Toolbox Group: Themes from Expo Real

Michelle Buxton ToolboxWe’re now well into the next phase of property technology and we’ve seen clearly at Expo Real 2019 themes coming through which suggest consolidation in the space, writes Michelle Buxton, CEO of Toolbox Group.

Below are the three main points we’ve picked up at Europe’s biggest real estate event.

Watch the video below to hear takeaways from attendees at the event

Data is the new oil

Real estate owners know that they need data but they still don’t know what data they need, how to get it, who owns it, how to manage it, and what to do with it. However, there’s no doubt that data is one of the biggest opportunities.

We’ve been hearing a lot about the fact that the landlord or developer is often the person with the least data. We’ve been working closely with major owners and managers of mixed-use and retail real estate on how to share and use data across their real estate communities, so this is definitely on the agenda in a big way.

The potential is huge and will be one of the biggest sources of competitive advantage in the coming years – those who get clever with data will be the leaders.

Not all solutions add value

There is a lot of cool tech out there, lots of new solutions being considered as the latest innovation. However, what we’re seeing is a lot of tech is still created from finding use from the technology in real estate and not from the needs of real estate owners and users.

It is easy for owners who want to be seen to be innovative to look for the next big thing, but there is a strong message coming through that tech has to deliver return on investment, it has to add value to real estate. Quite often these new technologies don’t do that on their own.

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The solutions that add the most value are those comprehensive platforms that have been developed to solve many problems. They’ve more often than not been created in collaboration with real estate. While they are sophisticated these are usually not about one cool technology that does amazing things, but more of a powerful ecosystem that can grow and adapt to changing needs.

Mallcomm, our engagement tool, is essentially that, and we’ve got to this point with it because we’re constantly developing it to suit evolving needs and seeing ways it can grow to add more value.

Integration is the future

Leading on from the previous point, it is these solutions that easily integrate other technologies that are the most successful and powerful. What we’re seeing now are essentially property engines driven by technology.

These are comprehensive platforms integrating lots of areas of the business through the asset value chain: leasing, operations, marketing, tenant relations, data and insight, smart building interaction, investor reporting and so on.

What we’re seeing, therefore, are lots of stand-alone technologies being integrated into bigger platforms, and essentially becoming suppliers to them. For owners and managers of real estate, this is actually streamlining their buying process which means fewer procurement exercises and fewer resources needed to implement the technology.

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Platforms can also integrate more widely in the real estate community. This is especially important for mixed-use communities as the future of real estate. I believe Mallcomm is the only integrator for B2B and B2C audiences for mixed-use, the first in its space to do that. The value this adds is enormous in terms of both efficiency and data.

The property technology space is definitely changing because the way real estate is using it is changing. The space may be maturing, but it will constantly evolve and innovation and change need to be an integral part of the asset strategy more than ever.

  • Expo Real, taking place this week, sees more than 40,000 professionals from around the world descend on Munich

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