on Unibail-Rodamco’s assets in the country.
Those innovations are also key to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. For instance, Smart Impulse is a French solution helping tertiary building operators to improve their energy efficiency.
Another sector where many innovative Cleantech startups disrupted the game is the development of tomorrow’s workplaces and Smart Offices: in this matter, Unibail-Rodamco is a pioneer. Proof is: the Mixer, In the headquarters of the Group, a 900 sq m coworking space. Built with recycled materials brought by Upcycly, the Diya One robot actively purifies the air of the space daily, since March 2017, improving the working standards of users. Part of the desks were even made available for rent, via the Bureaux à Partager website.
Real Estate Tech is at the heart of a revolution in the work of large commercial property groups such as Unibail-Rodamco. With its acceleration programme UR Link, the Group is looking into startups to invent the shopping centres and the offices of tomorrow. “Through different initiatives, including UR Link, we hope to become a more and more tech company in the real estate sector”, Ludovic Flandin, Managing Director CSR and UR Lab, summarises.