Technology has become intrinsic to the real estate sector in a way few could once have imagined. For decades, the property sector was steeped in traditional practices and slow to adopt new ways of doing things. Industry norms barely shifted. But with the advent of online real estate portals in the early 2000s, the recent supercharged commercialisation of mixed reality hardware and software, and the rise in artificial intelligence and data analysis, the sector is now benefitting more than most from bleeding-edge tech.
From humane recruitment platforms and next-gen visualisation software to the latest laser projection technology and data-driven property portals, a growing number of disruptors and innovators in Asia are remoulding how construction companies, interior designers, consumers, and real estate developers, to name a few, now operate.
With technology moving at an exhilarating pace, these new norms will also inevitably be challenged and transformed. But for now, at least, here are four of the most innovative proptech pioneers who are helping to create the near future of real estate in Asia and beyond.
STEFAN RAFAEL, CO-FOUNDER AND HEAD OF TECHNOLOGY AT ONE TO ONE DISPLAYS
Tale behind the tech
A death in the family and divorce aside, moving house often tops the list of most stressful life events. So, imagine the sleepless nights and racked nerves when starting from scratch.
This was the reality encountered by Stefan and Marian Rafael as they spent countless hours renovating and building homes: a passion of theirs that also carried its fair share of stresses.
Frustrated with the confines of blueprints and show homes, as well as limited opportunities for customisation after signing on the dotted line, Stefan turned to his extensive background in the audiovisual industry for a remedy.
The Australian is now co-founder and head of technology at One to One Displays, a to-scale blueprint projection display startup well on its way to revolutionising how individuals and companies conceptualise everything from a dream home to corporate headquarters.
Why it matters
Based in Melbourne, the company—only the third of its kind to open in the world, according to Rafael—combines the latest laser projection technology with augmented reality software to showcase one-to-one-scale blueprints of properties in a 300 sqm display centre complete with software allowing for much larger plans.
The company also created an app, which allows clients to explore life-size versions of their future properties, and immediate environment, at their leisure with the aid of only a tablet—a particular boon for both the business and clients during the recent Covid-19 lockdown.
While the take-up of the app in recent months demonstrates how popular the floor plan technology is with individuals looking to save time, money and sanity—just like the Rafaels a few years ago—it is within the wider construction and development sector that One to One Displays is set to challenge the status quo.
Already in partnership with Surbana Jurong, one of Asia’s leading urban, infrastructure and management services consulting firms, the next step is collaborating with developers on display centres to offer projected alternatives to environmentally unfriendly and costly MDF show units.
In addition to mitigating risk on a much larger scale for potential homeowners, the savings on offering walkthroughs could potentially be game-changing for the industry.
In his words
“The lightbulb moment was this builder’s agent who, unable to show us a display home similar to our designs, told us to go down to the beach with a tape measure and a stick and just draw it out. Firstly I was like, ‘brilliant, love the idea... however, are you serious?’ Since starting this business, loads of people have told us they’d done similar things on the beach, in their mother-in-law’s living room or on a basketball court using chalk. All these cool and innovative ideas—the human mind is amazing. It definitely got us thinking and we believed this was such a good business opportunity, a really modern concept that revitalises an industry process unchanged for years.”
KIRTAN PATEL, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF SAMA
Tale behind the tech
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