BANGKOK 21 November 2019 — The PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit officially kicked off its fifth year on Thursday (21 November 2019) at the prestigious Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok in Thailand with a gathering of high-level luminaries representing the increasingly homogenous convergence points of real estate and technology.
The first instalment of the two-day PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit convened more than 30 thought leaders, industry experts, and C-suite executives cutting across a broad spectrum of fields, encompassing architecture, artificial intelligence, audio-visual communication, augmented and virtual reality, big data, cloud computing, coworking and flexible spaces, data mining and analytics, design, digital and multimedia marketing, drone photography, green building, home sharing, infrastructure, logistics, quantum physics, renovation, robotics, urban development and planning, social networking, software development, telecommunications, wireless communications, and more.
Around 300 guests flocked Thursday to the Crystal Ballroom of The Athenee Hotel for the first day of the annual summit, a collocated event of the 14th PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards Grand Final (22 November). It is part of “PropertyGuru Week” that began Wednesday (20 November), with “Road to Gold”, a tour of select Asia Property Award-winning properties in Bangkok.
Presenting 12 insightful and fast-paced sessions by legendary names and technology disruptors, including five keynotes and six panel discussions, the first day of the PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit explored the running theme of “Connected Technology”.
Preceded by opening remarks by Jules Kay, managing director of the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards and Asia Real Estate Summit, the daylong affair launched with a keynote by Sylvester Wong, vice-president for strategies and development at global firm AECOM. Mining from his experience working with city clusters across Asia Pacific, the 20-year veteran of multidisciplinary planning practice touched on sustainable urban development, cross-border investments, the global economy, and market integration.
Tim Kobe, the founder and chief executive officer of experience design firm Eight Inc., was also in attendance to deliver a keynote on “humanising design”. One of the summit’s most anticipated speakers, the creator of the original Apple Store concept discussed universal design and strategic concepts, plus the evolution of technologies in the world of architecture.
Dr. Gang Lu also graced the PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit with his presence. The founder and chief editor of blog-turned-giant-innovation-platform TechNode.com presented a case study on making technology and information more accessible in mainland China, especially through his partnership with TechCrunch. He also talked about the top apps and software coming out of China.
Returning to present an update of his, The Economist Corporate Network’s editorial director and chief economist Andrew Staples gave an update on the repercussions of the US-China trade war, plus the socio-economic ramifications of “Digital Iron Curtain".
The 2019 summit also brought together the leading human capital driving the latest advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, and voice assistance.
The high-level conference served as a showcase of tēmi, one of the world's first, truly intelligent robots, created by Yossi Wolf, which was named one of TIME’s “best inventions of 2019”. Lim Wee Chiang, country manager of VOV International Co., Ltd, the exclusive partner of tēmi in Thailand, took the stage to introduce the personal robot.
Prof. Nadia Magnenat Thalmann, founder of MIRALab in the University of Geneva and creator of the social robot “Nadine”, was on hand for the panel discussion on tech disruptors, where she was joined by television presenter and educator Prof. Jason Pomeroy, founding principal of Pomeroy Studio and Pomeroy Academy; Joelle Chan, programme director at Beca Singapore and former Asia Pacific head of the World Green Building Council; and Stefan Rafael, co-founder and head of technology at the Melbourne-based One To One Displays, which featured a live projection space at the event.
IoT and proptech thought leader and pragmatist Charles Reed Anderson, host of the TechBurst Asia podcast, spoke at length about the smart city ecosystem in his keynote, separating the hype surrounding such communities from reality.
Tech evangelist Nick Myers, CEO of RedFox AI, joined IBM Technical Expert Council chair(woman) Petra Bührer in a panel discussing disruptive tech in the hands of young innovators. Moderated by Adam Dollner, founder and CEO of HubLearn and vice-president of the VR/AR Association (Bangkok Chapter), the panel also included Prof. Aileen Joan Opina-Vicente, developer of Philippines Property Award-winning fire hazard mapping project FireCheck, and Kribashini Shannon, co-founder and director of the BuildHer Collective in Australia.
In another discussion, Emma Felice, the viral content creator behind Tokidoki Traveller on YouTube, joined Rebeka Morgan, co-founder of BuildHer Collective, and Shailesh Goswami, co-founder and CEO of 3D visualisation company Foyr, to talk about various online engagement techniques for companies and the digitisation of storytelling, highlighting “authenticity” as the key ingredient. The panel was moderated by Tom Mitchell, founder and creative director of the critically acclaimed animation studio and creative agency Treacle.
In addition to smart cities, the PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit tackled the region's emerging tech, data centre, and logistics hubs in a panel discussion moderated by Wendy McEwan, head of marketing for communications and digital at Knight Frank Asia Pacific. AECOM’s Sylvester Wong participated as a panellist, alongside Ivan Lam, head of international business at Charter Keck Cramer; Leo Lo, founder of Asia PropTech; and Dr. Nirmal de Silva, director and CEO of Paramount Realty.
The PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit also gathered the region’s movers and shakers in the fields of telecommunications and wireless communications for a panel discussion on the deployment of 5G and how it will advance the creation of smart cities. Dr. Jesada Sivaraks, head of government and industry relations at Ericsson (Thailand) Company Limited joined a panel comprising Asnee Wipatawate, head of enterprise product and international service at AIS; David Nugent, founder of Samvada Inc.; and Lock Fan, head of venture capital at TechNode.
Ben Hamley, Asia-Pacific Lead for the Future of Work at JLL, moderated the panel comprising some of the influencers of the sharing economy, namely Archawat Chareonsilp, chief strategy officer of HUBBA Thailand; Catherine Ainsley, global head of partnerships of Stasher; Mich Goh, head of public policy for Southeast Asia at Airbnb; Mario Berta, chief executive officer of FlySpaces; and Sigrid Zialcita, CEO of the Asia Pacific Real Estate Association (APREA).
Emceed by famed radio presenter Tina Ryan, the PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit gave away prizes to lucky delegates, with prizes including an Apple Watch, DJI drone, Belkin wireless charger, and Philips Hue smart light set.
Attendees capped the day at The View Bar where they networked with peers over cocktails and vistas of the Bangkok skyline, with another lucky draw winner taking home a 2019 Apple iPad.
The 2019 PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit was supported by official innovation partners FlySpaces, Foyr, and One To One Displays; official video partner Treacle; official MICE partner Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB); official data partner Unissu; official podcast channel TechBurst Asia; official magazine PropertyGuru Property Report; supporting associations Asia Pacific Real Estate Association (APREA), and Prop-tech.ie, and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS); and media partners Nikkei Asian Review, TechSauce, Oxford Business Group, BrandNow.Asia, APAC Real Estate, CMO Asia, Robb Report Thailand, CHGToday.com, Mingtiandi, Disrupt.Asia, Asia Proptech, APAC CIO Outlook, Pacific Rim Construction, and The Wall Street Journal.