Digitalisation and Startups have conquered EXPO REAL

Future of work 18 Oct 2017 2 min read

Future of work 18 Oct 2017 5 min read

Two weeks ago EXPO REAL, the most important exhibition for real estate and investment in Europe, took place in Munich from October 4 to 6, 2017. This year, the conference broke all previous records with an appearance of 2,003 companies, cities and regions from 35 different countries, which was a 13 percent increase from 2016.

Overall, there were 41,500 participants, which was a 6,1 percent increase from 2016. This year, we at got invited to EXPO REAL to check it out!

For the first time, the exhibition showcased a new Real Estate Innovation Network (REIN) Forum that aimed to bring startups and established companies together in order to discuss new technologies in the digital age. Innovation in the property industry is rapidly changing the property market and EXPO REAL wanted to present the latest trends and solutions through an interactive information platform around digitalisation. Digital innovation in the real-estate sector ranges from investment to construction management to home service technologies for tenants. Behind every startup, contains an innovative idea that could offer incredible advances in real-estate; however, some may need insight from established companies within the industry about the challenges they’re currently facing. This way, EXPO REAL and the REIN initiative aimed to facilitate conversation between the two categories in order to find solution to these challenges.

Prior to the conference, the REIN initiative published an online startup competition with a prize of speaking at the exhibition. Over 700 international startups applied and 25 were chosen to present their pitches within the sectors of investment, marketing, planning & building, management & operation, and smart-city & work. Some startups that spoke at the conference included Green City Solutions, a biotech and IoT company aiming to reduce air pollution, Allthings, an app that integrates everyone in the real estate industry in one usage, and ParkBee, helping landlords to monitise on unused parking spots through technology. Startups from across the globe were able to share their platform to the most important actors in the real-estate industry during the REIN Forum.

Other than the REIN initiative, the topic of digitization and transformation in the real-estate industry was a strong theme throughout the conference. For instance, the Institutional Investment Group GmbH discussed the best practices of digitalization and innovation in the real estate industry, JLL examined corporate real estate transaction activities and ways of raising capital, and Exporo AG analyzed digital real estate investment for municipalities and citizens who participate in urban development. Blockchain also seemed to draw a lot of attention at this year’s exhibition, as we saw talks from PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH about Blockchain in Real Estate and participated in a discussion deliberating about how blockchain is changing the property industry.

Focusing on the commercial real-estate sector, we saw some interesting discussions about the new world of work and the different needs of tenants. It seems that many cities across Europe are in deep desire to have flexible office leasing and ready-to-work office spaces. We still see the lack of understanding the change of consumer behavior. Office spaces are not only about new types of furniture or open-space planning, but a complete shift in the landlord and tenant relationship that is making offices more available as a service compared to a product. Regardless, the commercial real-estate sector was a booming topic.

Although EXPO REAL made a significant step forward incorporating new and innovative thinkers to the exhibition through the REIN initiative, we still experienced a conference that was dominated by the same type of personalities and major corporations. A real change will only be possible if closer relationships are being built between startups and the old-economy to bring new ideas and developments to the game!

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