Startups urged to grab proptech opportunities

Data and AI could transform how real estate sector is operated.

JLL Asia Pacific CEO Anthony Couse said this is the high-time for startups to grab opportunities in the property sector in Asia.

In a panel discussion JLL hosted at the Tech in Asia Singapore conference, Couse said that while real estate has been viewed as a traditional business, the time is right to embrace technology, digitisation and collaboration.

“We’re taking an agile approach to technology that will allow us to meet our clients’ needs today while preparing for the opportunities of tomorrow,” said Couse.

Proptech, a portmanteau of the words ‘property’ and ‘technology’, describes a burgeoning new sector whereby technology solutions are used to solve real estate problems.

Associate professor Wen Yonggang of the newly launched Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Research Centre (DSAIR) said data and artificial intelligence will profoundly transform how the real estate sector is operated.

DSAIR is a research centre for artificial intelligence and big data analytics at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

“DSAIR is committed to developing disruptive technologies and panel discussions like this one greatly facilitate this innovation process, by creating a common platform for various stakeholders to come together with a clear objective to further the field,” Wen said.

JLL has already begun to make forays into the startup sector with the launch of its India technology investment arm in October 2016. The subsidiary has invested in two Indian startups:, which uses virtual reality and augmented reality to facilitate the customisation of interiors; and Cloud 1 Enterprises, a cloud based platform to help companies provide safe and secure transportation for their employees.

Couse revealed that JLL has also developed a number of home-grown technology applications which support the three main ways the company serves its clients: analysing, managing and transacting real estate. These include Acumen, a dashboard and reporting tool for property management; Hawk, an app that allows brokers to access the latest information on buildings and asset stocks; VR 360, a virtual reality service for design and build; and, an online marketplace for finding office space in China.

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