Global experts share their know-how at PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit

Romesh Navaratnarajah12 Nov 2018

Keynote speaker ARES 2018 crop

Keynote speaker Andrew Staples from the Economist Corporate Network shared his regional strategic forecast for Asia’s property market.

The 2018 PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit (ARES) took place last week (8-9 Nov), with over 15 global experts in property technology (PropTech), big data, smart cities, e-commerce, digital innovation and Internet of Things (IoT) attending the prestigious event at The Athenee Hotel in Bangkok.

The start of the two-day event saw the opening keynote speaker share his regional strategic forecast for Asia’s property market. He was none other than Andrew Staples, editorial director and chief economist of the Economist Corporate Network.

More: How Smart Cities Could Improve Quality Of Life In Southeast Asia

JLL’s chief information officer George Thomas followed with his keynote entitled “The past, present and future of PropTech”.

Arup Singapore’s head of cities and planning team Chintan Raveshia, who is an expert on masterplanned developments and smart cities strategisation, delivered the day’s final keynote on “How city design must adapt for success in the 21st century?”

The first day of the event was chaired by author and Asian hospitality expert Bill Barnett, who is also the managing director of C9 Hotelworks. Other experts also held talks on Day 1.

For instance, McKinsey & Company’s vice-president of IoT for Asia Ani Bhalekar tackled “Tech for the future – Digitalising Construction”.’s CEO Carrie Law discussed “Virtual Reality in property marketing is over – what’s next?” Hitachi Consulting’s global client partner Andrew Hamilton talked about “How we use IoT in smart cities?”

Moreover, there were panel discussions on “Demystifying Big Data” and “Fintech in Asian property”.

The former was moderated by Paul Ashburn, BDO managing partner in Thailand. The three panellists comprised Smart Dubai’s strategic planning advisor Dr Okan Geray, One Bangkok’s director of smart cities & sustainability Anthony Arundell, and CBRE’s regional managing director for Southeast Asia, Vikram Kohli.

The second panel discussion was moderated by Benedict Lim, member of the PropertyGuru Asia Property Awards (Singapore) judging panel. The panellists comprised Savills’ CEO for Southeast Asia Christopher J. Marriott, FinFabrik’s co-founder and COO Dr Florian M. Spiegl, and fintech advisor Phonpimol Pathomsak.

Finally, PropertyGuru’s chief technology officer Manav Kamboj moderated the panel discussion on “Innovation and entrepreneurship in Asian property technology”. The panellists comprised HOMA’s founder and chief executive and Pennie Lim, HUBBA’s chief strategy officer Archawat Chareonsilp, and Jostein Aksnes, founder and CEO of Property Flow and 7 Peaks Software.

Kamboj also handed out the inaugural PropertyGuru Tech Innovation Award, which honours innovative work of technology firms in the real estate sector. The recipient is igloohome, a Singapore-based startup established in 2016 that develops smart locks.

“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,” said Kamboj.

Meanwhile, Day 2 of the summit focused on smart and global cities, with keynote sessions by ASEAN Economic Community’s deputy secretary-general Dr. Aladdin D. Rillo and PLP Architecture’s Ron Bakker, the designer of Amsterdam’s The Edge, which is touted as the world’s most sustainable office building.

The summit’s platinum sponsors comprised Altair and CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd, with Thailand Bureau of Congresses and Exhibitions (TCEB) supporting the event. Media partners included the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Oxford Business Group, Unissu, Techsauce, and PropertyGuru Property Report magazine.

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Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email


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