As technology continues to become more and more integrated into the real estate sphere, PropTech has emerged to become a stand-alone legal discipline with particular nuances, drivers and opportunities for businesses.
The ubiquitous term ‘smart cities’, a catch-all concept covering anything from darkness-sensing streetlamps to targeted advertising based on a person’s gender, height, weight or ethnicity, does not go nearly far enough to address the myriad factors involved in PropTech. Lewis Silkin has the expertise and market-leading knowledge needed to advise businesses how best to future-proof and react to - or pre-empt the demands made by - this rapidly changing world, and has worked with numerous tech start-ups to help their nascent business grow as market demands new and more sophisticated technologies to support and streamline operations.
Below are just some of the ways in which PropTech has already changed the way businesses and individuals interact with their surroundings. We will only see more innovation and progress in the coming years as technologies that cannot yet be contemplated become the norm. We can work with you to ensure that not only are you not left behind, but that you light the path for others to follow.
Within our technology sector are specialists in the field of cryptocurrencies whose expertise includes:
- the implementation of blockchain in creating increasingly secure property transactions
- bringing property transactions online through the use of smart contracts
- digitisation of property ownership, exchange and data
- the secure movement of assets through the blockchain
Through our shared wealth of resources and knowledge, our real estate lawyers are well-equipped to adapt to the latest PropTech and technological developments, including the use of ‘smart contracts’, which automate payments of service charges and other sums, as well as government-backed initiatives such as the creation of a blockchain Land Register by 2022.
Smart Cities and renewable energies
As a law firm dedicated to advising innovative and creative businesses, we are at the forefront of the smart cities revolution. We have the multi-disciplinary expertise to help you navigate the, often novel, legal challenges you will face in this emerging field. We can assist at every stage of the process: from safeguarding intellectual property; through raising financing; drafting and negotiating commercial contracts; building-out infrastructure; and regulating operation.
Autonomous and connected vehicles
Given the rate of technological advance in this arena, planners and scheme designers are already giving serious thought to incorporating autonomous vehicle parking into the design of their schemes that will not be completed for another five to ten years. Our development lawyers’ expertise in current planning policies and market trends enables us to advise how best to procure and subsequently implement schemes in such a way that they can be readily adapted to provide additional residential or retail use, or to convert buildings with built-in parking space into further accommodation, loading areas, storage or other building amenities depending on the prevailing conditions. Our planning specialists can explore with you, at the planning permission stage, options to engage on with the planning authority so as to ensure that the consenting process for any such evolution as frictionless as possible. In addition, our experts in corporate occupier transactions can assist landowners, from local authorities to supermarkets, with the disposal of car parks or other surplus land within their portfolios for development purposes.
Internet of Things
Connectivity is driving the creation of new products and features. Many developers and landlords are increasingly looking at ways in which they can incorporate ‘smart’ features into their property. We have been engaged on projects that include features allowing for more sensitive and personalised control of lighting and temperature, collecting data for monitoring passage of individuals through a building and connecting people more readily with physical devices and everyday objects. We can advise with all aspects of projects involving these technologies, from planning through to vendor contracts and data protection aspects.
Lewis Silkin’s end-to-end leasing and licensing platform – LSInstaSpace
We have developed our own PropTech solution as a first of its kind online leasing and licensing platform. LSInstaSpace provides landowners with an end-to-end tool to get occupiers into their properties on a short term basis, at minimal cost, in a matter of hours and without the need to engage solicitors. The platform arranges licences to occupy for periods of less than six months (albeit this limitation can be overridden) and leases for less than three years and can be dealt with purely online, safe in the knowledge that our experienced real estate team have prepared the underlying legal documentation.
We are constantly looking at ways to improve the services we offer our clients and so are developing a complementary PropTech tool to enable wayleave agreements to be completed on the LSInstaSpace platform, thereby minimising delays for incoming occupiers and ensuring a clear revenue stream for building owners.
Blockchain and the UK Property Industry29 October 2019
Since 2015 there has been a growing body of commentary extolling the virtues of blockchain and how it could, and in all likelihood will, revolutionise the property industry. The fact that I (a commercial real estate lawyer and not the most tech-savvy of individuals) am writing a piece about it demonstrates how blockchain is becoming more mainstream but, I wonder, is all this talk of “revolution” a little excessive?
Smart Cities – Lessons from Smart City Developments around the World10 October 2019
When we think of smart cities, images of skyscrapers, satellite dishes and high tech gadgetry often come to mind, coupled with large scale broadband infrastructure, wireless networks and mobile devices. But a smart city is much more than just a technological network; the concept encompasses also the way in which a city uses new technologies for the benefit of its citizens and becomes more efficient in the process.
Smart Floorspace Digitalising Retail Experience11 September 2019
Media coverage over the last year for the retail sector has been saturated with reports about the decline of the nation’s high streets.
How is the luxury and lifestyle sector adopting blockchain and other innovative technologies05 June 2019
The Collective by Lewis Silkin, in partnership with some of the most innovative technology businesses today, will be using real-life case studies and non-technical language to cut through the hype.
Is logistics really set to become the New Retail?13 March 2019
The term ‘urban logistics’ is certainly on trend in the property market and in an effort to keep pace with the demands of the modern consumer, retailers are increasingly targeting urban industrial units to help tackle a key part of the supply chain; the last mile. The challenges of the high street are well documented and the fragile retail market has forced many retailers to re-assess all aspects of their business model. With traditional store retailers needing more space to help service on-line orders and e-tailers needing to scale up their infrastructure network to support their growth, achieving a flexible and agile supply chain to meet these demands is certainly a topic that should be at the top of any retailers to do list.
Tech Predictions for 201911 January 2019
Following on from our 2018 Tech Predictions, here are our top ten favourite tech predictions for 2019. Just imagine a world where new technology not only makes us more efficient but improves our lives in other ways - let’s see what 2019 might hold in store!