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Digitalising Property Sector Takes Centre Stage at PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit 2018

More than 15 global experts in property technology, big data, smart cities, e-commerce and digital innovation trooped to Thailand for the opening of the PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit on Thursday, 8 November 2018, at The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Bangkok.

The first day of the conference featured several global keynote speakers and was chaired by author and Asian hospitality expert Bill Barnett, managing director of C9 Hotelworks. PropertyGuru's managing director Terry Blackburn delivered the welcoming remarks.

Sharing his regional strategic forecast was the opening keynote speaker Andrew Staples, PhD, the editorial director and chief economist of the Economist Corporate Network, who flew in to Bangkok specifically for this summit. Staples is also a published author with well-received book such as 'Asian Inward and Outward FDI: New Challenges in the Global Economy.

JLL's chief information officer George Thomas, who heads the consultancy firm's Technology, Data & Information Management team in Asia Pacific, followed with his keynote "The past, present and future of PropTech" and illustrated how much progress the proptech sector would have achieved in the next five years.

The final keynote of Day 1, "How city design must adapt for success in the 21st century," was delivered during the afternoon session by Chintan Raveshia, lead of the Cities and Planning team at Arup Singapore. The 15-year veteran is an expert on masterplanned precincts and mixed-use developments, smart cities strategisation, urban landscapes regeneration, and transit-oriented development design, and has lent his expertise to modern transport projects in the United Kingdom, Sydney, and the city of Kocaeli in Turkey.

Day 1 also featured expert talks sessions by Ani Bhalekar, vice-president of IoT, Asia at McKinsey & Company ("Tech for the future - Digitalising Construction"); Carrie Law, CEO and director at ("Virtual Reality in property marketing is over - what's next?"); and Andrew Hamilton, global client partner at Hitachi Consulting ("How we use IoT in smart cities").

In addition, Day 1 also tackled big data, with Paul Ashburn, managing partner of BDO in Thailand, moderating the panel discussion aptly titled "Demystifying Big Data," featuring Dr Okan Geray, strategic planning advisor for Smart Dubai; Anthony Arundell, director of Smart Cities & Sustainability at One Bangkok; and Vikram Kohli, regional managing director for Southeast Asia at CBRE.

Meanwhile, Benedict Lim, Ernst & Young's managing director of Southeast Asia Real Estate, moderated the conversation on "Fintech in Asian property" with panellists Christopher J. Marriott, Savills' CEO for Southeast Asia; Dr Florian M. Spiegl, co-founder and COO at FinFabrik; and fintech advisor Phonpimol Pathomsak.

Returning for its fourth annual edition on 8-9 November 2018, this year's Asia Real Estate Summit was hosted at The Athenee Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, in Bangkok. The fast-paced format included a series of keynote speeches, panel discussions, presentations, breakout sessions and networking opportunities.

At a press conference during Day 1, Hari V. Krishnan, Chief Executive Officer, PropertyGuru Group highlighted the steady growth in the Bangkok market based on supply and demand remaining largely balanced. He also mentioned population increases, a growing middle class and rising land prices as key market influencers."

Later in the afternoon, PropertyGuru Group's chief technology officer Manav Kamboj moderated the discussion on "Innovation and entrepreneurship in Asian property technology," which was joined by Jostein Aksnes, founder and CEO of Property Flow and 7 Peaks Software; Pennie Lim, founder and CEO of HOMA; Archawat Chareonsilp, chief strategy officer and corporate innovation director at HUBBA.

Kamboj also presented the inaugural PropertyGuru Tech Innovation Award - an accolade designed to recognise the innovative work of technology companies in the real estate industry - to igloohome, a Singapore-based smart lock tech startup firm founded in 2016.

"igloohome is thrilled to receive the first-ever Tech Innovation Award for our smart access solutions, and we are very much aligned with PropertyGuru's vision to shape the future of the property industry. We hope to continue to bring cutting-edge products to consumers, developers and businesses," said Anthony Chow, CEO and co-founder of igloohome. On this year's exciting summit and the PropertyGuru Tech Innovation Award selection, Kamboj said: "It's our honour to gather these global thought leaders and industry innovators at the 2018 PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit. Innovation indeed drives any industry and we will leverage what we've learned and discussed at this conference, so that we continue to be a trusted advisor to property seekers in the Southeast Asian region, and hopefully even beyond that." Day 2 of the summit on 9 November focused on smart and global cities, with keynote sessions by PLP Architecture's Ron Bakker, architect and designer of 'The Edge' in Amsterdam, and H.E. Dr. Aladdin D. Rillo, deputy secretary-general of the ASEAN Economic Community.

The PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit 2018 is supported by platinum sponsors Altair and CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd.; supporting authority Thailand Bureau of Congresses and Exhibitions (TCEB); and media partners Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Oxford Business Group, Unissu, Techsauce, and PropertyGuru Property Report magazine.

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