Proptech parade: from flex desking to 3D printed homes

As in previous years, an array of start-up firms will showcase new technologies and innovative approaches at Expo Real in the Tech Alley and adjacent Real Estate Innovation Forum.

The spectrum of technologies and applications this year is extensive: from flex desking and intelligent energy management systems to 3D printed houses, 3D real estate visualization and futureproof parking.

In a session entitled 'How artificial intelligence will revolutionize the future of office space design', Haworth strategist Nishtha Bali explores how AI and Big Data can support the design of office spaces in a more dynamic, intelligent and efficient way, bearing in mind the needs of the users.

In a panel discussion on construction technology, participants will debate whether the first 3D-printed houses – amongst other places in the Netherlands – will help towards solving the affordable housing problem or whether it is no more than a hype.

Another session will look at how car parks can be ‘future proofed’ through automation and turned into complete ‘ecosystems’ for residents and companies in the surrounding area.

Commenting on the digitalization trend in the real estate sector, Expo Real says: ‘Anyone who wants to run their company today as they did 10 years ago and does not take advantage of the opportunities presented by digitalization… is unlikely to survive the next 10 years.’

At the same time, the organisers stress, there is much to be gained from exchanging ideas between young start-ups and established companies. For this reason, it makes sense for ‘digital natives’ to get together with “digital dinosaurs’ to identify solutions for the many challenges facing the real estate industry.

One of the reasons for setting up Tech Alley, says Expo Real, was the desire ‘to offer young companies a platform not only to present their ideas and products, but also to attract the attention of potential funders. While it has never been easy for start-ups to raise the funds they need to scale and develop their products and services, the Covid-19 pandemic has made fundraising more of a challenge than ever before’.

‘Many investors decided to adopt a “wait-and-see” approach, and opportunities for pitching new businesses were significantly limited. Many young companies that have already successfully launched to market are now struggling to access second-stage funding to fuel their continued growth. And just as lots of startups are spin-offs from larger (established) companies, there is also the reverse route of joining a larger company and growing beyond it. However, all of this requires “exposure” and making the right contacts – and where better to make these contacts than at Expo Real?’

PropertyEU's latest edition of Firestarters magazine, tracking the latest proptech trends, is available at Expo Real