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Disruption Is The New Normal

October 25, 2017

‘The greatest invention’ is an obsolete term in the world of real-estate development, as the latest innovation that is considered to be ground-breaking is eventually overtaken by another by the time the project is completed. Yet it is vital to keep innovating, and envision the future to build the new normal. 

Architectural designs, building materials, construction methods and financial flexibility – all innovations in property development that come in many avatars. As the world progresses, there is a need for better living spaces that cater to our happiness and health. Today, it is about more than just physical comfort and luxury; it is about mental comfort and overall wellbeing.

In sync with the wider innovating world, in the UAE we have been becoming more conscious of our health and wellbeing. Solutions have been offered in forms of organic food, recreational centres, and healthcare facilities that come as standard amenities in towers. However, it is crucial that we take a step back and consider how to innovate in our living spaces.

Delos Living LLC introduced the WELL Building StandardTM in October, 2014, which is ‘a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being’. In essence, it aims to improve the health and happiness of the building’s occupants through control of water, air, food, light, fitness, and physical and mental comforts.

The WELLTM certification has been growing in popularity over the last couple of years as developers focus on innovation in their projects to improve their offering and cater to the customers’ needs. At MAG, we have partnered with Delos to realise the world’s largest wellness concept in Dubai Healthcare City Phase 2, in line with Vision 2021.

However, innovation doesn’t just concentrate merely on concepts, designs and offers; it also features in the construction of properties. The past decade has seen the birth of new materials that are a big step forward in creating self-sustaining buildings. In consideration of our regional weather conditions, as the planet gets warmer and homes become more digitised, our consumption of energy increases; and we must think, design, and build smarter to address these concerns.

For example, companies such as Polysolar provide transparent photovoltaic glass as a structural building material that can be used for windows, facades and even roofing. Combined with other technology, it can turn the entire building envelope into electricity generating solar panels – even the north-facing vertical walls. In addition, it performs better at higher temperatures, which means it can be double-glazed and can provide better insulation for the entire building.

Nevertheless, technology keeps modernising and we’ve seen a trend in development of sustainable inventions. There are many companies such as PaveGen and Italy’s Underground Power, which are turning our ground into power generating pavements and roads. They work with different materials and technologies to convert energy we expel while walking and driving into usable forms that can power buildings.

I’ve always believed that infrastructure and real estate development are key to driving the economy. With new materials and machines, like aerogels and 3D printers, our industry is being driven by innovation everyday as we speak. Earlier this year Cazza, a Dubai based construction technology firm, announced that it will be developing the world’s first 3D printed skyscraper in Dubai.

Even with all these great announcements, one thing is important to note – innovation isn’t just about technology, especially not here in the real estate industry. There is also the case of providing financial flexibility, and it’s more than just easing payment plans. It is about revolutionising the property transaction process. We should welcome Ten-X, a platform that is taking the $2 trillion US property market by storm. It is the only platform that takes the entire process online – allowing buyers, sellers and real estate professionals to search, list and transact properties completely online. It’s the new Amazon of real estate.

Reviewing these innovative approaches, and taking into consideration the Dubai leadership’s vision for our city, along with the pace at which we are embracing technology and innovation, we may soon see Dubai being a completely self-sustaining, ultramodern city with advanced roads, high-tech mall flooring, sophisticated building facades, and more, that will cater to our energy needs in a much efficient manner. With all these inventions accelerating our growth, the title of the ‘most modern city landscape’ is on the horizon for Dubai – for the next new normal.

– Talal M. AlGaddah is the Chief Executive Officer of MAG PD and CEO Middle East Awards’ ‘Young CEO of the Year’ – 2017.