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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Working on a much bigger play for the time when AI will actually work!


By Mark E. Rose (Toronto)

In my last blog, I discussed how organizations are constantly adapting to the changing workforce and new technologies. At Avison Young, we have invested in PropTech, but we are working on a much bigger play for the time when AI will actually work. We have launched a project called Project 2021 and have a differentiated approach to what will be here soon -- and who should actually support it.

For a more in-depth commentary on the role of AI in commercial real estate, other macro and micro trends and drivers, and our company’s dramatic growth in recent years, you can listen to a recent podcast I was invited to speak on with journalist Steve Lubetkin: https://statebroadcastnews.com/2019/08/16/cre-news-hour-8-16-2019/ (start at 24:58-minute mark).

“The technology isn’t where the power is. It’s the behaviour and usage of the technology... The human beings, the top talent, the value-added provider who employs technology to deliver service and solutions – that’s the value, that is what clients are looking for today.”

“Clients value ‘value’ over commodity. Any company that isn’t focussing on the value-added service delivery to the client is doing so at its own peril.”

“I am extremely bullish. I would love for there to be a correction in terms of pricing, because I don’t think it’s sustainable for cap rates to be as low as they are. But with that said, I have never seen in my 35 years the amount of capital out there to be put to work in debt and equity. And that bodes really well for our industry.”

“If you think of a major market where real estate inventory and decision-makers sit, those are the geographies that we want to be in.”

“We are looking at the U.S., which is still a dominant force in the real estate services field; the U.K. Germany, France, China obviously and Hong Kong, Japan, India, Singapore, but all of the sudden, South Korea is a dominant force. Capital flows are moving out of South Korea all across the globe, clearly into the U.S., clearly into Canada, clearly into the U.K…. Where you have population, where you have the headquarters of businesses, these are the places where real estate thrives.”

“We hand-pick who comes in… We are actively reviewing over $2 billion of run-rate revenue of people who would like to join Avison Young. That’s in addition to what we already have.”

(Mark E. Rose is Chair and CEO of Avison Young.)

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