MIPIM PropTech Europe 2019 – Tech people not using tech?
8 July 2019, Andrej Lampe MRICS
MIPIM PropTech Europe 2019 attracted an interesting cocktail of participants, from traditional industry players and start-ups to investors and media. The interest from all over the sector is signalling that the real estate industry, which until now has seemed resilient to change, is ready for digitalisation. I’m a firm believer that digitalisation will unlock tremendous potential in our industry; however, we still might be further than one small step away.
Who was there?
Officially, MIPIM PropTech Europe was visited by 2,000 participants from 1,000 companies, Data from the MIPIM PropTech Europe online database shows there were 1,699 participants from 1,203 companies. Some visitors and some companies were listed more than once, so the real figures are a bit lower, but they’re close enough to reality. When applying to the event, participants had to choose a field in which they operate. There were twelve fields, which I grouped into three categories to give a rough picture reflecting who was there:
- Traditional RE sector (those who are about to change)
- Start-ups, Tech companies (those who are pushing towards change)
- Capital, institutions, media (those who have an influence on change or work as a catalyst)
The first thing to notice is that there was a similar proportion of start-ups and representatives of the traditional real estate sector. Considering that established real estate companies are much larger than start-ups, one can conclude that the interest from traditional industry was high. Furthermore, capital, media, financial institutions and public authorities had a notable presence as well, all pointing towards shifts in the traditionally conservative and digitalisation resilient industry. All in all, it was an excellent event and I’m very excited about being part of the transformation. Now, I should write something about the second part of this article’s title, so let’s dig further into how tech people are using tech!
Who used the web app?
Apps that help participants navigate the exhibition area and look up exhibitors they are interested in are practically a must-have at events of this size. The organiser had set up a Web app, yet participants still received an information booklet at the entrance. Since our company is trying hard to be paperless, I opted not to take one, but I soon realised what the booklet was for. There was no data about the stands’ locations on the Web app. Furthermore, I noticed that participants also didn’t use the whole potential of the app. Some added logos to the online directory, but very few added their company’s profile.
From 375 start-ups that were present at the event (unfortunately, I don’t have the data on how many of them were actual exhibitors and how many visitors, since the app categorised all the participants as exhibitors), only 46 published their company profile, which is a mere 12%. It was similar with mature tech companies, of which 10% published their profiles (9 of 91 companies), while developers and landlords showed even less interest, with only 5% of them having edited their profiles.
What does that mean?
The low rate among developers and landlords does not hold much surprise. Many of them came to the event to get on top of industry disruption, with less need for promotion, but the low rate among start-ups and tech companies does not really make sense. Could this mean that real estate tech people are not willing to use tech? And could this partially be a reason why changes take longer than in other industries? Or is it just that the MIPIM PropTech Europe app was below participants’ expectations?
PS: The board on which an artist outlined some ideas during the event was totally cool and proved to be quite a hit. The conference itself was one of the best PropTech events, but the photo fits the provocative title “Tech people not using tech?” so well that I simply couldn’t resist (mis)using it as the headline photo!