Let’s talk JLL, Iron Man and proptech

What is proptech? How are JLL Spark technologically leading the real estate industry? What’s its future importance? A little introduction to get you started.

August 06, 2021

From online shopping to healthcare systems, there’s no denying that new technologies are rife in almost every sector of our working and personal lives. In comparison, the real estate industry has lagged in the adoption of new technologies, therefore, JLL has taken steps to lead the industry by including technology in its business approaches.

This is where proptech comes in. Although the term is hard to define, we believe that ‘it’s how technology is used to create new opportunities in real estate. [1] This doesn’t necessarily mean brilliant pieces of software, electronics and machinery are built specifically for real estate, but rather how can technology be implemented and tailored to increase productivity and innovate work within the industry.

Out of the many proptech companies JLL has invested in, three examples come to mind – Turntide Technologies Inc., HqO and Disruptive Technologies. All these companies assist occupants in the optimisation of their buildings with greater efficiency.

Turntide Technologies Inc. revolutionised the common electric motor to be more efficient in producing energy. The company claims that their motors can reduce on average 64% of energy consumption[2], contributing to the global mission of fully relying on renewable resources. JLL tested these motors in a carpark over three weeks and found that an average of 38% on kWh could be saved and therefore recommended Turntide to replace existing motors in many of its assets[3]. It’s no surprise then that even an Avenger piqued interest in this startup too. Robert Downey Jr., alongside Bill Gates, were some who made headlines as investors in this technology[4] that is crucial to saving the Earth’s hunger for energy.

HqO is another company that has attracted investment from JLL Spark[5]. Headquartered in Boston, the proptech company’s platform increases tenants’ awareness of the building’s features and conveniences, such as in-house classes, retail and transportation close by. HqO’s all in one application aims to enhance the working environment by amplifying tenant engagement.

Disruptive Technologies created tiny stick-on sensors detecting specific information about an office environment. Linked to a ‘Cloud Connector’[6], users can monitor data such as temperature and humidity to assess what spaces are being maximised and future-plan to be more eco-friendly. These sensors are small in size, easy to install while being hugely informative, serving as effective solutions for replacing traditional bulky machinery.

These examples show how proptech can enhance office efficiency and lower occupancy costs. With JLL’s 2021’s Top 10 global Commercial Real Estate trends[7] predominantly focusing on how sustainability integrates with worker’s wellbeing, proptech helps facilitate this cohesion for the industry’s necessity to be more eco-conscious. Proptech is part of JLL’s initiative to modernise all aspects of company functions to meet future challenges of the industry head-on. Naturally, as the world relies more on technology to help solve contemporary issues such as climate change and increased global population density, real estate firms must be prepared to face these matters; the lack of technological tools shouldn’t be a barrier for solutions to help save the planet.

So as Iron Man built technology to help make the world safer in fiction, real estate is slowly but surely applying proptech to address environmental issues in non-fiction. JLL is trying to be a pioneer in innovating a new company-normal involving proptech to Build a Better Tomorrow.

[1] Source: JLL HK

[2] Source: Turntide Technologies Inc.

[3] Source: Turntide Technologies Inc., Case Study ‘Fortune 500 Company JLL Sees Big Savings in Energy Efficiency with Exhaust Fan Motor Upgrades’ (2020)

[4] Source: Rathi, A. 2021. ‘Robert Downey Jr. and Bill Gates Bet On Electric Motor Startup’. Bloomberg.

[5] ‘JLL Spark is a global venture fund investing in early to mid-stage property technology startups’

[6] Source: Disruptive Technologies

[7] Source: JLL