Digitalising the Built Environment: Nordic Contech & Proptech


The construction and property industry are radically changing as digitalization and new technology sweeps over the sector. Meet Nordic Contech and Proptech Stockholm to learn about Swedish startups and how they already impact globally. The quick pace and transitional power of digitalization is redefining industries and the construction industry is no exception. The Contech and Proptech scene in Sweden is strong with several interesting companies, from startups to established global players. Nordic Contech and Proptech Stockholm are two networks that gather the most interesting technology companies in the construction and property industries. Contech may be defined as the technology and innovation that advances the way we plan, design and build structures including the manufacturing and installation of their components. Proptech can be defined as a broad term for the application of information technology and platform economics to the property market.

Digitalization affects the construction and property sector and new business models and technology are deemed to disrupt the industry in the coming years. There are plenty of examples on all levels, from societal planning down to the individual building or the single object. Oxford professor Bent Flyvbjerg says that the Architecture-Engineering-Construction industry (AEC) is waiting for its Uber moment where the industry is changed radically, either by a current organization within the industry or by an external player. Since the construction industry is notoriously inefficient today it is expected to happen in the near future. In Sweden alone, the costs for construction errors is estimated in the order of 5-10 billion euros a year due to inefficiencies.

This inefficiency gives room for new business opportunities. Digital solutions are scalable with a global reach which increases the potential for export of products and services. Digitalization is influenced by new technology and trends such as virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR), Artificial intelligence (AI), building information modeling (BIM), drones and laser scanning, internet of things (IoT), additive manufacturing (3D-printing) and automation. The key potential is that digitalization

Digitalization is expected to affect most, if not all, industries and this can be shown in other examples within Smart City Sweden. For example, modern timber construction in Sweden is far ahead regarding digitalization and automation. Within the built environment there’s digitalization on all levels, from the urban planning perspectives where cities today may be mirrored by a corresponding digital twin. For example, we have Spotscale, which is a Swedish startup with an interesting scanning technique that has been recognized in Silicon Valley and has an interesting project portfolio. There is a great potential by digitalizing planning and the building permit process. Boverket, (the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning), municipalities and regions are doing extensive work within this area. There are also initiatives to digitalize building regulations to facilitate the digitalization of the industry. This technology also makes it easier to involve citizens and connect them to the city. Spaces and areas within the city and in buildings may be used more efficiently and jointly.

For the building itself, we may have a digital twin even before it has been built, which increases efficiency and quality in construction and also facilitates the operation of the building. Buildings themselves consist of products/objects and manufacturers today may supply digital copies with attached data sets to serve their clients better. The Swedish platform company BIMObjects, based in Malmö, has the largest database globally for these kinds of objects.

Sweden is picking up speed on the Contech and Proptech arena. Today’s startups may become the global equivalent of Spotify in the construction or real estate market. Productivity will increase and the way we interact in the built environment may change as the cities become smart.

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