Last night groups of technologist were huddled around their laptops feverishly putting last touches on their products at The Rudin Family Project’s Forty One Madison Avenue. While this might be a common scene in Manhattan, one of the largest office markets in the world, this particular gathering was quite unique. The technologist were joined by some of the most influential people in New York City real estate (although most of them were drinking and socializing over mini-sandwiches) for The Real Estate Board of New York’s 2nd hackathon. This competition is meant to find, mentor and hopefully deploy some of the best new technologies for the property industry. The gathering was a final culmination of months worth of sorting through entries and facilitating collaboration between the builders and users of tomorrow’s PropTech.
This was the second time that REBNY has held a hackathon but this one was very different from the first. In an effort to cast the widest net possible for the discovery process REBNY partnered with hackathon experts Devpost to use their virtual platform, effectively allowing developers (of software not buildings) from all over the world to submit their solutions. This brought in applications from all over the world. The competition featured 44 submissions by 82 participants from across the United States and Canada. There were international competitors submitting from as far away as Bulgaria, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Spain, Great Britain, Israel, Singapore, India, the Philippines and Zimbabwe.
The competitors were then asked to demonstrate these products at last nights event for a chance to win a cash prize and maybe more importantly even greater access to REBNY’s powerful members.
After all the presentation had been made, follow up questions had been answered and mini-sandwiches had been devoured it was time to announce the winners for each of the four categories: AEC, blockchain, operations, and commercial brokerage.
For the AEC technologies (or architecture, engineering, construction/design for those not into the whole brevity thing) the winner was StructionSite. This automated 3D capture of construction sites impressed judges with its ability to help contractors better understand a job site and track the changes as the work progresses.
The blockchain category was won by CredsBlockv an “on-chain” way for the real estate industry to verify and share information about identity and reputation. The simple interface and collaborative nature of this product was likely quite appealing to members of an organization like REBNY who’s 16,000 participating members own approximately 275 million square feet of commercial office space and more than 200,000 residential rental units in New York City.
The operations category was won by a submission from the team from popular building operations software Prescriptive Data. Their new product SeeingGreen finds ways to elicit sustainable behavior from the tenants themselves through gamification and education. It also works with Prescriptive Data’s other product Nantum to provide the building systems with rich information about room usage so the building’s systems can react accordingly.
Finally, the commercial brokerage category prize was taken by HomeSpace360. This innovative 3D image capture technology can be done with only a cell phone and a tripod. This effectively creates a way for 3D images to be recorded and used should open this media up to much more brokers looking for immersive, digital ways to show a space. Making this technology more accessible will help solve a common pain point of the real estate industry that flat picture do not always do a good job of representing a 3D space.
Congratulations should be given to the winners but it is important to remember that almost everyone wins from this competition. Even the contestants that were not chosen will go home with a much better understanding of the problems that the real estate industry is looking to solve and an invaluable amount of connections with the REBNY members. The members themselves have also benefited. In an industry that is changing as rapidly as real estate being up-to-date about the newest technological solutions and the people creating them can give many of them a head start on modernizing their portfolios and practices. We hope that REBNY will continue what is now becoming a tradition and that you will be able to join us in the festivities if and when they do.
(L-R Back Row) Tom Nguyen, CredsBlock Decentralized Identity; Gurpreet Singh, Chris Demoll, Ali Mehmani, Katie Peters, and Suman Satish of Prescriptive Data’s Seeing Green
(L-R Front Row) Matt Daly, StructionSite; Kin Tsang and Kevin Cheng, Prescriptive Data’s Seeing Green