The future of IoT and PropTech: What’s the next big thing?
During the first half of the conference, experts shared their thoughts on how the insurance landscape is changing due to IoT, how buildings are becoming smarter, and the role of Connected Technology in all this. While the future of IoT and PropTech was touched upon during those previous discussions, the panel that included Mark Bryant (PCL), Kathy Paul (BGIS), Travis Allan (Eddy Solutions), Michael Platt (Carma), John G. Mollenhauer (The Toronto Construction Association), Scott McBrayne (Cadillac Fairview) decided to have a deeper conversation about what’s next.
Kathy Paul, Associate Vice President, Workplace Solutions, BGIS, said the biggest trends in IoT and PropTech have been around these three areas: health and safety (which is moving from wishlist to must-have list esp with Covid); anything rationalizing space and energy (understanding utilization, cutting costs on energy consumption); and lastly employee/workplace experience to streamline and increase efficiency.
The discussion revolved around two pieces – one, automating processes around energy, efficiency, and water mitigation and two, around tenant experience focusing on a frictionless environment (minimizing the number of barriers for people from the time they leave their homes and get to their office desk), space planning and touchless asset management.
On the question of whether disruptors are mounting pressure on the industry, Michael Platt countered saying, “The disruptors are actually alleviating the pressure, not necessarily putting the pressure on.” He specifically pointed to the example that Kathy shared earlier about the introduction of solutions to address Covid-19 related concerns. “I look at the construction industry and the insurance industry as industries that are experiencing tremendous challenges, whether it’s labor shortages, increased safety concerns, and decreased profitability. It is these pressures that are ultimately offering opportunities to disrupt’, he said.
When asked if IoT has changed traditional industries, Travis Allan, CEO of Eddy Solutions, noted, “If you are well set-up and focused on what is going on in the market place (on meaningful pain points) that’s where preparation meets opportunity. Eddy is a company/product that is being insurance-driven and we are seeing quite a bit of tailwind right now, and our solution is being driven and adopted by insurance companies”.
Staying on the topic, Mark Bryant said “There is nothing like leveraging a great crisis to get tech adoption going. PCL is focused on evolving its IoT during construction with its JSI platform. We are focused on providing strong partnerships with industry leaders across the entire value chain which will evolve JSI into a leading construction ecosystem that crosses the path, from design to construction and ultimately to occupied structures enabling enhanced services”.
There is going to be a lot of pressure on organizations that are not willing to change with the industry and adopt IoT. It’s an industry that respects evolution but the pace of change is accelerating. It might not be a revolution anymore but a necessity.
Perhaps it must have been encouraging for many in the audience as Scott McBrayne spoke about how Cadillac Fairview saw the opportunity to invest as a result of the reduction in the cost of deployment, cost of management, and the total cost of ownership (which made the use cases work). He explained how IoT had helped one of their properties which is 50 years old, to become technologically up to date (comparable to a brand new building of theirs), showing how quickly technology can be deployed in the built environment ( as against rip down and rebuild) in a cost-effective manner.
It is going to be very interesting to see the evolution of IoT and PropTech in the coming years. Michael Platt said “There is a lot of excitement in part because it is rapidly changing, more and more people are quick to adopt the new tech. Touchless asset control, 5G will become commonplace (which in turn will make networks faster and drive more comprehensive AI-driven solutions leading to smarter cities), smart cities all underpinned by AI, will continue to expand at an accelerated rate”.
PropTech is moving and evolving very quickly and an important question that we have in front of us is how a company stays current when the pace of change is unimaginable. Answering this question, Mark said “While technology is being adopted and there is a lot of data from which actionable insights are being derived, PCL also focuses a lot on what people have to say (both on the field and from the customer’s side). PCL’s approach has been to grow a smart construction ecosystem of adjacent products which defines PropTech”. He concluded by saying “PropTech to me is defined by IoT and data at the core, married to adjacent smart technologies so that people are looking at one pane of glass to understand many things”.
Travis Allan had some valuable advice for stakeholders, noting that they need to look at IoT holistically instead of making an isolated decision, purely from the customer’s perspective, with a long-term view. Another strategic piece of advice was in terms of understanding and defining what companies are trying to solve and how they plan to integrate the solution with the organization, and who within the organization is going to champion the cause.
The full webinar can be viewed here.
About the Author: Parthi Radha
Parthi Radha is a marketing professional and is currently working with Eddy Solutions as an Events Marketing Coordinator.