Real estate consultancy JLL on Wednesday opened its first technology research facility in the world in Bengaluru. The 170-member unit will work towards creating intellectual property products to serve JLL's global clientele.
"What fin-tech (financial technology) did to the financial sector, prop-tech (property technology) is doing to real estate," said Anthony Couse, chief executive at JLL Asia-Pacific. Couse added that around 60% of the prop-tech investment is happening in the Asia-Pacific.
Ramesh Nair, chief executive and head of JLL India, said, “With around a million people working for the global in-house centres of large corporates in Bengaluru, locating our global centre of expertise in the city allows us to be at the heart of innovation and disruption."
The facility offers technology such as Cave Automatic Virtual Environment, allowing teams to use immersive virtual reality for research, design and analysis.
JLL estimates the global real estate industry to be about $53 trillion, with the Asia-Pacific accounting for 30% of the market. While technology is changing what is one of the oldest industries, Couse said the investments are mostly in the first technology wave of online marketplace that aggregates demand and supply, while the later stages of evolution remain unaddressed.
George Thomas, chief information officer of JLL Asia-Pacific, said the firm has taken its initial steps by setting up a venture capital fund, followed by accelerator initiative Propell.
Couse said that the industry will increasingly see data analytics come into play in advisory and consultancy services and a lot of optimisation can be done in facility management. He added that the construction sector is also changing, with 3D printing gaining momentum. "In the future of evolution, we will see prop-tech and fin-tech converging with possibilities of securitisation and tokenisation of real estate assets. We see some regulatory challenges for those technological changes," Couse said.