Tech Open Air- The New World of Real Estate

This year, the event included 20,000 attendees, making it the largest TOA yet.

The two-day conference hosted thousands of companies ranging from startups to large corporates, including speakers from NASA, Quora, Google, and Soundcloud. Each offered unique insight on the rise of technology in the 21st Century through inspirational storytelling, interactive panels, knowshops, pillowtalks, and more. It was not an event to miss!

The conference also included more than 200 satellite events all across the city for interactive forums, collaborations, and networking initiatives. For the 3rd year in a row, we at were honored to host one of these satellite events. Our topic was on the new age of real estate: how property technology is transforming the industry. This year, the event took place at the EY Office in central Berlin. Our open, interactive discussion forum was nicely complemented by the beautiful space that overlooks the city skyline.

The event gave our audience and Setting a chance to connect with individuals across the real estate industry as customers, partners and experts shared their knowledge and insight on the rise and implementation of technology in real estate.

Global Proptech Innovation: Revolution or Hype?

Despite the warm sunny day, over 100 people attended our satellite event, showing how important the topic of proptech has become in recent years.

During the hour and a half discussion we covered many engaging topics. One of the first topics we discussed was global proptech innovation.

Real estate has been one of the slowest industries to move towards the digital age. Most agents, customers, and tenants still use outfashioned working working tools. However, technology is finally integrating itself into the real estate industry through many disruptive trends, including cyber security, blockchain, internet of things, artificial intelligence and many more. Although the growing interest in PropTech is undeniable, experts in the industry wonder if this tech innovation will become a revolution or only exist as a short-term hype.

The real estate sector is slow to adopt digitalization because the industry itself isn’t very competitive, but it’s slowly moving out of its comfort zone. In Germany, the market is defragmented and real estate industry needs new technology for the startup environment to sustain long-term growth. This shows that global PropTech innovation may be a revolution, especially as investors are increasing their interest in PropTech throughout Berlin and across Europe. However, others argued that although PropTech industry has received nearly 2.6 million EUR in funding in 2016, this is a relative small amount compared to funds in large real-estate firms. From one perspective it can be assumed  that technology in real-estate is only a short-term hype because people will always move back towards traditional real-estate models as they look for or rent out individual apartments and homes.

Innovative Technology Solutions: The Key to Success?

Many startups attended Setting’s satellite event, each with their own unique spin on property technology and the real-estate sector. We are seeing innovative technology solutions revolutionize the industry. Virtual reality and augmented reality have made incredible advances in real estate as home-buyers are able to take a tour of a housing or office space without actually visiting the site. “Smart” buildings are improving traditional homes through climate control, intelligent appliances, and security and entertainment systems. Artificial Intelligence is processing rapidly, like our colleagues at Leverton that use robots to read over home buying contracts.

Although these incredible advancements in technology can change the very existence of traditional real-estate, there is always the problem of affordability and financing. Across the globe, climates and cultures differ dramatically. Within each location, different solutions are needed. In order for PropTech to revolutionize the entire globe we have to realize that, “low tech data solution sometimes works better than high tech data solution.”

Proptech vs. Construction or Proptech and Construction?

Our event not only included startups, but also established architecture and construction-based companies. The real estate and construction industries are both operating on a non-digital and conservative scale, so they can agree that something has to change.

Many startups in PropTech are focusing on the broad real estate industry and how to make the entire process digital; however, men and women that work for traditional real-estate companies everyday say startups are focusing on the wrong issues. The problem in real-estate may not be the demand for spaces, but the supply of those spaces. There are infrastructure problems and construction issues on the ground every day that no one seems to be addressing. Sounds like a million-dollar industry to us!

Thank you to everyone who came out to this year’s event and looking forward to next year event and what lies ahead for the future of PropTech. 

See more pictures of the event here.