On track to becoming one of the world’s ‘smartest’ cities, Dubai is hungry for innovation in the property sector
As Dubai works towards its urban innovation goals through integration of smart technologies across the public and private sectors, companies are taking the lead in creating and using methods that reduce costs and promote efficiency. The property industry is one sector ripe for disruption; as key players look to streamline current models and in turn ensure investors have a smooth and reliable handover.
Smarter, greener, more connected buildings
Dubai has proven itself again as the ideal business hub for large international groups and start-ups alike, with the release of the new Saad artificial intelligence service. The brain-child of Smart Dubai and the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED), and built with IBM's Watson software, the service allows individuals and businesses to ask questions or clarification about Dubai's business licensing and registration procedures and processes, giving real-time responses to questions within moments.
“With competition increasing in the build-up to Expo 2020, Dubai’s developers must fight harder than ever before to maintain desired levels of sales velocity,” says Matthew Green, Head of Research and Consulting at CBRE Middle East.
One new demand that property developers are taking into consideration is increased awareness of green efficiency, with IoT technologies now becoming the standard for regulating energy and water use in future properties. This process has been helped along by municipal initiatives as far back as 2011, with Dubai’s Green Building Regulations & Specification plan outlining mandatory requirements for all projects.
As a result, Dubai is already considered one of the region’s greenest cities when it comes to urban planning, topping a 2016 Smart Building survey by multinational technology firm Honeywell. According to the results, two-thirds of LEED-certified buildings in the GCC region are located in the UAE.
The market for IoT systems in residential properties is also on the rise as homeowners and smaller-scale investors recognise their long-term value – especially in air conditioning-dependent Dubai. Installing sensors that identify problems such as blocked AC vents; regulate airflow across apartment floors; and then collect data on this process, will allow for facilities management companies to better serve property owners and building residents.
Meeting the challenge of affordable housing
Matthew Green notes that developers in the region are also using modular precast construction technologies for large scale, lower cost projects, in order to “tap into potential latent demand for affordable housing”.
With affordability increasing as a deciding factor for new buyers in Dubai, the city is set to see a proliferation of budget-conscious developments like Jumeirah Village Triangle in coming years – and developers are looking to technologies like 3D printing to help demand.
Early experiments with 3D printing in Dubai suggest it may offer a speedy solution. ‘The Office of the Future’ – the world’s fully-functional 3D printed building – was constructed in the city in May 2016, as part of the government’s Dubai 3D Printing Strategy that aims to see 25 per cent of Dubai’s buildings based on 3D printing technology in 2030.
One private company investing heavily in this technology is Dubai-based Cazza Construction Technologies, proposing projects such as a “crane-printed” skyscraper and the implementation of robots to create a 200m2 house in a single day. With new technologies giving the property industry an invigorating shot in the arm, it’s the perfect time to explore opportunities in the global-facing, innovative landscape of Dubai.Cityscape 2017, held at Dubai World Trade Centre from 11 to 13 September, offers the chance to connect with service providers, developers and investors to share knowledge and gain industry insight.