EDITOR’S NOTE | The Chat
From hybrid AI to Indian innovations, Paul Unger rounds up some of the hot topics that have people talking right now.
Hybrid AI. Having established itself as one of the when-not-ifs of general tech, AI, artificial intelligence, has moved onto a debate about the threat on jobs and how it will impact our lives. The consensus now seems to be that a human working alongside an AI bot will be the model adopted. Phew! The professionals are safe after all. Figuring out who does what between the hybrid pairing is where our minds should be focusing to justify our roles in the future.
Robots win hearts and minds. 3D printed homes and bricklaying robots offer apprehensive onlookers an accessible way into proptech, where intangible and frankly boring software can be offputting and meaningless to many. Not everyone will need a bricklayer or a printed house but their popularity show how much entry-level explorers need these gimmicky picturebook examples to start the conversation, reinforcing the need for more examples like this please.
India is hot. US giants IBM, JLL, Cisco, Honeywell and European counterparts such as Siemens are all looking to tap into the Indian government’s eagerness to use innovation to bring the standard of living in every city in the country up to a decent level. Indian startups are not missing out on the action, with investment into proptech of $1bn in the past 5 years. Read more about India’s Smart Cities Mission here
Cybersecurity is big, at last. Surprisingly late into the discussion threads but more prevalent now as property companies realise they are as exposed as anyone in big business and society at large to hacking, scamming and terrorising. Property companies process financial information, have weak security in places where large numbers of people gather and practice sloppy habits that pose a threat to themselves and their customers. Expect the mainstreaming of cybersecurity and tightening of physical access to increase markedly in the coming months.
Events are getting more professional and mature. FUTURE:PropTech in London and MIPIM PropTech Europe in Paris each attracted 1,500 guests, far more than anything seen a year ago. These events enable property people – if only there were more developers attending, the makeup still dominated by techies – to gather information on the key trends, experience products first-hand and meet advisers at the forefront of change.
Emphasis on humans. The relationship between people and tech is emphasised more and more on the speaker circuit and commentators’ blogosphere. Wellbeing is taking hold as the new sustainability in real estate issue, and more tech solutions are positioning their marketing messages around the health and happiness of the workforce, especially in the so-called war
for talent gripping a lot of industries.