- Published: 24 December 2021
Hundreds of Israeli real estate startups have raised $3.5 billion. Sensors embedded in concrete, walls that monitor temperature, windows showing ads, hands-free cranes? All in a day's work.
Let's take a little trip into the future. The PropTech trend is gaining strength globally and in Israel. PropTech is an umbrella term for innovative technologies in the real estate field: planning and building, construction materials, project management tools, property maintenance, marketing and sales, and more. It includes any technology that serves real estate companies, their suppliers, or the end clients.
In the first quarter of 2021, PropTech was the most highly funded sector globally, and it has been rapidly catching up with other sectors in different aspects. In Israel there are more than 250 PropTech startups who together have raised over $3.5 billion.
"We see a number of reasons for the surge in PropTech in this period. First of all, tech, in general, has been growing in recent years, including in the real estate sector, despite its being a traditional field," explains Amalia Paz, co-founder of the Bricks Innovation Center. "When real estate, like other traditional fields, encounters global macro challenges, it finds itself relying on technological solutions."
A variety of innovative developments have been changing the sector:
Buildots: remote-control monitoring of construction sites using cameras mounted on the helmets of workers and foremen, which transmit data to the office dashboard.
Datumate: cameras mounted on drones transmit data from remote infrastructure sites to company management, including analysis and monitoring.
Companies marketing apartments have been using tools enabling a virtual tour that simulates reality, saving the client the time it would take to visit the construction site or the sales office.
Air-purification technologies inside buildings, such as Aura Air, have also gained new significance. We've been seeing structural changes in the real estate world, alongside a search for supporting technologies. An example is the transition to hybrid work. Organizations that allow workers to work from home will rely on technologies such as Artishok to organize the work week at the head office.
According to Paz, the real estate sector has a major impact on global warming, and significant, rapid changes are required, which will be based on innovative solutions. For example, sensor-based technologies that will monitor power usage in buildings and greenhouse gas emissions, and in the next stage – will control that usage.
Innovative technologies will allow a building or a group of buildings to supply their own power based on alternative energy sources (such as solar or wind-driven energy), recycle water, dispose of waste independently, and protect the air quality inside the building. Leading organizations around the world are creating high standards in the sustainability field. We believe that in the future, with the growth of available and supportive technologies, these standards will become widespread. In Israel, they are implemented at the Microsoft building in Herzliya and the Intel building in Petah Tikva.
BioShade: developing an innovative shading system for the urban space. Considering the accelerated pace of urban construction and the worsening condition of urban heat islands, technological and ecological shading solutions have increasingly become necessary.
BioShade supplies autonomous green shading using plants designated for an urban environment, with rapid growth and low maintenance. One shading system can interface with every element in the urban space and create a significant biological shading area within about six months.
This innovative shading system can reduce the temperature by 11 degrees of physiological heat strain, creating a comfortable, cooler micro-climate through the evaporation of water from the surface of the plants' leaves. The system is able to conserve about 80% of the water compared to soil irrigation and encourages a growth rate that is twice that of plants adapted to an urban environment.
It also provides other advantages to the urban space by reducing carbon dioxide, improving air quality and reducing pollutants, increasing biodiversity, and contributing to the city's green lungs. BioShade's vision is to increase the vegetation cover in the urban environment by 50%, thereby turning the city into a more healthy and comfortable space.
Wint Water Intelligence: a smart platform for water management that prevents water damage (such as leaks), assists in saving 20% or more in water consumption, and detects flaws in water facilities (such as cooling towers).
EVA: a reuse solution for construction waste intended for manufacturers of concrete and construction materials.
Aura Air: technology for the detection, monitoring, and purification of air pollution in closed spaces.
Gauzy: a smart glass technology that can control the amount of light let in by window panes and can project advertisements and information onto the pane.
CityZone is an innovation lab and a live experiment space at Atidim Park in Tel Aviv. It promotes technological solutions to urban challenges and operates a unique program for startups.
Beyond the global challenges, at times companies encounter specific local challenges. About two months ago, a question arose regarding the existence of technologies that can provide a solution to buildings on the verge of collapse. Innovative startups were recently presented at a conference of the Association of Construction and Infrastructure Engineers.
Radgreen creates a healthier and safer environment for people in commercial buildings using a sensor-based environmental information system. The system continuously monitors air, noise, and radiation pollutants while supplying real-time information, warnings, and suggestions on how to respond. It can prevent work-related disease and significantly improve workers' satisfaction and commitment to their work environment.
The product is vital for the current commercial real estate market to recover and resume work routines. The market is searching for solutions that will enable companies (the building's tenants) to welcome workers and customers back into safe, monitored buildings that comply with new standards.
Workers who are healthier, more efficient, and more alert retain good cognitive skills throughout the day. A good work environment preserves and attracts talent, creates a positive image for the company, enhances the employer's branding, and contributes to transparency and corporate responsibility.
Scan In: the company from Lod, founded by entrepreneur Didi Libi, develops technologies for monitoring building stability. It developed a warning system for imminent building collapse due to flaws caused by corrosion or sinking foundations. The system identifies distortions or load transmission between columns – a phenomenon that occurs when a column's ability to carry weight is compromised.
The system is intended for homeowner associations or engineers who consult it in conditions of uncertainty, for example, when deciding whether to order a building evacuation or approve the continued use of a building suspected as hazardous. Scan In also uses technology for detecting fractures from a drone, which allows developers and contractors to prepare for lawsuits from buildings surrounding their project. The company was founded in 2013, employs 15 workers, and is in significant growth stages.
Infrastructure Dynamic: Israeli technology that analyzes flaws in construction – fractures, corrosion, crumbling. It is based on images transmitted from devices, including simple devices such as a mobile phone. The technology is currently used by companies that manage the maintenance of bridges, roads, and various infrastructure facilities. It operates mostly in the U.S. and Australia. Besides maintenance companies, it is also used by districts and states seeking to ensure the intactness of the facilities in their area.
In a conversation with the company's CEO, we understood that the technology can be used similarly for examining buildings. Indeed, following the collapse of a building in Miami a few months ago, Infrastructure Dynamic began working with building owners in the U.S.
Another interesting technology in this context is preventive technology, which is expected to enter use in future buildings to prevent similar scenarios. The startup is called Greenvibe, and it addresses "concrete strength." The technology uses a number of sensors embedded in concrete while it is being poured for construction. The sensors supply information regarding the concrete's hardness and strength while being poured and throughout the life of the building. In the case of crumbling or fractures, even if they are invisible, information received from the sensors will enable preventive steps to be taken.
Leading constructors we spoke to support attaching sensors to buildings suspected as hazardous in order to identify movements, even if they are very minor, and provide a solution as quickly as possible.
Tondo Smart: develops and manufactures control mechanisms for managing smart city apps, which it incorporates in the lighting and power infrastructure in the public space. Recently the company raised NIS 17.5 million based on a value of NIS 67 million.
The company's solution enables remote management of the city's lighting and power, adjusting the lighting to needs and conditions, and collecting and analyzing data. These abilities lead to a major improvement in the quality of life in the city, alongside greater operative and energy efficiency.
The lighting sensors turn every streetlight into a smart pole connected to the city's power and communication infrastructure throughout the day. Streetlights in the city are the optimal platform for other smart city apps: monitoring air pollution, parking space sensors, panic buttons, cameras, and more. Tondo turns the streetlights into a strategic property. An information and control center equips the city with a tool for improved resource management that is need-sensitive and monitored to create a cleaner, safer, and more pleasant urban environment.
ConTech is an innovation center for construction and real estate technologies in Israel. It was founded jointly by the Israel Builders Association, the Housing and Construction Ministry, and the Economy Ministry in order to turn Israel into an international hub of construction technologies.
ConTech's goal is to connect between Israeli startups operating in the construction, real estate, and infrastructure industries and industry bodies in the local and international spheres, as well as investors, regulatory agencies, manufacturers of materials and software, and more.
ConTech accompanies startups in the community by finding investors, organizing events, hackathons, meet-ups, round tables, international events, and demo days, and promoting the use of technology in the industry.
Currently, ConTech is publishing a call for proposals and inviting startups in the fields of construction tech and ProtTech to submit applications to the fifth installment of the ConTech incubator.
Foremen in control
Genda: a technological company in the construction field that generates information from the ground allowing foremen to know what is really happening on the site. The system automatically monitors the location of workers and heavy machinery on the construction site and analyzes the data, producing practical insights regarding the status of the works and the project's progress.
The company developed a system for monitoring buildings from inside and outside based on smart sensors, an app for mobile phones, and other data channels. Genda analyzes the data using machine learning and analysis of movement patterns, producing insights related to the construction process. It can indicate for each space whether works there have begun, been completed, or are stalled for some reason.
Vplans: one central infrastructure for managing information about the project and preserving the knowledge accumulated by developers and contractors – from the developing stages through planning, execution, occupancy, and maintenance.
Datumate: a platform for management and control of an infrastructure project using cloud technologies, drones, and image processing.
BIMSearch: a new app that improves access to the world of building information modeling (BIM) in a friendly way, intended for project managers and site engineers. In the BIM system, all the planners (architects, engineers, system consultants, etc.) work with a 3D cloud-based model, and information exchange between them occurs in real time, with no delays.
The app makes it possible to extract a bill of materials and engineering information from the model according to any criterion (floors, type of system, etc.) combined with an immediate visual illustration of the data.
ARK: smart software for architectural optimization that allows architects to make quicker and better decisions.
Ception: developing an AI system for engineering tools to improve safety and efficiency and to assist in reducing environmental damage. The system is based on precise mapping and location even in an area without GPS services, using computer vision and deep-learning algorithms.
Using the hardware-software kit, which can be installed on machines produced by various manufacturers, the system provides warnings and directions to the machine operator in real time. At the same time, it concentrates data and insights regarding occurrences on the site, which can be accessed by foremen.
The product includes a variety of apps for different scenarios: accident prevention, detecting obstacles, planning versus execution, computing volume, monitoring performance, road conditions, and more. The company's products supply an array of solutions both as supportive systems for the human operator and in combining autonomous capabilities at different levels.
Machine-operated electric crane: in addition to eliminating the need for workers who must constantly ascend and descend, the crane makes construction more efficient and shortens the duration of the works.
"Based on a computation we performed, the electric crane will reduce construction time by 12.5%, in other words, a building that was supposed to take 36 months to build, will now be built in 32 months. According to our estimate, the electric crane will save about 8% in overhead costs, which will undoubtedly influence the ability to build more buildings in less time and later will contribute to slowing the rise in housing prices," explains Roni Mizrachi, President of the Contractors Labor Union and the owner of the Mizrachi and Sons Group.
ConWize: a cloud-based platform for the construction sector that provides an end-to-end solution for pricing construction projects at the tender stage and managing contracts with sub-contractors and suppliers in the execution stage. The system is intended for contractors, sub-contractors, and suppliers.
After working with dozens of leading construction companies in the sector and with over 1,800 sub-contractors and suppliers, the system's developers were able to prove that it saves about 50% of the time invested in pricing a tender, eliminates about 90% of pricing errors, and significantly improves the efficiency of proposal processes with sub-contractors.
Conomate: an AI-based platform for planning and assessing construction costs.
SWAPP: the first architecture firm in the world based on an artificial intelligence system and optimization algorithms that allow its clients to radically shorten the planning process, optimize the use of project spaces, and directly save on construction costs. The company supplies projects end-to-end and in different planning stages, improving the efficiency of planning and construction processes.
About 70% of the company's planning tasks are performed using a computerized platform, combined with 30% work by the company's internal architects and engineers, who improve the results and provide a human touch.
Thanks to its advanced technological capabilities, the company's clients in the U.S., the U.K., and Israel arrive at advanced planning stages 10 times faster than the industry average, access plans that optimize the use of the project space, receive detailed plans in record time, and view planning scenarios that allow them to reduce building costs.
LightYX: an electro-optic system that projects construction plans onto the work space using laser technology. The robotic system projects augmented reality images of the construction plans onto the physical space at millimetric precision. The system assists construction workers in measuring and marking locations of drywalls or sewage pipes, electricity, and other systems. It thereby increases workers' productivity at the marking stage by 400% to 700%. The system is controlled by a special app installed on a mobile phone. It has been tried successfully by some of the largest construction companies in the U.S.
Beyon3D: a multi-disciplinary technologies company that has developed an innovative digital manufacturing system that provides a holistic solution for the manufacturing of a wide range of concrete building products. The revolutionary manufacturing process combines a controlled, advanced manufacturing environment that includes industrial robotics, software, and custom materials. The system optimizes the manufacturing process and provides precise, high-quality products at competitive prices.
The company completed its IPO on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in June 2021. Currently it is in the last stages of building its first factory in Haifa Port as part of a global expansion strategy that will include 25 more factories around the world over the next 7 years.
Axonize: smart buildings that include multiple and diverse systems, from complex technical systems such as pumps, elevators, chillers, or ventilation systems to capacity sensors, security and access control systems, smart lighting, air quality sensors, and much more.
In most cases, these systems are produced by different and diverse suppliers, with each supplying their own management and data system. The result for the building's maintenance and operations workers is chaotic – not only is it difficult to manage each system on its own, it is also impossible to create automation and operative logic capabilities that integrate the systems of different suppliers.
Sometimes, integration companies can combine different systems under one roof, but find it difficult to diversify the supply and bind the building to a limited list of suppliers.
Axonize has developed a system that connects and orchestrates different sources of information – sensors, cameras, apps, and in fact every smart system in the building – into one management system within minutes and without need for special software tools. Anyone interested in doing so can create their own management screen and the automation tools needed to achieve operative or economic objectives with ease and with no need of programming knowledge.
Recently, Axonize was acquired by a subsidiary of Schneider Electric called Palnon, one of the world leaders in management systems for smart buildings.
Sparx: an augmented reality platform that assists in furnishing empty apartments and thereby increases the chances of selling them. Proposes different designs to the client and the possibility of purchasing them online.
Real Forest: the program for selling apartments online began operating before the pandemic, but its advantages came to the fore at a sales fair held by Azorim at its Moment Bat Yam project, managed and marketed by the Ambassador Group. As part of the fair, which was held at the height of the pandemic in Israel, 33 sales agents who worked with the program secured 479 apartments in two days.
The client can deepen his involvement by inspecting the inventory of apartments and their availability, with the information presented on the screen updated in real time. In addition, the client is offered an online appointment with a sales agent. The agent guides the client through choosing the apartment, adding a digital signature, making payments, and setting appointments. The program was developed by Interjet Ventures, which specializes in planning customer experience, technology, and developing digital products.
Propdo Ai: a platform for forecasting developments in prices and the future value of any real estate property in Israel, up to 25 years in advance, using artificial intelligence.
The platform makes adjusted calculations of real estate, transportation, planning, economic, demographic, and other elements and uses artificial intelligence tools, big data, and data science. For example, it considers such elements as the construction of a hi-tech center near a town in the country's periphery, proximity to a metro station, major and minor impact events, and crisis events, and how all these will influence real estate prices in the future.
Power Mobility: develops wireless charging solutions for micromobility vehicles. Though the rental vehicles that fill the streets today solve quite a few challenges involving traffic density, air pollution, and accidents, they create new challenges related to public order on the sidewalks, as well as safety in charging and transporting batteries. In addition, the cost structure of the current battery charging model is eroding the profitability of the operating companies.
The company aims to turn charging platforms into an integral part of marked parking spaces while controlling the number of vehicles that can park in each space, with no need for a battery replacement array or for collecting and redistributing vehicles after charging them.
The advantage of a wireless platform, compared to docking stations like those familiar from rental bike schemes such as Tel-O-Fun, is that the same platform can charge vehicles of different types and sizes – bikes, scooters, mopeds, and, in the future, even delivery robots and drones.
Possibly, in addition to public rental vehicle fleets, companies and even office and residential buildings will seek to offer their customers or workers a private rental fleet for rides to appointments in the course of the day. In such cases, the responsibility for charging the batteries will be that of the office compound or the residential building, and the solution provided by Power Mobility is optimal. As long as the vehicle is docked to the platform, the battery will be charged while waiting for the next ride.
City Transformer: an electric collapsible urban car intended for rental car fleets, which creates a full car experience in terms of safety and stability, comfort and pleasure (up to 90 kph, 4 wheels, windows, air conditioning, and a stereo system), but only takes up the space of a motorcycle. When parking or riding through narrow places at low speed, the vehicle takes up much less space than a normal car.
In an era when the parking standard is being reduced for residential and office needs due to growing urban density, while the authorities encourage limiting the use of private transportation, City Transformer seems like the perfect solution for real estate developers interested in providing their customers with added value – rather than digging expensive underground parking garages, they can allocate a small number of reserved spaces for a fleet of rental cars for residents who pay by use. In this way, parking space can be used optimally, maintaining a fleet at the necessary size without sacrificing costly space for parking.
Skylinx: will allow buildings in city centers to receive packages through the air directly onto a robotic, autonomous landing pad on the roof of the building (or in streets, metro stations, and more).
Seamless Vision: robots who can move independently inside and outside buildings and perform different tasks such as deliveries, transporting people, and more.
High-rise construction is a growing phenomenon that requires greater precision in computing the strength of the building's foundations and structure. In order to ensure the stability of each building, Zeephcha and Rotshtein's Karmei Hanadiv project in Kiryat Malachi recently performed a dynamic loading experiment, the likes of which have rarely been attempted in Israel. The project's buildings comply with Standard 413, which defines the constructive requirements according to which every building in Israel should be built, so that buildings can withstand earthquakes.
The dynamic loading experiment is performed by dropping a weight from different heights on a pole and computing the force wave transmitted to the pole. Deciphering the measured signals allows engineers to immediately estimate the impact on the pole and the transmitted energy and to compute the ground's resistance force according to different methods.
Resistance forces to the dynamic load include static and dynamic components. Most of the effort in deciphering the measurements is concentrated on detecting the static component.
"With this method, engineers and planners have precise information on ground data in every lot, and as a consequence, they can plan the building's foundations according to that specific data," explains Adv. Shalom Wasserteil, chairman of Zeephcha. "Despite the high cost of the experiment, it is very cost-effective in mega-projects such as Karmei Hanadiv, because its cost is spread out over the entire project. It ensures correct and precise engineering planning of reliable foundations that take extreme conditions into account."
Autor(en)/Author(s): Ofer Petersburg
Quelle/Source: Israel Hayom, 16.12.2021