Reflections from Realcomm Europe 2009

Earlier this week I spent a couple of days in London attending the second Realcomm Europe event and meeting up with great people from the world.

First of all, congratulations to Jim Young and Howard Berger for putting this event together. I very much believe there is a need for such events. The 'IT-in-real-estate-industry' can't complain that no one sees the benefits of our solutions if we are not creating/supporting as many channels as possible to communicate our offers. It's like Christmas, if you don't give, you want receive. 

So the Realcomm team; it's we that say Thank You.

The size
There were some 140 people attending the conference, which of roughly half were from property companies. The rest were software suppliers, consultants and media. In addition there were some 10 exhibitors.

A rather small event considering that an IT-in-property-day in Sweden a few months ago also attracted some 100+ attendees. (Sweden is one 6th of UK in terms of population.)

The content
A challenge in organising an 'IT-in-the-real-estate-industry' event is that the area covers everything from Intelligent building to board room reports (including CRM, tenant reporting, marketing, property management, valuation, market information and so on). Which makes it extremely challening to put together a compelling set of presentations.

From my perspective the most interesting reflections of the day where;

'Boardroom quality dashboard online and update'
An interesting discussion took of regarding why the 'upper' management doesn't push the reporting to be more up to date than a paper report that has data that is maybe up to a month old. "Why not a screen with all the up to date data?".

The battle of an XML standard in the industry
The standard is there. Who is stopping it? The lack of interest from the clients or the software suppliers defending it's market shares? There seems to be some differences why it takes so long..

... but the banks will solve the standard issue
Stephen Spooner, Executive Chairman of PISCES, had a great presentation pointing out the current financial crisis will have "a number of regulations coming in" and "lenders need data to analyze the tenants". All this detailed data will then also be requested to be updated. In other words, "the lenders will push the evolution!".

Innovation... finally
The biggest innovation at the event didn't come from the presenters, but the organisers.

 At the final session, the Realcomm team gave out TurningPoint audience response system devices and ran a series of questions. That really sparked the conversations.

Great innovation!
Next year maybe the attendees will push it start using Twitter as a backchannel... Well, one day it happen. (Like for the standard format!) The residential brokers are already doing it.