A string of prop-tech companies have sprung up in the region in the last few years, many born from the area’s pedigree in digital gaming which goes back more than three decades.
Silicon Spa in and around Leamington Spa is the largest games development cluster in the Midlands, and one of the largest outside of London and has attracted some of the industry’s biggest names while also being home to a number of growing local firms.
Now those skills are being applied to other industries, including the commercial and residential property sectors.
Regional bodies including Warwickshire County Council and the CWLEP are keen to see these digital skills help build a wider digital industry base.
The county council is set to showcase the region’s ability at MIPIM – the world’s largest property development and investment show – next week with the aim of driving more industry sector custom to the region.
Ian Flynn, inward investment officer at Warwickshire County Council, said there are growing signs of the cross-over from the digital games to property and that the rise in tech applications for the sector would also shape the market.
“We have a string of firms in Coventry and Warwickshire who are applying their technical expertise learned often in digital gaming to the property world,” he said.
“Firms such as Technology Blueprint, Infinite Pixel and Nimbus Maps are growing and making waves as disrupters in the property world which is in many ways a conservative industry.
“Not only will that shape the way the sector operates, but will be part of the way tech is impacting the industry itself with the growth of smaller units, co-working spaces and live-work developments.”
The MIPIM event will hear from Ian Harrabin of Complex Development Projects, the company behind the Electric Wharf live-work scheme in Coventry, and Sam Empson, head of business development at PropList.
PropList, based near Tamworth-in-Arden, is a web portal enabling customers to search for commercial properties online more easily. By using more modern search-engine optimisation techniques, PropList gives people more accurate results, improving performance for both the seller and the buyer.
The site has grown from having around 2,000 properties to around 25,000 in just over a year and also hopes to use more prop-tech by integrating legal ‘know your customer’ checks into the site in the near future.
“Many property companies have not embraced new technology and continue to work in the same way as they always have done.
“If businesses can incorporate good technology, to enhance and improve what is currently done, then real and meaningful advancements can be made in our sector.”
The event will also hear from Sarah Windrum, CEO of the Emerald Group, CWLEP Board Director with the lead for Digital and Creative, and sits on the Digital Board for the West Midlands Combined Authority, and Elodie Ségrestan, head of partnerships at Workwell.
Workwell is a company based in Paris which aims to connect people inside office buildings through its versatile app.
Many property companies have already started using Workwell, such as real estate investment firm Hines, who use the app to showcase their buildings while also fostering social interaction between the buildings’ tenants.
The Coventry and Warwickshire MIPIM Partnership – made up of companies and organisations in a range of property-related sectors – is attending MIPIM as part of the UK Midlands presence.