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Articles - PropTech

How will technology affect the development of the real estate market? Read a great interview with Marko Pavlović, CEO of Flow and Form agency

1. Tell us a bit more about your startup, what exactly do you do? Flow and Form is a digital agency specializing in the development of applications, which help property owners and operators to improve the way they manage and experience the use of their buildings and other facilities. We started operations in 2017, and during that period we helped several technology companies around the world to market their proptech products. With our clients, we have found a lot of success in developing desktop booking applications and analyzing workspace utilization in organizations like Amazon and Netflix. The company currently has 20 employees with its main office in Zagreb, and in the future we plan to publicly present our own products for commercial and residential buildings. 2. Looking globally, PropTech experienced a real boom during the pandemic. Some new apps have appeared. Do you believe this trend will continue after the pandemic? Proptech is definitely on the rise looking at the growth of private equity in proptech companies and the number of start-ups looking to enter the market. The pandemic has prompted many space owners and operators to think about the new needs of their tenants, especially in the office space. But these needs existed even before the pandemic, and this pandemic only accelerated the process of what I think would happen anyway. I think that this trend will certainly continue after the pandemic because the way we work and live is changing, so the physical space in which we live will take on new meaning and new functionalities. 3. Your review of the real estate sector in the Republic of Croatia? In 2020, one of the largest coworking offices in this part of Europe opened in Zagreb. How can PropTech tools help improve coworking business development services? The residential real estate market in the Republic of Croatia remains very dynamic because even in the pandemic we saw an increase in prices, a drop in interest rates on housing loans, and several interesting projects such as VMD Park Kneževa with over 120 new apartments. While the quality of housing is taking on a new meaning, the need for quality housing is growing in the west, and I think that the same trend will continue in the Republic of Croatia with a slight delay. Although the pandemic affected the business real estate market the most, the price did not vary much depending on the location, and the plans of larger organizations in Zagreb have changed, so we could see more new business and coworking space projects. I am extremely glad that we now have a large and beautiful coworking space in Zagreb that offers a new model of flexibility to individuals, workers and companies. Coworking spaces attach a lot of importance to the user experience within the space, and we are already convinced that technology can drastically improve the user experience. Therefore, I believe there are two main ways that technology can help: 1. Improving usability and space occupancy. 2. Improving the user experience of the space. The solutions we saw as a successful move of coworking space in the world were the implementation of an application for booking workspace such as tables, conferences and other rooms where users can book and pay for their space in real time through the application. A useful addition to this is the installation of sensors to monitor the usability of the space in real time because this way we can automate the reservation and cancellation of table reservations, and also provide information to owners on how the space is used, which days and which places are most represented. Such applications also offer the ability to find people of interest in the space, a channel for communication with customers, ordering and charging for additional services and many other features that improve the user experience and help owners make better decisions. 4. Do you believe that new concepts of work and new concepts of business will lead to changes in renting business premises? Definitely! Business spaces take on different meanings and people create different expectations than just space. I think that the view of business space is changing in the direction of providing quality service in addition to space, where before only the location and the space itself were important. Expectations from business space owners will be significantly higher, as an example, several business space owners in the U.S. have already provided a private daycare for the children of space employees to improve their service. In other examples, the concept of the promotional space has completely changed, so that CloudKitchen allows small restaurants to rent a kitchen intended for delivery cheaply and quickly. This changes the dynamics of rental periods and contracts that were previously fixed at a minimum of 5 or 10 years, while we already see a lot of flexibility requirements where contracts are defined for shorter periods such as a couple of months or a year. I believe that for this reason, the monthly payment or “subscription” billing model will gain popularity in the future. 5. Future trends? How will technology affect the development of the real estate market? What are the positive aspects of these changes? In the future, we will change some of the oldest tools and concepts related to real estate, this will include changing everything from using physical keys to the way we buy and pay for the use of space. What exactly will it look like in the end? I don’t know, but what I do know is that physical objects (in this case real estate) will adapt to the fact that we all now have technology in our pockets, and will allow us complete control and a different experience of the space we live and work in. Houses, buildings, business and housing will be smarter, and the race to build such spaces has just begun, all over the world. I believe the real estate industry has made the world’s largest contribution to the climate crisis. Real estate is the largest asset class in the world and one of the largest sectors of the global economy. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to learn that the sector consumes about 40% of the world’s energy, emits 30% of all greenhouse gases and consumes 40% of all raw materials. Given this reality, as the global community harmonizes culturally, economically, and politically around tackling climate change, real estate is likely to take center stage. I believe that the people who manage global real estate assets - valued at around $ 50 trillion - are therefore one of the most important decision-making groups in the world that will be part of this urgent conversation. I am pleased that investment in real estate decarbonisation has quadrupled this year, that major decarbonisation decisions have been made in the US, Europe and other countries on a political and economic level, and I look forward to seeing results in the future. I believe that we all have a responsibility, and especially those of us who are in the technology sector - where we are laying the foundations for the future of real estate, we need to think about what kind of world we will leave behind. Therefore, I believe that new trends and a new “mindset” in the real estate industry will make a positive, “green” impact on the world around us.

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We spoke with Boris Bakač, owner of a company that deals with advanced software solutions for design and visualization in architecture

1. Tell us a little more about your company? Digital Media d.o.o. from Čakovec (digitalmedia.hr) has in its offer advanced software solutions for design and visualization in architecture and related activities. We offer our customers advice, training and comprehensive support when using the software. From our offer we would like to point out: SketchUp Pro - currently the most popular tool for 3D modeling with open architecture for extensions, V-Ray - one of the most respected rendering solutions for photorealistic displays of 3D models, ArCon Professional - simple and fast software for 3D design and visualization completely translated in Croatian, ARCHLine.XP - an advanced and comprehensive tool for architectural and interior design, WETO Viskon - software for 3D design and production of wooden houses and roof structures and ZWCAD - classic CAD and for the most complex projects using the standard AutoCAD DWG format. 2. Some new technologies for displaying commercial spaces are coming (VR, AR, 3D displays). Can you tell us a little more about that? Computer 3D display uses computer graphics techniques to display an existing or new space or model. Representations can be from linear to photorealistic, in the form of a static image or film. They are usually displayed on two-dimensional surfaces as a projection of a 3D model. It is also possible to have a stereoscopic display by creating two different images for the left and right eye or a spatial display using, for example, a hologram. VR (Virtual Reality) or virtual reality is a technology of complete immersion of users in computer-generated space. The user has a sense of presence in that virtual space and can interact with the elements in the space and control the movement. VR requires more complex equipment for the user: eg special helmets / masks, gloves with sensors and more. AR (Augmented Reality) or augmented reality is a technology of inserting computer-generated content into the user's field of vision. The space can be supplemented with new, virtual elements, such as a new wall color or a new desk, or just informative messages, such as additional information about the room we are looking at, the price and delivery time of cabinets in our field of vision and the like. For the augmented realities we use, a mobile device with a camera and a screen for displaying the environment with inserted content is enough. More comfortable systems are possible with glasses with a built-in projection system for the pupils of our eyes. 3. How can we use 3D views in advertising business premises? The three-dimensional display allows the customer to register all aspects of the advertised space faster. The customer can more easily imagine the relationships of individual elements, notice the layout of the room faster, register the heights of individual parts of the room, windows, niches and the like compared to the 2D floor plan. From the 3D model of the business space, we can generate views from different points of view: we generate floor plans, cross-sections and views that best represent the business space according to the client's request. It is possible to automatically generate a statement of measurements of individual elements of space: surfaces of rooms, walls, volumes,… In the existing 3D model of space we can place the user's specific objects and see and explore their position in space. 4. How can renders help advertise business premises? Renders give us a photorealistic or non-photorealistic (by mimicking different art styles) image of a 3D model of a business space. In the photorealistic display, the customer can see realistic, already existing materials and equipment or a space simulation with materials and equipment of their choice. It can also investigate the relationships of light and darkness in a space, what effect individual lighting gives and whether, for example, lighting is suitable for the activity and how it changes during the working day. On the other hand, a more abstract rendering of a (non-photorealistic) business space model makes it easier for the customer to imagine the space, for example details and colors, without predefined constraints or settings. 5. How can new technologies change the display and only advertising of commercial buildings, and only the real estate market? 3D models allow the client to choose the ways to view the business space, be it photorealistic, abstract, with their own equipment or offered equipment. In this way, even before the purchase or lease of space, the buyer "adjusts" and adjusts it to their liking and thus significantly facilitates the sale or lease. Today, almost all of us have mobile devices that support augmented reality (AI) technology. With appropriate applications, we can supplement the advertised business space with information, graphic elements or specific objects tailored to the customer. Or the customer can insert their own equipment into the space. For larger projects and for significant customers, the use of virtual reality technology is cost-effective. The customer immerses the space, tours it with a virtual walk and thus gets a direct experience of the value of movables. 

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Who should be in the driving seat of the real estate innovation

The prolific change of 2020 has shaped the real estate industry more than anything else in decades. The digitization had been underway before the pandemic, but the speed of that shift has accelerated in ways that nobody could have predicted.   With all that in mind, many landlords and asset managers are currently re-thinking what their product and offering should be to stay competitive and how it should reflect all the latest trends (think digitization, remote work, ESG, wellbeing expectations, data). With all the goals that should be covered, it can be difficult for landlords to navigate the right way for their unique business case.   In terms of implementing the technology, one question gets repeated in the conversations I have: what is in the competence of landlords and what are the topics each individual tenant should address.   As I wrote in my previous article, stepping into this new era, I believe every building should have a digital layer to allow better life in buildings. To enable that, properties need to run on an operating system to create an elevated experience for occupants.   But every OS is a complex thing with many use cases to consider. So speaking about a commercial building, what does it mean? Where should you as a landlord or asset manager start?   From our perspective, the tenant experience platform has two verticals:   Connected building and portfolio – to set the infrastructure for future integrations, streamline communication, enable mobile access system, guest management, payments, issue reporting, on-demand amenities and services, energy monitoring and finally work with analytics to understand customer needs and preferences. Altogether, this presents the heart of the building. Empowering tenants – every tenant should be able to set their private digital environment, where they can operate their workplace in the new way of working (agile, hybrid, hub & spoke...) with features supporting on-demand booking of hot desks, meeting rooms, monitoring of occupancy, air quality data and much more The success of a landlord largely depends on the success of tenants. The success of a tenant company largely depends on the success of teams and individuals, their happiness, productivity, and in turn, loyalty.   Thus, sporting tenants should be one of the landlord’s top priorities. In conclusion, a progressive landlord should introduce both layers. This strategic approach puts landlords in the driving seat of these changes with the right tech infrastructure that attracts, retains and fully empowers tenants.   On top of that, it brings a full advantage to stay competitive in a market that is heavily shifting to flexible space operations. Finally, landlords get prepared for a tech-enabled future and successfully integrate both physical and digital aspects of life in buildings. With the right OS, your building is no longer a piece of hardware that requires CAPEX for every update, but rather a Tesla car that is getting updated to keep up with the always-changing world.   Thanks to the huge effort of our team, inputs from our clients and partners, we plan a significant upgrade of the Spaceflow platform which is going to be released in mid-2021. Our aim with this update is to empower landlords all over the world with the best off-the-shelf technology to implement both these verticals in an easier way. What to look forward to? Our platform will get a fresh look and will get fully integrated and customizable. All modules are currently being enhanced based on the product discoveries with occupants and long-term cooperation with some of the top global real estate owners. Stay tuned!

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Rent Rolls – How to get the most out of your data

Whether you are a property owner or a property manager, steady rental income equates to a well-streamlined cash flow. The rent roll data builds the foundation for day-to-day operations in asset and investment management. They also built the foundation for the valuation of the asset. Therefore, accurate and consistent data is crucial to make the right decisions. Why are rent rolls so important? The rent roll is an all-purpose document that can be used by buyers, sellers, property managers, real estate investors, landlords, and lenders. But there’s a lot more to it than first meets the eye. While many real estate practitioners may focus on the PnL and balance sheet, the rent roll for a rental property can provide a surprising amount of details. Who uses it and for which purpose? A rent roll provides landlords with a quick overview of their tenant base and related income. It’s also an important document used in commercial real estate transactions since many investors and banks request the rent roll as part of their due diligence process. The rent roll can also provide an early warning sign to property managers and owners that a problem may be arising with the tenant. The property or unit could then be pre-marketed for lease early enough to reduce the amount of downtime due to vacancy and repairs. A quick look at the rent roll will tell a buyer and seller whether the property has been generating stable gross rental income. Comparing the fair market rent to the current amount the tenant is paying allows for the possibility to increase the value of the asset simply by raising the payments. When purchasing a property, a lender wants to see a proper rent roll in your loan application. Landlords also use a rent roll document to do market research by comparing the average rent on their units with those currently on the market. If their rents are lower, they can list those with expiring leases at the higher market rates and boost their income. Real estate investors use a rent roll to verify the current rental income, search for upside potential in the rental property, and to anticipate problems with future cash flow. A prospective buyer might notice that the majority of the leases on a rent roll report are at above-market rates and expire in the next couple of months, suggesting that rental income could decline significantly after acquiring the rental property. How to get the best out of you rent roll data? Measure, analyze, forecast, and react Assetti can help you to measure and forecast your rental income easily. You can view and sort your properties by name, area, end date, monthly rent, or rental level (monthly or annual rent/m2 or square footage – yes, Assetti confirms to different conventions!). Additionally, we offer filtering and tag search. That means you can use tags for searching a specific kind of lease or rent-roll. With the help of filters, you can view leases by the lease ending time, status, tenant type, unit type, lease term and property type. Sliding filters can also classify the data by the leased area, monthly rent, or the notice period. All of this allows you to only view the data that you need for your current evaluation. Analyze vacancies and occupancy For investors, vacancy is usually a dreaded word. You want to focus on minimizing vacancy and getting occupancy as high as possible so that the properties generate the maximum income. With our visualized KPIs, you can easily see, in real-time, which properties have a high or low occupancy or vacancy rate. Control rent rolls with lease notifications When managing rent rolls in Assetti, the special status of a lease is expressed in colour-coded stamps. These include a pre-lease agreement, pending lease which has not yet started or a finished for a lease that has already ended.  You can also activate unique alerts to remind you of expiring leases.  React to changes and increase potential Whatever action you decide for your customers or tenants, we can help you to make the influence on your cashflow visible. For example, you can model an alternative budget for the year, based on the changed situation. It gives you answers to the burning questions asset managers, investors, landlords, and banks have: How will the rent discounts or suspended payments affect the finances of the real estate investments? But you are also able to make a demographic-specific analysis and see, with a couple of steps, who are your tenants and what is the overall risk in terms of leased area, rental income, or geographical risks. Understanding your risk exposure will help you to capture the “big picture” situation with Asseti’s KPIs. Rent roll analysis and KPIs With Assetti, you can analyse your data for a specified period; one month, a quarter, a year or a customized amount of time. We offer three separate views of our KPIs. You can see your data as a list, as a trend chart or as a dashboard. When it comes to getting the most out of your rent roll data, Assetti doesn’t just help you to understand your data. We also automate and visualize many of the necessary, daily metrics related to property asset management. Curious how we can make your rent rolls better? Want to see with your data? This article was published by Stefanie on 09/02/2021 on Assetti.pro    

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How to keep apartment and co-living residents well-informed during COVID-19

It seems like the entire world has been shut down by the recent coronavirus outbreak. While the situation is unprecedented and dynamic, there are still some ways that property managers can get in front of the challenge and help their tenants stay safe and healthy. This is true for offices but even more true for multifamily and co-living properties, where millions of people are now sheltering in place around the world. Communication, communication, communication Beyond simply following the rules, residential property managers should realize that they will be viewed as authority figures during the crisis. That means they should be extra careful to only share carefully-vetted, official information and instructions, since spreading misleading information during a pandemic is like shouting "fire!" in a theater.   As bulletin boards are being replaced with community platforms, it seems to be that they are not only faster but a needed tool in this challenging period. The ability to convey a message quickly and seamlessly, in selected buildings or portfolio-wide, seems to be even more crucial these days also for property managers, as we can see many of them share tips on how to protect and present precautions they have introduced.   Using the newsfeed     Good communication during a crisis like this is absolutely essential, particularly for residential managers. Spaceflow's newsfeed feature can be very useful in this regard, as it provides an opportunity for highly relevant, hyperlocal content to be posted and disseminated throughout property communities. People shouldn't have to struggle to find timely, locally-relevant information about the coronavirus and their community's response efforts.   Using push notifications   At the same time, this gives local property managers a chance to share tips and advice on how to stay safe during the outbreak.   That's what's push notifications are for – to get the message across quickly.   Residential managers should encourage their residents to hunker down in their units rather than to spend their time in the common areas. Hopefully these spaces are well-designed (for some inspiration, check out our article on biophilic touches in buildings). Co-living properties have it particularly tough. In these spaces, it's even a good idea to encourage roommates to stick to themselves rather than congregating in the shared areas of each suite. Even if you aren't sick, who knows whether your roommates are?   Using bookings and promoting services   There's no better time than now to promote services that are not barred from running, like food delivery, digital services, like remote education, online fitness, streaming or cleaning services. If your partner companies provide on-demand service directly in your property or space, use booking feature. Using chat   Despite the challenges of this type of living, though, there are still ways to make things a little easier while the going is tough. Communities with Spaceflow can use our chat functionality to coordinate grocery and supply runs, thus maximizing the number of people that can remain safely at home and avoiding pointlessly doubling up on shopping trips.   Using 'Join me for'   One thing except for chat that makes organizing things easier is Spaceflow's 'Join me for' feature. As a community manager or simply someone active in your community, you can easily create an event. Why not recommend everyone watch a selected movie in the security of their own bedroom, and share their thoughts and reviews in the comments in the app afterward? Also, you can share. For example, in our building Ressourcerækkerne, users invite others to delicious cakes and to stop-by in a near-by coffee place. In difficult times, communities are more important than ever. And we are hopeful as we see that people in residencies and co-living projects that use Spaceflow offer help to each other in the app during coronavirus outbreak.   Examples from our clients   Getting creative like that can be crucial to keeping residents as happy as possible during the outbreak. It's a very bad idea to organize community events within the apartment complex, but people can still have fun separately. Our recent article on maintaining a community while people are working from home has some great solutions, such as leveraging gamification, that residential managers can take advantage of as well.   Property managers of apartments and co-living properties can also take some inspiration from what one Spaceflow-enabled building, Gravity co-living in London, is doing during quarantine. Not to be deterred by the crisis, Gravity's managers have used Spaceflow to   stay in regular communication with their residents provide recommendations and reminders of partner businesses that could be useful during the outbreak, like cleaning services and food delivery kits, including discount codes. curate a list of online services that can help keep people stimulated and happy during the quarantine, such as online learning providers and virtual gym memberships.     Finally, Gravity's team did some particularly interesting: they planned a series of events. Not big in-person events, though, but rather virtual ones such as quiz and game nights that can be engaged with from the safety of the unit. Between Spaceflow and apps like Skype, any number of virtual events can easily be held in apartments large or small.   Just offering simple things like that can make all the difference for residents who may be paying top dollar expecting a great amenities package. While the primary goal of every property manager right now should be to keep their residents safe, there is no reason people can't have ease during this outbreak, as well. Have questions how you can use this in your property, community, membership club or any other type of space? Get in touch at [email protected] or simply sign up your space in 1 one minute here.

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PropTech will completely transform the way real estate works today

An interview with VINCENT VALLOIS MRICS, co-founder of Online Real Assets, the first real estate start-up hub in Central and Eastern Europe.

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Why every building should have a digital layer

When I co-founded Spaceflow four years ago, PropTech (Property Technology)  was just starting to get attention. Since then, the market has evolved massively. Back in 2016, we were lucky enough to be one of the first platforms for digitizing life in buildings. Even though other industries have been largely disrupted by technology (think Facebook, Uber, Netflix and Spotify), for a long time, the real estate market had no real pressure to quickly innovate, implement technologies or even conceive a digital strategy. This great paradox pushed me to introduce the benefits of technology to the industry, and since the beginning, we have had a chance to visit and speak at the PropTech events around the world.  From nice to need  Then 2020 came. The COVID-19 crisis has completely changed the perception and need for technology in every part of our lives and this time, including real estate. What does this mean for us? Buildings have to adapt to the new reality – we all must ensure we live and work in safe and healthy environments. Tech can help to facilitate this with touchless endpoints, occupancy monitoring, air quality data, access to real-time information and more. Landlords need to approach occupiers more closely and make data-driven decisions. One example could be building relationships via digital communication methods and implementing tenant satisfaction surveys to improve the occupier experience. New opportunities in post-COVID life, such as managing spaces as a service, introducing features that attract tenants, supporting flexible leases, and bringing in new sources of revenue when traditional ones get cut. On top of that, tenants now expect fully integrated products and best-in-class support. Believing that landlords can expect challenging times in 2021 and beyond is an understatement. At Spaceflow, we have learned that digital transformation is a process and clients need complete support in that journey. The results are oftentimes not visible overnight, but to bring long-term value, you need to have a strong foundation to build on. The same applies to the landlord-tenant relationship. I believe that the foundation for every building, whether it's an office, residential, or mixed-use project, is integrating data, technology, and people. So tenant experience platforms are quickly transforming from a nice-to-have (2019) to a need-to-have (2021).  To all the buildings out there, are you ready to face today's needs and expectations? I have been fortunate to experience firsthand the growth of PropTech over the past half decade. Nowadays, operators have tech solutions to practically the entire building cycle. In tenant-facing operations, that means single-use cases such as access systems, occupancy monitoring via IoT sensors, energy monitoring, tenant CRMs, and facility management tools. But to really have a strong value proposition, your solution needs to play a role in the entire building ecosystem. All buildings out there need one operating system for their occupiers. Occupiers shouldn’t be expected to have to jump between multiple apps to be able to use their space effectively. Therefore, tenant experience platforms have evolved as the main building integrator, and now play a critical role as an umbrella for almost every use case you could find in a building. This is where the digital journey starts.  Imagine renting an apartment or office. The whole process starts by signing a contract within the experience platform, which grants you immediate access to the entire building community. From there, the tenant experience platform allows you to open doors seamlessly with your phone without the need to use keycards, book a parking spot, invite a visitor, monitor your energy and water consumption, easily report issues to the landlord, order cleaning services, pay your rent, and even terminate the contract. The whole journey, your life in the building, in one place. Just think about how many buildings have none of these processes digitized. It's said that the first step is the hardest, but the rest is an amazing adventure. I believe every building in the world should consider this first ONE step in 2021 and implement a digital layer for occupiers. It’s time to leave the property inefficiencies of the past behind and create environments we all love to spend time in. Is your building up to date?  Lukas Balik, co-founder and CEO, Spaceflow.

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Creating a Full Building Experience Through the Digital Layer

We all know the feeling. When the weather outside is terrible but we are able to observe it only as spectators, safe and comfortable inside.

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