Combating cyber risks with blockchain IoT

Biot

Cities in Asia Pacific are getting smarter, but they must be ready for the cyber security risks that accompany the growing adoption of tech-enabled real estate and infrastructure, according to the report ‘Clicks and Mortar: The Growing Influence of Proptech’. The report, jointly researched by JLL and Tech in Asia, a start-up highlights opportunities and threats of smart city innovations.

The report analyses the convergence of real estate and technology in 13 markets across the region and the ways that emerging technologies are being applied to connect urban real estate, infrastructure and services.

“Proptech is a key tool in the future development of cities and we in the real estate business have a vital role to play, particularly in smart property development and management,” says Albert Ovidi, JLL Asia Pacific COO. “Digital infrastructure investment is increasingly important for cities to create more liveable environments and attract and retain the best talent.”

“But considering the region’s acceleration in the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) and high reliance on data collection and analysis, it’s imperative for smart cities to develop effective safeguards against cyber risk.”

Potential pitfalls

According to the report, as the real estate industry becomes more technologically advanced, it has increased exposure to such risks. Though many proptech start-ups service the residential market, the commercial sector is not immune. In fact, property owners and tenants face pressures due to the rise of smart buildings where they have building management systems on their smart phones.

“Many of the exciting innovations being developed in the proptech sector, such as smart home controls or drones for property management, have the potential to improve user experience, and save time, money and energy,” says George Thomas, JLL Asia Pacific CIO.

Smart cities initiatives are being implemented worldwide with many high profile examples in Asia Pacific. India has announced its intention to transform 100 municipalities with its Smart Cities Mission, more than 500 cities in China have started their smart transformation, while Japan and Korea already boast smart city projects. Singapore is progressing its Smart Nation vision, which was launched in 2014, and on 18 March, a US$23 million ASEAN-Australian investment fund was announced to support smart cities in Southeast Asia.

In what could be one of the most impressive tech trends in 2018, the convergence of blockchain and IoT (BIoT) may be one solution to combating cyber risks. BIoT is expected to unleash a new range of services and businesses, among which smart buildings and homes would benefit. BIoT would allow real-time access to data from sensors, with blockchain offering protection. Most importantly, it would build trust, reduce time and accelerate transactions. 

Along with the continued development of advanced proptech tools, cyber policy initiatives are underway across the region, as governments work towards reinforcing domestic information systems security, collaborating with international partners for intelligence sharing, improving threat identification, and protecting critical infrastructure.

“As the proptech space evolves there are huge opportunities for real estate owners and occupiers,” adds Ovidi. “Smarter cities and workplaces bring incredible prospective value. But in order to reap their full benefits, we have to prioritise systemic resiliency to ensure we manage the potential risks.”