Spotlight on smart real estate on Day 2 of the 2018 PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit

Artificially intelligent homes, IoT-powered buildings, and smart cities mark sophomore year of high-level meeting

The PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit wrapped up its sophomore year Friday by gathering leading lights in the arenas of proptech, architecture and interior design, and economics.

Smart cities and buildings; intelligent facilities and property search; digital innovation; and market integration filled the agenda of the second and final day of the annual meeting, staged just a few hours ahead of the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards.

Dr. Aladdin D. Rillo, deputy secretary-general of the ASEAN Economic Community, set the tone for the daylong affair with a VIP keynote address that struck an optimistic note for market integration in the eponymous region.

Marking his first time speaking at a real estate sector event, Rillo enjoined the roomful of property developers, architects, and industry stakeholders to actively participate in ASEAN market integration. “The government cannot do it alone. We are hoping the private sector is able to contribute to that process,” he said.

“We can only do this if the sector is able to help us and partner with us in this journey called the Asean Economic Community.”

Ron Bakker, architect of The Edge in Amsterdam, made his much-awaited appearance in Bangkok. Delivering the other keynote address of the day, the brains behind the world’s smartest building exhorted the high-profile executives gathered at The Athenee Hotel’s Crystal Hall to think laterally when it comes to commercial space.  

“Office buildings for the past 50 years have been built for people who are considered the same. But they’re not. People have different requirements, they have different psychologies,” the partner of PLP Architects said.

“We’re not used to thinking of that in the real estate economy. We don’t think much about the value we give to the people who work inside the project.”

The smart theme continued in the first panel discussion of the day that touched on exemplary smart city developments around the world. 

Moderated by Terry Blackburn, founder and managing director of PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit, the exchange gathered some of the thought leaders at the forefront of smart city initiatives in Singapore, Dubai and Australia.  

The panellists, which included Adam Beck, executive director, Smart Cities Council, Australia & New Zealand; Joelle Chen, regional head, Asia Pacific, World Green Building Council, Singapore; and Charles Reed Anderson, founder, Charles Reed Anderson & Associates, started the packed session with a discussion on the arbitrary definitions of smart cities worldwide.

“Everywhere I go the context is different for smart cities. I really believe the challenges faced by each and every city is very different. We try to put them in all in one basket but it is very difficult,” Dr Okan Geray, strategic planning advisor for Smart Dubai, said.

Jeff Ye, COO of Anjuke, gave a presentation on opportunities for artificial intelligence in Chinese real estate. “AI tech changes the whole dynamic of the system,” he said. is the associate partner of the 2018 PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards.

Ho Chee Kit, senior director for asset services and facilities management, Cushman & Wakefield, added his voice into the conversation on digital real estate innovation with a talk centred on ways to make an asset competitive with Intelligent Facilities Management.

“There are vast opportunities for us to integrate systems and services so we can achieve lower costs, risk reduction, and improvement of wellness of tenants,” he said.

The summit also gave ample platform for Sri Lanka, having staged the Asia Property Awards series for the first time in Colombo this year.

Attendees were treated to a case study of Port City, the USD15-billion mega-project set to transform the Sri Lankan capital in a few years. Liang Thow Ming, chief sales and marketing officer for CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd, was on hand to discuss the 269-hectare Belt and Road project stretching 269 hectares.

The summit also gave the audience an overview of Sri Lanka’s flourishing condominium market, led by the 68-storey condo development Altair. Rising 240 metres high, Altair will rank among the tallest buildings in South Asia, boasting a design by renowned architect Moshe Safdie.

Pradeep Moraes, director at Indocean Developers, the company behind Altair, was on hand to give the audience a market update.

Thai personages in proptech were also ubiquitous during the event. Chairing the second day of the summit was Kipsan Beck, director for marketing and corporate communications at Frasers Property, developers behind the colossal One Bangkok mixed-use site.

Ananda Development, one of the kingdom’s award-winning developers, sent chief innovation officer Dr. Yong Chern Chet to talk at length about the benefits of Building Information Modelling (BIM) for immersive digital development models.

The programme finished with an informative session exploring technology’s role in creating smart, productive and competitive cities, through the lens of IBM. Pawasut Seewirot, IBM Thailand’s Chief Digital Officer, took the stage for this session, in which she showcased IBM’s new Watson Internet of Things (IoT), the cognitive system driving its voice activated AI-powered assistant, named I-Vie.

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