‘Proptech’ coming to Thailand

In this Oct 10, 2016 file photo, Anuphong Assavabhokhin (left), CEO of AP (Thailand) and Yong Chul Jo, president of Thai Samsung Electronics Co, introduce the app to control home appliances and equipment under the AP Intelligent Living concept. (Photo supplied by AP (Thailand) Plc)

Technology has played a larger role in property development in Thailand, both in the home and building management.

Real estate is one of the few industries today that have been less reliant on technology in providing its range of services. Currently, much of its focus on technology has been geared towards easing the transaction and financing processes via websites such as Hipflat, Renthub and DDProperty Thailand.

However, it is also important to consider how property technology, known as proptech, enhances user experiences when performing basic functions at home and for building management.

In Thailand, proptech innovations have only begun to emerge in recent years. Last year, three developers took initiatives to introduce proptech to the Thai property industry.

Ananda Development launched Ananda Urban Tech, a venture capital arm, to invest in funds and start-ups. The fund aims to foster a proptech ecosystem through “hackathons”, events where developers meet to explore various types of innovative ideas with the use of technology. The goal is to ultimately invest in chosen tech start-ups with the potential to create a positive impact on the urban lifestyle.

For example, the winners of the recent pitching competition introduced “Jiro”, an artificial-intelligence robot that monitors the elderly with unstable behavioural tendencies. The robot tracks a patient’s movements and immediately informs the caretaker in cases of emergencies.

AP (Thailand) Plc has taken a different route, collaborating with Samsung Electronics to introduce “AP Intelligent Living” for its customers of the Bang Klang Muang Classe and Rhythm Sathorn residential projects.

They will be the first to implement Alexa voice-command technology. This platform will allow residents to control all home appliances — TV, lighting, air conditioners and even plug sockets — using voice or the AP Intelligent Living mobile application anywhere and at any time.

SC Asset Corporation has also ventured into proptech by creating “SC Able” to strengthen its after-sales services. It has invested in the Fixzy application, a start-up online platform that matches home owners with a variety of repairmen and technicians.

Even though Thailand is gradually progressing with proptech innovations, other countries illustrate how much more advanced technology can be applied at homes.

Machine learning has enabled simple home appliances to become interactive with users, replicating one’s behaviour and catering specifically to their lifestyle. For instance, US-based tech company, NestLabs, launched smart thermostats which record and detect a person’s schedule of use, automatically programming the temperature unique to the user’s preferences.

This is both energy-efficient and convenient for users, as the task no longer needs to be performed manually. Other applications, such as light sensors that detect one’s movement or elevators that are switched off when not in use, are basic examples of proptech that aims to bring efficiency to homes across the world.

As countries begin to adopt proptech in newer and more unique ways, it will cater more effectively to a range of demographics.

Notably, millennials, who tend to be more receptive to technological change, may be more susceptible to the idea of using a phone to control their appliances. At the same time, older-generation homeowners will adopt simple-to-use technology but at a slower rate.

The other use of proptech is in the management of buildings. Ever since the advent of the desktop computer, there have been building automation systems to make property management more efficient.

Often in the past, these have been complicated to use. One of the ways that proptech will change property management is that equipment will be able to self-diagnose problems and automatically report to the building manager, maintenance contractor, or in some cases, the manufacturers, of any faults or when maintenance is due.

Technology is being incorporated and is changing many services and products. The property industry will be no exception, and users will start to demand certain features and functions.

At this early stage, it is too soon to tell which will be essential requirements from investors and occupiers and which will turn out to be temporary gimmicks that are not adopted.

Aishwarya Bajaj and Pattaratorn Pornsirikul are analysts at CBRE Research and Consulting, CBRE Thailand. They can be reached at     LinkedIn:  and website: 

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