New Proptech, BIoT to Help Smart Cities Stay Secure

Cities in the Asia Pacific are getting smarter, but they need to get ready for increasing cybersecurity risks said the new report Clicks and Mortar: The Growing Influence of Proptech.

Commissioned by JLL and authored by start-up community Tech In Asia, the report analyses the convergence of real estate and technology in 13 markets across the region and the ways that emerging technologies are being applied to connect urban real estate, infrastructure, and services.

"Property technology – or proptech – is a key tool in the future development of cities and we in the real estate business have a vital role to play, particularly in smart property development and management. Digital infrastructure investment is increasingly important for cities to create more livable environments and attract and retain the best talent," Albert Ovidi, JLL Asia Pacific COO said in a press release.

“But considering the region’s acceleration in the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) and high reliance on data collection and analysis, it’s imperative for smart cities to develop effective safeguards against cyber risk.”

Potential pitfalls

According to the report, as the real estate industry becomes more technologically advanced, it has increased exposure to such risks. Though many proptech startups service the residential market, the commercial sector is not immune. In fact, property owners and tenants face pressures due to the rise of smart buildings where they have building management systems on their smartphones.

“Many of the exciting innovations being developed in the proptech sector, such as smart home controls or drones for property management, have the potential to improve user experience, and save time, money and energy,” George Thomas, JLL Asia Pacific CIO said.

“As a firm, we are committed to harnessing the latest technology to provide new products and services for our clients. But we also have to consider the implications of data security and privacy as the sector evolves.”

BIoT – a new technology to combat risks?

Along with the continued development of advanced proptech tools, cyber policy initiatives are underway across the Asia Pacific region, as governments work towards reinforcing domestic information systems security, collaborating with international partners for intelligence sharing, improving threat identification, and protecting critical infrastructure.

In what could be one of the most impressive tech trends in 2018, the convergence of blockchain and IoT (BIoT) may be one solution to combating cyber risks. BIoT is expected to unleash a new range of services and businesses, among which smart buildings and homes would benefit. BIoT would allow real-time access to data from sensors, with blockchain offering protection. Most importantly, it would build trust, reduce the time and accelerate transactions.

"As the proptech space evolves there are huge opportunities for real estate owners and occupiers,"  Ovidi said.

"Smarter cities and workplaces bring incredible prospective value. But in order to reap their full benefits, we have to prioritize systemic resiliency to ensure we manage the potential risks," he added.