Experience Makers

The impact of #PropTech on the way real estate is managed

As a founding partner representing MAPP I was at an Experience Makers event late last month, which was covering, amongst other things, the impact of #PropTech on the way real estate is managed, and what this ultimately means for the customer.

The focus, quite rightly, was on the customer, or occupier (tenant) in old parlance. It was a reminder, if one were needed, that for success focus is needed on the end use case.

Perhaps more interesting was Julie Alexander, the Director of Technology & Innovation at Places for People and her thoughts on going beyond the standard model of cost benefit analysis to ensure that all the downstream implications of initiatives are captured when modelling investment decision making. Clearly they had put a lot of thought into this approach and the benefits of being able to take a longer term view than perhaps typically taken by some in the industry is one that we can (and do) wholeheartedly support.

There was also some insight into voice technology utilisation and the impact that they had seen when implementing this into homes, with substantial positive social results evidenced. While I had been and still am to some extent, a voice technology sceptic (in terms of practical use cases that enhance experience) I realised I had been applying this in the context of commercial property, while residential property as evidenced by Places for People presented a far more interesting and immediately realisable proposition.

Paul Unger, of PlaceNorthwest and founder of PlaceTech then moderated an excellent panel, with a wide ranging discussion covering a number of topics, including friction and convenience, maximising space utilisation, #spaceasaservice (of course) and the perhaps unlikely increased importance of the office in the tech enabled environment. My view remains that the impact of technology, far from diminishing the need for offices, as was forecast a decade plus ago, has actually increased the need for (well designed, implemented and run) spaces that enable people to do what they need to do. Think, create, engage etc.

While the panelists have substantially different backgrounds and areas of expertise, it was useful to see how closely their various approaches aligned and overlapped – with a clear focus on customer first in most, if not all cases, and absolutely an ambition to drive service levels by whatever levers they had available to them.

Finally, Araceli Camargo of The Centric Lab presented some insight into how they are using neuroscience to evidence how organisations can create healthier environments for people. Sound insight here into stress, the environment, the neurological impacts and potential mitigations which can make places better. The Centric Lab is a smart organisation, with smart people, who are focused, frankly, on making the world a better place, and you’d do well to have a conversation with them.

We’re lucky enough to have worked with the Centric Lab and can vouch for the insight it provides, and are incorporating this thinking into our approach at MAPP to service delivery in order to ensure that we present a human centric approach to management V2.0.

By Robert Stark