Smart Cities and Property Technology: How are we advancing?

November 20, 2018

Technology-driven “Smart Cities” to boost Living Conditions

While more and more Asian “smart cities” emerge, security risks are now greater than ever.

Countries worldwide are now subscribing to what they call “smart cities.” Essentially, a smart city is a city that utilises data and technology to enhance the living conditions of the people and likewise boosting the economic development of that particular city.

A smart city utilises data and technology to enhance the living conditions of people and the economy.

In the Asia Pacific alone, smart cities are increasingly becoming a necessity. For instance, India has announced its intention to turn 100 municipalities to smart cities. China, on the other hand, is transforming more than 500 cities. Japan, South Korea, and Singapore have started their efforts toward the smart path as well. Most especially, Hong Kong has launched its Smart City Blueprint in 2014 which aims to enhance city management. Take note, however, that these Asian smart cities still poses risks.

Property Technology

Property technology (proptech) powers smart cities. Such examples include smart home controls in mobile apps, CCTV, drones for property management, to name a few. All these can save time, energy, and money, overall improving user experience. Imagine having your coffee brewed for you after your alarm rings, or your room temperature set to fit desired coldness before you get home. Proptech makes this all possible — a modern city indeed.

Albert Ovidi, JLL Asia Pacific COO, said that proptech is a “key tool in the future development of cities and we in the real estate business have a vital role to play, particularly in smart property development and management. Digital infrastructure investment is increasingly important for cities to create more livable environments and attract and retain the best talent.”

Proptech, along with our mobile phones, appliances and anything connected to the internet now belong to the Internet of Things (IoT). The massive data gathered, analysed, and distributed from the internet poses problems such as hacking. With this, Ovidi emphasises that smart cities need to develop impeccable security measures to prevent cyber risks.

Blockchain: Future cyber saviour?

The innovation of blockchain in the early 2000s is being considered as a cyber risk reduction measures.

Essentially, blockchain provides decentralisation or the taking away of any third party from a transaction, allowing two people to conduct business directly. As a result, transactions become more transparent. Hence, no single entity can control it because it is all available for both parties to see.

Associate Director of JLL’s Asia Pacific Research Christopher Clausen emphasised that “Of all the new property-related technologies under development, blockchain is perhaps the most revolutionary. It has the potential to radically change the securitisation of the commercial real estate, improving liquidity as well as access to investment markets for both institutional and retail investors.”

The World Property Journal further reports that the combination of blockchain and the IoT (BIoT) presents itself as possibly the “most impressive tech trends in 2018.” BIoT will be offering a wide range of services, where smart buildings and homes would benefit. For starters, BIoT will allow the real-time data access from sensors, with blockchain functioning as a protection.  Moreover, BIoT is expected to “build trust, reduce time, and accelerate transactions.”

We might be a little too positive if we say that these solutions can happen overnight. But, countries such as Sweden, Georgia, and the United Kingdom are already applying blockchain and IoTs. With this, it is only a matter of time that the real estate market will be revolutionised.

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