Posted January 22 on Unissu with the following editor’s Note:
If we are to achieve the necessarily ambitious carbon emission goals currently being rolled out by the world’s nations, it’s going to take extraordinary levels of collaboration and coordination between private and public organisations. But what does this collaboration look like? How does it come about? And who is overseeing and advising the progress to ensure all efforts are heading in the required direction? Milan Bogár, makes his return to Unissu Themes to lay it all out for us. 


Sustainability is my personal favourite ‘Why’ with regards to my wanting to support PropTech development wisely. I fully realised it during the World Workplace Meets Facility for the Future (WWMFF) conference in Amsterdam last year, after which we visited the impressive new-generation smart building Olympic Edge. This unobtrusive building offers so many unique sustainable and technological solutions, stirring healthy and productive emotions that are certainly worth spreading worldwide.

What else, apart from sustainability, should we support more? Without sustainability there will be neither sustainable property business nor business at all, without doubt. When global climate development trajectories are indicating such bad predictions it becomes clear that without change in overall human behaviour, including the whole society, PropTech alone will not save us. Do not get me wrong, I believe PropTech can significantly increase our chances in many ways, but not all by itself, for sure.

Without sustainability there will be neither sustainable property business nor business at all, without doubt.

Only long-lasting collaborative culture, engaging the whole society, can lead to us successfully coping with the global challenges of sustainability. With the adoption of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 subsequent targets the whole society collaboration, including public-private partnerships, became even more prominent. If compared with the UN millennium goal for 2000-2015, mainly directed at governments and developing countries, SDGs for 2016-2030 are directed at all countries and many more stakeholders than just governments, including the private sector. Forming the public-private partnerships and enabling the participation of all relevant stakeholders and citizens is the crucial difference.

But how to ensure the essential collaborative culture?

In October, we were able to watch, in Slovakia, the presentation of Rhonda Binda from New York, who is a very experienced professional with international background and a track-record of helping a number of sustainable smart cities, regions and communities. She pointed out several success factors for building successful and sustainable communities. In her opinion, these are usually built around public private partnerships that not only include the public sector and, of course, the private sector, but also community groups and academia.

First of all, it is community engagement, where all community stakeholders, especially leaders, need to be involved on every necessary step of the way. The stakeholders must share the same core values, vision, and mission.
The second success factor lies on three technology and infrastructure pillars supporting up to 100% connectivity enabling deployment of all the needed technologies, 100% mobility and 100% resiliency including sustainability.
The third critical success factor lies in policy and funding, where establishing a venture fund financed by the state, city, or private partners is recommended. Policy should be supported by passing progressive regulations supporting sustainability while all factors should become conscious via proper education across the whole community and related generations.

Last but not least, Rhonda encouraged us to look at usage of global platforms like the one used by the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC), a global initiative focused on facilitation and a smooth transition to smart sustainable cities. U4SSC serves as a global platform to advocate for public policy and to encourage the use of ICTs to facilitate and ease the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 11, i.e. make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

U4SSC uses a platform facilitating collaboration called Solved Together. It was developed and is operated by company called Solved. With the help of the Solved Together platform (Platform as a Services), and thus without the need to develop its own solution, U4SSC was able to launch its branded and customised marketplace instantly and got access to on-demand expert advice and an agile workforce to tackle complex challenges and help create sustainable smart cities.

“Without change in overall human behaviour, PropTech alone will not save us”

With regard to collaboration with governments, last week, I got a newsletter containing a teaser to a very interesting report on E-governance Global Industry Landscape Overview 2019. The report describes two models of cooperation between GovTech start-ups and the governments.

The first one is ‘open’, typical for start-ups, SME enterprises, innovators, and entrepreneurs that are invited by governments to contribute their technologies and ideas. This model is stemming from the notion of GovTech as local phenomenon with its own policy, population, diversity, stability, etc. and also the tech companies are predominantly local.

The second one is ‘closed’ (or traditional) and it is based on building the public sector systems in-house or by large IT corporations. In the closed model, the government develops the services and IT corporations and start-ups provide the tools. Selection of the specific models depends on the priorities and the approach of each government, whether it is global or local.

Where can GovTech and PropTech overlap? Overlapping services can be seen in all 4 GovTech areas illustrated in the report:

E-government with widening digital tools from e-identity to e-participation encompassing transparent e-information, e-consultations positively impacting the whole urban planning and construction process up to e-decision-making, etc.
Smart city with numerous sensors and disaster monitoring, energy savings, waste management, etc.
CrimeTech encompassing cyber security, smart recognition and identification, etc. and Government management focused on longevity technologies as a priority, e-health, e-schools, various sensors and IoT technologies as well.
All in all, GovTech constitutes a driver of change inducing governments to reimagine themselves, their functions, and relationships with citizens ensuring sustainable future as well as PropTech should constitute a driver of change for construction and real estate sector.

Although GovTech and PropTech are not the same, there can be seen a relevant overlap. Sensoneo (smart waste management), the winner of the Proptech Start-Up Europe Award, was placed among 100 global GovTechs and Martin Basila, CEO of Sensoneo, was ranked among 40 GovTech influencers of 2019 according to the report. It seems a very good example of successful collaborative culture on Sensoneo’s part. Congratulations.