top of page

Building a Brave New World of Commercial Real Estate - An Asian Perspective

The coronavirus pandemic can be seen as a wake-up call to society at large, specifically the real estate leaders about how important technology and the digitalisation of the planet is what allows us to maintain resistance. Technologies including those advances in artificial intelligence, remote sensors and drones, service robots, remote engagement platforms and many more are now serving vital role in monitoring ‘lockdown’ situation, tracking the virus spread and maintaining communication between the authorities with their people.

Covid-19, this unexpected problem reveals that the lack of investment in new technologies by our society; and the fact that our buildings, townships and cities are still not as digitalised as it should be to face that kind of disasters and that the need for smart cities is present and very real.

from CRBE report

According to a Savills Hong Kong report titled “Covid-19 and Regional Property Markets” published in March 2020, two major concerns for regional real estate markets are changes in the uses of real estate and values placed on this real estate by investors and end-users.

Technology has been the biggest disruptor of real estate in the past decade, with more consumers relying on smart devices, which increases the demand for seamless and responsive services and products. As a result, this has not only affected the retail and logistics sector but also other asset classes.

The question begged is what happens next. While some may look to muscle their way into distressed assets, it’s very possible the commercial real estate market will never look the same.


Where Technology meets Real Estate

Thermal imaging systems are being paired with other tech like facial recognition, movement predictive algorithms and data tracking to help contain the virus. Researchers and engineers in Taiwan acted quickly together to create a management system for coordinating health and travel data. The brave new world for real estate should adopt the new normal for mankind which includes real time symptomatic screening and real estate digital infrastructure interoperability with public health system for contact tracing. The real estate associations may engage with government stakeholders that commercial building with health screenings and automated systems may have privilege of business operations/continuity.

In this pandemic, even the United States is still playing catch-up. The administration has yet to initiate public-private coordination to build a resilient digital infrastructure against the epidemic. By contrast the Asian countries has been doing reasonably well and the same momentum should be applied into the real estate.


Asia leads the race in smart hotel technology

“As the hospitality industry moves toward a manpower-lean model, we are witnessing a rise in the number of ‘smart hotels’ globally. "

In this sector, technology primarily serves as a tool to enhance productivity, improve resource allocation, and replace low value tasks, but never to replace the human touch.”

Efficiency aside, hotels also turn to technology as a way of managing costs in a capital intensive industry, especially for the budget mid-scale segments where room rates are more competitive.

Ultimately technology is increasingly expected in hotels rather than being a nice-to-have feature nowadays, especially for the travellers in Asia and from Asia. If hotel companies do not adapt, they will be left behind.

Some of the innovations currently in place in the region include robots or kiosks allowing for automated check in the case of Japan or artificial intelligence apps and tools to handle the customer service and room service offerings of hotels such as ordering of food or other services like massage or housekeeping. With the rise of coworking spaces , several new concepts

are popping up which fused the idea of coworking spaces, with the ambiance of a hostel, and the openness of an incubator of entrepreneurial ideas.

It’s not just tech companies trying to inject their products. Hotel chains are hungry for more innovation to speed up efficiency and improve customer experience whereby technology is helping the service industry to meet its resourcing requirements.

Hotel owners can use analytics for IoT to find out when guests leave their rooms so you can turn off lights and lower room temperatures. It can detect when they’re back to turn on those same lights and increase the temperature to the previous level.

Below, for example, is a IoT Analytics dashboard for maintenance and guest experience teams, which shows room maintenance statuses and lighting or temperature preferences.


Rusmin Lawin

A Global Entrepreneur, welknown as Global Ambassador of Real Estate Indonesia in promoting Indonesia real estate sector to the world.

Chairman and Founder of Felix Land Indonesia and Big Ben Capital London.

He holds key positions in various business organization and association locally and internationally. Currently he is Founder and Chairman of Indonesia Proptech Association, the Vice President of Real Estate Indonesia for International Affairs and Vice President of FIABCI Asia Pacific . He is also a President of Indonesia Hong Kong Business Association Northern Sumatra Region and Board of Director of World FIABCI 2019-2022 , since 2016 he was appointed as a special advisor to FIABCI World President for Japan and another precious position was appointed as World FIABCI Representative to United Nation Geneva 2109-2020. Recently he was appointed as the special hand in charge of foreign affairs of Minister of National Development Planning of Republic of Indonesia (2019-2024 ) Hon.DR.Suharso Monoarfa.


bottom of page