China’s buildings are watching you

Fortified with everything from IoT to AI, Chinese properties use proptech to build a better picture of residents and consumers

Wit Olszewski/Shutterstock

Development firms in China are parlaying the power of proptech to refine the ways people live in and interact with their properties, reported Bloomberg.

Chinese developers are collecting big data, installing sensors through the internet of things (IoT), and using artificially intelligent mechanisms to automate property management, improve retail experiences, and monitor security.

In almost 1,000 properties managed by Country Garden’s affiliated service unit, for example, sophisticated surveillance systems record footage three times per minute, to be interpreted by a cloud-based AI platform. The systems yield richer data than those captured by a few cameras in real time, allowing managers to closely observe multiple situations, involving everyone from non-residents to the security guards. Computer algorithms can even perform behavior analysis based on the footage to track lost children.

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Every time you shop at a shopping mall by Dalian Wanda, a computerised ID recognises you from your last visit, thanks to the developer’s Huiyun management system. The system also stores your age, gender, and shopping patterns, informing the company’s decisions regarding merchant layouts.

Similarly, Shui On Land uses facial recognition technology to gather data on occupants in its office buildings. When it discovered an office tower had 70 percent female workers, the company correspondingly geared five floors of that building’s retail podium to female-oriented establishments.

“In China, there is a very dynamic proptech ecosystem, quite mature and advanced at all levels,” JLL’s Asia Chief Executive Officer Anthony Couse was quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

China’s growing engagement with proptech comes as the government fends off accusations it is pouring plenty of capital into mass surveillance, especially in the Xinjiang region. The country accounted for 36 percent of investment into proptech startups worldwide from 2013 to 2017.

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