AB: In your article “Why Physical space matters more than ever” you talk about the fact that the more we are isolated by technology, the more we yearn to see other people.
How do you see this trend reflected in the current real estate emerging models.
DP: Interactions with other humans are central to the value proposition of the fastest growing real estate businesses. WeWork and The Office Group brought community into the workplace; Common and Starcity are creating shared residential communities; and AirBnB allows you to share a home and access authentic experience with locals.
Co-working and co-living companies are able to draw people into buildings and locations that were previously considered inferior or too far. The presence of other people is one of the main attractions. In a way, people are becoming amenities. In the same way that retailers in a shopping mall like to be next to other good brands that reflect and enhance their value, so it is with individuals: We want to be next to other people who can help us grow, share our values, reaffirm our view of ourselves.
AB: With Splacer, we created a new revenue channel for space owners , how do believe emerging technologies will enable space operators to monetize physical space in new and creative ways.
DP: Each of us visits dozens of virtual (web) sites every day to keep in touch with friends and colleagues, catch up with the news, or just pass the time. Most of these sites are free. Their business models are based on tracking our behavior. This could be monetized through advertising, referrals to affiliated retailers, or encouraging us to upgrade to a premium offering.
Artificial Intelligence can now be applied to video footage and a variety of other sensors that would allow the operators of physical space to get a deep understanding of their “users” – who is here, what are they talking about, which parts of the space do they like to spend time in, what are they holding, what makes their heart race, and whether they are smiling or frowning.
This wealth of data will facilitate the migration of online business models to the offline world. It also introduces a variety of ethical concerns.
AB: As an architect Im very much interested in the future of space design and how it will be manifested according to new consumption models. What do you think will change and how in particular the ability to access and collect data as a monetizing tool will influence space design and value?
DP: I think that once data becomes a major business for real estate company, we might see a backlash or response from customers. This means that people will want to have spaces that are completely private and not “tracked”. People will be willing to pay a premium for such spaces, in the same way to pay premium for online web sites in order to avoid ads and tracking.
This might mean that all the open spaces and glass partitions that are popular these days will disappear and be replaced with solid white walls… just like in the old days.