It's Day One for the Built Environment

Digitizing brick and mortar requires that we get our hands dirty

February 6, 2023
New York, USA

It’s Day 1.

To understand the scale of the digital transformation of real estate, you need to zoom all the way out, to zoom back in.

Till recently, there were more buildings in the world than websites. And yet, 99.9% of the 1.6 billion buildings exist offline.

The last 30 years of internet progress have largely overlooked the data trapped inside the walls of our homes, offices, schools, and hospitals. 

Innovation and venture dollars have largely focused on software-first solutions. These investments have changed the way we connect, how we move money around, how we play video games, how we organize documents, and visualize ideas. 

And still: the actual physical assets in which we live and work have remained unexplored and untouched by digitization. 

We're working on (3) foundational steps to operationalize the digitization of the built environment: 

Step 1: Digitize buildings

Not surprisingly, the early wave of Proptech focused on point solutions—that is, digital bandaids over a fragmented industry. This resulted in limited innovations in real estate, primarily how we digitize documents and text.

Meanwhile, other sectors are far ahead. Social media, gaming, and fintech have evolved digitized information like text, images, and user-generated inputs to build structured databases, APIs, and large language models to index the world’s collective knowledge.

But, our built environment is stuck in the 1994-era of the internet.

That’s about to change. 

Today, we have the technology to accurately digitize brick and mortar. 

With the advent of cameras and scanners, we were able to digitize paper and text in the early era of the internet. Today, high-resolution scanners exist to digitize buildings—that’s step one.

The problem? These scanners are still expensive, limiting the availability of this technology to the masses. That’s quickly changing.

As 3D scanning technology becomes more affordable and  commoditized—there’s a critical turning point happening in front of our eyes. For the first time, we can accurately digitize buildings. Now, anyone with the latest iPhone in their pocket can accurately scan their home, apartment, or office. 

This tailwind will quickly lead us to mass adoption of 3D scanning across every property sector.

Rather than focusing on building the hardware like others in the reality capture sector, our focus will be on partnering with them. Then, optimizing to convert 3D scans into readable-protocols.

SCANIT & BIMIT services

Step 2: Build protocols to index buildings

Today’s 3D scanning technology faces challenges stemming from the generated file formats. While some scanners produce virtual tours, 360 images, or point clouds, these outputs lack the versatility required to build on widely-adopted programing languages like C++, Python. 

For this reason, building information modeling (BIM), is a critical piece to enable us to translate images of buildings to text strings of buildings

By doing so, we can accurately organize buildings—their geometry, material, and equipment— in strings similar to a DNA strand—in formats like JSON scripts.

The IPX Building Profile

Step 3: Build the Interface for connectivity and insight

Because of the first two steps, we’re uniquely able to connect structured, verified, and accurate data of buildings to their owners. 

To do this, requires a back-end/front-end Interface that enables owners and building stakeholders to engage with that data: view, share, download, and connect.

Similar to most successful B2B/D2C companies, our goal is to abstract the complexities away from the fulfillment process. Instead, we want Building Owners to engage with their  building in the same way they’d control their personal data via their Facebook profile, or request a product via Amazon, or request to mobilize services on Uber. 

IPX, 2023

Where we're going

Naturally, as our platform makes building data more affordable and accessible to get, we see owners wanting to digitize more buildings. As they digitize more buildings, more service providers are asking to service those buildings—creating a greater variety of services for building owners in the Marketplace. This results in a greater demand to digitize the entire portfolio of spaces for an Owner.

Today, we’re very much live on Steps 1 & 2—digitizing buildings and building protocols—at a rate of about 6 buildings per day. In 2023, we’re now excited to expand on building that Interface of connectivity and insight. And grow our digitization capacity to 60 buildings per day.

We won’t stop until building owners are a click-away from updating their physical assets. If we continue to succeed, we see this as a transformational business for decades to come.

The IPX Operational Framework

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