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Property tech makes its mark in Dubai

Construction teams and potential buyers can inspect plans projected at 1:1 scale Supplied
Construction teams and potential buyers can inspect plans projected at 1:1 scale
  • Walkthrough tech business opens in UAE
  • Company aims to open in Riyadh next year
  • Buyers can walk round 1:1 scale blueprint

Off-plan property buyers in Dubai can now inspect their potential purchase in real time and lifesize thanks to walkthrough technology.

Lifesize Plans, a tech business founded in Australia, has opened its first Middle East franchise in the Al Quoz district. At its facility, plans for residential, commercial and industrial properties are enlarged to 1:1 scale and projected onto the floor.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re just trying to improve what we have today,” Lifesize Plans Dubai CEO George Calas told AGBI.

Projects as big as 482 square metres can be beamed onto the floor courtesy of 12 projectors. It gives prospective homeowners, design professionals, architects and property developers the ability to see their project before investing.

Calas said furniture can be added to make the experience more true to life.

“I’m here to complement the work of the architect, not compete with them,” he said.

The key investors in Lifesize Plans Dubai are Emirati national Omar Al Shamsi and Sultan Al Hejailan from Saudi Arabia.

About $1 million has been spent to set up the operation in Dubai, said Calas, and the business plans to open in Riyadh next year.

“We are giving ourselves until the end of the year to find the right location [in Riyadh] to start work on it,” he added.

The company wants its Saudi base to be at least twice the size of the Dubai premises, with the associated investment doubling too.

The global market for property technology – which includes virtual-reality walkthroughs, 3D printing, blockchain and artificial intelligence – is expected to grow from $19.6 billion in 2023 to $47.8 billion by 2033, according to analyst Future Market Insights.

Dr Michael Waters, associate professor in real estate at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, said property professionals had been “relatively slow” to embrace technology, “with strides made only in the past 10 years and exacerbated by the pandemic”.

Earlier this month property lead conversion platform Tripler launched in the UAE. Its AI-powered technology allows agents to understand the meaning, intent and urgency (MIU score) of any buyer.

Founder Sam Singh said: “The scale of opportunities in the real estate sector in Dubai is immense. I see technology, and more specifically ‘proptech’, playing a huge role in transforming the sector.”

The UAE is home to more than 55 percent of the 200-plus property technology startups in the Mena region, according to a report from Zoom Property Insights. 

Collectively they have raised more than $100 million in funding over the past five years.

Nick Maclean, managing director of real estate consultancy CBRE Middle East, said it was working with authorities in the UAE and Saudi Arabia using drone technology to complete site surveys and valuations.

He added that the real estate sector was “only at the beginning” of its tech revolution.