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MIPIM 2019: Technology is Great

As we collect our thoughts from a very productive week at MIPIM 2019, we wanted to share our reflections and appreciation for those who enabled our presence at one of the biggest events in the real estate calendar.

This was our first year at MIPIM, and we were unsure what to expect – how responsive would global companies from the world of property be to a company like Vanti telling them they’d fall behind if they didn’t embrace a different way of working? Fortunately, we were pleasantly surprised! It seems that the industry has taken significant steps forward in recent months and is finally waking up to the importance of a more integrated approach to building technology.

We had many conversations with property business leaders who acknowledged that they needed to do something more to meet the demands of occupants and end users, but had little idea where to begin. This is something we can definitely empathise with – there are so many companies of all shapes and sizes offering all manner of building technology that it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. As a Masters Systems Integrator, one of the biggest points of value we offer is the ability to take a holistic view and help people translate their business objectives into technology that offers both a solid return on their investment and a great user experience.

There was definitely an increased awareness at MIPIM that developers need to skill up in tech if they are to remain competitive, as demand is clearly increasing for higher-spec buildings. This matches our own experience dealing with the real estate industry – whereas a few years ago there was more resistance to ‘smart’ technology because it was difficult for developers and investors to quantify the value it would provide (and therefore how much impact it would have on their own yields), there is a much greater sense that quality integrated technology does represent a significant benefit for all stakeholders. There’s definitely still work to be done in terms of how we can value the impact of technology, but at least there’s now a willingness to address the issue.

As a company that’s incredibly committed to creating an inclusive working environment ourselves, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the notable lack of diversity at MIPIM. We have plenty of experience in dealing with inequality in the tech industry (which is why we’re such ardent supporters of initiatives like DIDFest), but it was slightly disappointing to see that the real estate sector has just as far to go. Fortunately, steps are being taken in the right direction – this MIPIM saw the launch of CBRE and RICS’s progressive new book, entitled ‘Managing Diversity and Inclusion in the Real Estate Sector‘. Additionally, both the Department for International Trade and the West Midlands Growth Company had zero panels featuring only men. We’re glad there’s awareness that there’s plenty of work to be done in this area; hopefully next year’s event will paint a different picture.

It was great to spend the week with some companies who shared our vision for buildings of the near future, and we fully believe that the UK offers a really strong proposition for becoming a global leader in this space. It’s relatively early days, and requires a huge shift in the way developers and other stakeholders work, but it seems that the industry is definitely waking up to the sizable benefits offered by a more connected and holistic approach to technology within the built environment.

Finally, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Department for International Trade and the West Midlands Growth Company, both of whom massively contributed to our productive week at MIPIM. They introduced us to some fantastic connections and really helped us get the most out of our first visit. We’d also like to extend our thanks to our friends at Engage Works and Yondr, both of whom were instrumental to our involvement in this event. The Government Pavilion was a really great base for us to meet potential partners and clients, and we’re honoured that we were able to be part of the UK’s showcase.