Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2016 - Page 71

Photos: Pekka Rousi Aulanko Goes Digital The Annual Convention of Property Investment Prospects was held again on 5th and 6th November 2015 in Hämeenlinna, Finland. Assembled in beautiful Aulanko, the convention is the biggest annual event for the Finnish real estate business. A lways a highlight for industry professionals around the country, the Annual Convention did not disappoint this year either, combining current issues and interesting presentations with efficient networking and a relaxed atmosphere. Providing a follow-up to last year’s startup roundup, new and innovative companies – who are targeting their products/ services to the real estate sector – were very much in the limelight at Aulanko. Furthermore, five startups got to pitch their ideas to the audience. Breaking Down Digitalisation Matti Heiskanen, Director for KTI Kiinteistötieto Oy, remarked that even as the real estate industry has a reputation of being rather conservative, there are new innovations coming down the pipeline all the time. “Talking with people here in Aulanko, many feel that ‘digitalisation’ as a word is as good as useless – we must take that word apart and find out what it really means for this industry.” Pekka Ahola from Solita remarked that the old rules have been upgraded a bit: while the customer is still the king, it’s digitalization that rules the kingdom. “Digitalisation is definitely more about possibilities than threats. That genuine change that will transform an industry often comes from outside,” said Ahola. Free Your Mind Furthermore, every industry goes through the digitalization process at its own pace. Still, adjusting the mindset to a more digifriendly mode goes a long way to facilitating change. “Technology is the easy part in this transformation,” Ahola pointed out. Hanna Kivelä, the Head of Google Finland, commented that as ways to use data and connectivity keep increasing, the waves are felt in the real estate industry, too. This can mean, for instance, smart houses that monitor the location of the inhabitants even when they’re outside the house. “The household systems can detect a family member driving down the road, com- ing home from, say, buying groceries, and automatically adjust the temperature and other systems.” Make the Commitment Still, this digital future won’t materialise if companies do not seek to be pioneers in the field. Kivelä quotes a McKinley study which assessed that companies should stop experimenting and fully commit themselves to digital business. Päivi Sutinen from the City of Espoo talked about the “city as a platform for digitalisation” which faces serious challenges. A municipality is not a company: when companies get new customers, they make more money, but when municipalities get more customers – people using services ranging from hospitals to libraries 8