Highlights from MRI Ascend APAC 2021

It’s been a year of change, challenge and uncertainty. Every segment of the APAC property sector has felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with massive shifts in the way people interact with real estate. From the initial complete shutdown of the housing market and eviction moratoriums, to mass remote working and sweeping retail closures, many have felt pain.

However, throughout the crisis, technology adoption and innovation have continued. Focus is increasingly turning from overcoming the immediate obstacles to what comes next. A perfect time then for industry professionals to come together, explore the state of the market and examine the broad range of innovative technology that can help plan and deliver a successful post-pandemic future.

MRI Ascend APAC 2021

Part of our global client conference series, Ascend APAC went virtual for this year – offering the opportunity for 1,000+ industry visionaries to discuss and review the role technology has to play in the weeks, months and years ahead. Run across two days (18-19 May), the packed agenda featured more than 30 sessions showcasing the latest industry insights, technology trends and software innovations. We were also excited to have Human Connection Specialist Simone Heng provide the guest keynote on Mastering the art of human connection.

PropTech – past, present and future

The event kicked off with a joint session from the Executive Leadership team. Patrick Ghilani, Chief Executive Officer, marked MRI’s 50th anniversary as a technology innovator and looked at how the company has continued to play a leading role in the evolution of PropTech.

In his opening address, Ghilani said: “In 1971 we were founded as a company called Management Reports Incorporated. Through technology changes, through changes in growth, leadership, ownership, economies – you name it – we survive. But more importantly, we thrive. We believe we thrive because we collectively – you and us – are connecting communities with technology. And 50 years later, although the solutions change – and the mediums for delivering those solutions change – the ideals are very much the same: productivity, efficiency, value, and financial success for your organisations.”

Smart, nimble experiences

Up next was Chief Product Officer Saurabh Abhyankar, spotlighting how the rapid spread of coronavirus has shaped or created new trends, changing how we all live, work and play. Yes, the industry was somewhat in flux before the pandemic hit, but that shift has now been turbo-charged – and, in many ways, technology has never been better placed to offer support.

“Everything is changing, which makes it an exciting time to be in the world of PropTech, because it’s a time where we can all shape the future,” said Abhyankar, who highlighted the opportunity to apply data and analytics “in ways that really matter”. He noted that: “When looking to the future, we are able to define three mega-trends that we believe shape the future of real estate and PropTech. The first is smart buildings and technologies, which is about buildings having sensors and data – but also about the technology becoming smarter with insights, and artificial intelligence to help drive automation. Secondly, physical spaces will become more flexible and respond to the changing needs of people, which means business models and PropTech will also need to become nimbler. Thirdly, engaging resident, tenant and guest experiences matter more now than ever before, because people have much more choice now.”

Real estate technology visionaries

Rounding the trio of speakers was David Bowie, Managing Director for APAC. Bringing to life MRI’s mission and what it means for the region.

Bowie commented: “The aim of the Ascend conference, and MRI’s priority over the past 15 months, has been to support our customers and help them navigate the ongoing uncertainty and market changes. The pandemic has accelerated many trends that were already taking place and acted as a catalyst for digital transformation. Despite not being able to see our clients and Partners face-to-face this year, we are incredibly proud to have continued our collaboration and innovation with the leading names in real estate. Together, we will continue on this journey to build a connected community where we can all thrive.”

Learning, insight and best practice

The Ascend conference also showcased advances and updates across MRI’s product portfolio and offered advice on how users can optimise their systems and achieve even greater efficiencies, additional cost-savings and regulatory compliance. Across six dedicated content streams – Commercial, Investment & Planning, Property Management, Strata, Social Housing and Workplace – just a few of the many session highlights were:

  • What does the future of work look like? – a distinguished panel of business leaders from across the property industry to discuss what the future looks like and how we all get there.
  • Lead your organisation into the new normal – hear how Savills have unleashed the power of MRI’s comprehensive solution suite to achieve digital transformation.
  • Everything you can expect in Strata Master v14 –see what you can take advantage of when the biggest release in Strata Master history unfolds later this year.
  • Innovation for Growth – hear directly from Leah Jay on how they are getting ahead and staying ahead thanks to a clear strategic vision and forward-thinking technology investments.
  • Better, faster, more compliant: Hear how Lowes met the challenge of achieving AASB16 compliance, and improving the flexibility and efficiency of their operations.
  • Attracting & retaining staff in Property & Strata Management – Leanne Pilkington and Joshua Baldwin discuss what agencies can do, as well as the industry as a whole, to attract and keep great talent.
  • A global perspective on workplace agility – recognised industry leaders uncover the results of a recent global survey on workplace agility and the return to office.

Also presenting as part of the agenda were several client speakers, discussing the technology vision for their businesses and the ways in which they leverage MRI’s broad platform. Thank you to just some of the heroes in our connected community; CNG Property Group, Colliers, Cushman & Wakefield, Di Jones, Leah Jay, Lowes, Powerhouse Australia, Strata One and Savills.

And Ascend wouldn’t be Ascend without the involvement of our Partner network. We were delighted to welcome 13 key sponsors as part of the event:

Trailblazer sponsor:
Loci Solutions

Visionary sponsors:
Direct Connect, Inspection Manager

Executive sponsors:
Assetsoft, TopUp Consultants, my connect, Core Vision, insightsoftware, Sorted, Retransform

Professional sponsors:
Inspection Express, Smoke Alarms Australia, StrataVote


What’s next?

Ascend is just one component of our ongoing efforts to ensure clients extract maximum value from MRI’s solutions. There are so many ways you can get the information and resources you need about topics and challenges in the property sector – and about the latest and greatest functionalities of the products you use every day.

myMRI Client Portal – utilise a range of resources, from release notes to hints and tips videos. You can also raise Support and Services requests, access a growing Knowledgebase and submit ideas for future developments.

Events – you can catch us at a variety of events across the sector – from speaking slots on panels to our exhibition booths where we’re ready to help. You can also check out our programme of webinars and product user groups across our broad range of solutions.

Resources – here you’ll find an ever-growing range of white papers, ebooks, webinars, client case studies and much more. All of this is ready for you to access at any time.

And, of course, we look forward to the prospect of seeing you, our valued clients, once again next year (hopefully in person!) at our 2022 Ascend APAC event. Until then, thank you to every attendee, speaker and Partner that helped make this year’s conference one to remember.

On-Demand Webinar

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 With a growing build-to-rent sector and an estimated $10Billion pipeline, purpose built rental apartments will change how spaces are designed, developed, owned and how engagement with tenants is managed. In this panel hosted by MRI’s Josh Sym

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