Real estate, alternative real assets and other diversions


Latest Article

Anti-HS2 hysteria misses the point

The hidden benefits of Britain’s new railway are vast. The only problem is they’re hidden In recent months there has been no shortage of ill-thought through articles in the British press urging the cancellation of High Speed 2, a transport project aiming to better connect London, Birmingham, the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester by rail. However, such articles discuss HS2 without grappling with the real reasons all the main political parties support its construction and professional... Read More >

Recent Articles:

Algorithms are the future of shopping – but at what cost?
The internet has opened a huge window onto the range of products and services available to consumers, and revolutionised the way we purchase them.  In the UK alone, E-commerce sales have rocketed up fifty-six per cent from £375.1 billion Read More >
Is there really a ‘problem’ with robots taking our jobs?
That the robots are coming for all our jobs is entirely true. That this is a problem is less clear – after all, we’ve been trying to kill off jobs since we first started automating anything at all by replacing fingernails with knapped flint. Read More >
Are we doing better than we think?
It is commonplace to say that the pace of technological change is speeding up. From Twitter to online shopping our everyday lives are, apparently, being transformed. One of the central puzzles of modern economics is that this change is not Read More >
Adam Smith and the trouble with peer-to-peer lending
One cynical – but useful – view of modern technology is that it allows us to play through the scams and mistakes of the last few millennia at warp speed. Bitcoin and associated cryptos have gone through every fraud that anyone’s been able Read More >
The real problem with tech companies that go public
If investor confidence was affected by the stock market slides of ‘Red October’, it seemed to have returned with the arrival of spring 2019 and a highly anticipated series of IPOs. Following Lyft’s going public in March, around $5.1 Read More >
It’s time to let Europe go supersonic
When France built its high-speed rail network, it revolutionised the way we looked at train travel. What takes 4-5 hours by long-distance bus from Brussels to Paris can now be completed in just over an hour with a Thalys train. Dumping slow Read More >
Control, Alt, Data: do we really understand the technology and data that will soon control our investment decisions?
Data is all the buzz around real estate, but how do we categorise it, what data do we need, what are the concerns and why should I care about the content of the local water supply before I consider whether to purchase a real estate Read More >
Liz Truss is right to take a hard look at HS2
The kings of Siam used to gift a white elephant to courtiers to whom they took a dislike. The elephants would be incredibly costly to maintain as they required special food and housing and it was illegal for the owner to sell them or to put them Read More >
From Facebook to Skype, GDP is not keeping up with technology
We’re getting closer to understanding one of the big puzzles of our time – the world is in the middle of a technological revolution, but it is difficult to spot in the economic data. As Robert Solow has pointed out, computers and internet Read More >
What’s the point of a social media tax?
It is possible to wonder a little about those who rule us. Occasionally they come up with ideas that leave more than a hint of a suspicion that they don’t have much of a clue. The latest example comes from the All Party Parliamentary Group Read More >
The coming smart city revolution
Sensors, data and automation will increasingly define construction projects – as well as cityscapes There are more than 1,000 ongoing smart city projects around the world right now. Sensors, data and automation will increasingly define Read More >
How to tame the tech giants
Wednesday’s Spring Statement was always likely to be a sideshow compared to the Autumn Budget, even if Brexit hadn’t taken centre stage. But the Chancellor still managed to say a few interesting things, including on “tech and the Read More >
Why we’re getting inflation wrong: The paradox of the Amazon Echo
Amazon’s Echo speaker and similar smart speakers have recently been added to the basket of goods the Office for National Statistics uses to calculate inflation. It’s another useful reminder of how we tend to overstate inflation and thus Read More >
A social media tax is no way to tame the web
The combination of mobile phone technology and the internet has had a transformative effect on many parts of Africa. By leapfrogging the landline stage of telephone development, a host of services, particularly banking, have brought Read More >
Six Tech trends to watch out for in 2019
1. It’s time to take responsbility Unease about big tech’s impact on society is driving a movement towards responsibility. Fifty-one per cent of Americans think that major technology companies should be regulated more than they currently Read More >
True competition can fix Britain’s broken rail system
Last night’s eagerly awaited speech by the Chairman of the Government’s much hyped rail review, former British Airways CEO, Keith Williams, raised real concern amongst those of us holding out for real structural change on the railways. In Read More >
The miracle we all take for granted Would you take a million dollars to never use the internet again?
“If someone was ready to fork over $1 million to you to stop using the Internet – forever – would you do it?” Economics professor W. Michael Cox, who asked that question of his students, received an unambiguous reply. “You couldn’t Read More >
Data taxes will hurt consumers and local business — not large tech companies Smaller businesses will most suffer from higher costs
The UK and Australia may soon press ahead with world-first digital taxes on the appropriation of user data for advertising and other services by tech giants such as Google and social media platforms like Facebook. These moves come as France’s Read More >
The latest chapter in this sorry farce should derail HS2 The Government should shelve HS2 and invest in the rest of our transport network
There is a new instalment in the poorly acted farce that is HS2. Today it has been revealed that HS2 may be forced to cut the number of trains it runs each hour in a vain attempt to curtail the project’s ever-increasing costs. The move Read More >
Tech innovation means huge opportunities, but also responsibilities Paying taxes through an app could soon be commonplace
Recently, I asked for the public’s thoughts on the sharing economy. I also met SharingEconomyUK, an industry body representing companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Zipcar, TaskRabbit, Liftshare, Deliveroo, Gumtree and many more. What I heard Read More >
Are we really in danger of getting ‘designer babies’? Fear not - gene editing will be used to fix problems, not make super humans
There was a horrible inevitability about the recent announcement of a gene-edited baby: that it would happen at some point, that it would be in China, that it would be announced on YouTube by the rogue researcher, He Jiankui of the Southern Read More >
Don’t think of it as technology, it’s just life as we’re going to know it How new developments will make our lives more efficient, more productive and happier
We’ve all heard that the CEO also needs to be the CTO – it’s a truth that we can’t ignore. Technology in business as in our lives is no longer something ‘separate’, it’s a part of it. We don’t see our smartphones as a Read More >
Even online, there’s no such thing as a free audience How the internet economy works and why it matters
The internet was supposed to fragment audiences and make media monopolies impossible. Instead, behemoths like Google and Facebook now dominate the time we spend online — and grab all the profits from the attention economy. A timely new book Read More >
AI is not a silver bullet for cyber security Will AI really improve cyber security?
The number of criminal cyberattacks keep rising and we are still fairly in the dark when it comes to how best to tackle them. AI is often seen as the holy grail that will save us from hackers and ransomware. But will it actually be able to Read More >
DIGITISING THE NHS: OPPORTUNITY OR LIABILITY? Healthcare apps, digital innovation and data security
Back in May, apparently in an effort to look like ‘real people’ on social media, Conservative MPs received some much-needed, if slightly elementary, top tips to up their game on Instagram. But while some have way to go in keeping up with the Read More >
Will lab-grown meat really change the future of food? Sustainability can only truly be achieved through innovation
We gluttonous Westerners are being told to dramatically cut our meat consumption to reduce our carbon footprint, but it could well be that a pioneering new technology removes the need for any enforced vegetarianism. If we can resist the Read More >
How smartphones are helping to save the planet Smartphones are incredibly useful. Whether we use them wisely is up to us
Some people are dumping their smartphones and returning to old-fashioned hand-held devices. Eddie Redmayne did so in 2016, stating, “It was a reaction against being glued permanently to my iPhone during waking hours. The deluge of emails was Read More >
PropTech in Block Management The impact of technology on property management
Surveying is not an industry generally renowned for perching on the cutting edge of technology. You would be hard pressed to find many established businesses in this sphere at the forefront of the digital revolution, although the principle of Read More >
NHS Pollwatch Apps are an obvious way in which a cash-strapped NHS can help ease the burden
Back in May, apparently in an effort to look like ‘real people’ on social media, Conservative MPs received some much-needed, if slightly elementary, top tips to up their game on Instagram. But while some have way to go in keeping up with the Read More >
Good in a crisis 2018 reminded us that crises can hit any sector and the public response can be brutal in impact
Exxon Valdez, Gerald Ratner, Deepwater Horizon - all names that have become metonyms for corporate crisis. More recently, organisations such as PepsiCo and Microsoft, as well as large charities, have experienced crises of their own, through Read More >
TURN THE WHITE HEAT DOWN Recent polling of MPs by ComRes reveals that three quarters (75%) believe there needs to be more regulation of the technology sector generally
Politicians love to talk up technological advances. Those of a certain age will recall Harold Wilson famously talking about the “white heat” of the technological revolution demanding economic and social changes “which permeate our whole Read More >
The importance of the IoT within the sector The applications of new technologies in your building system can have endless possibilities.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of interconnected devices or systems, which communicate and share data with other smart devices. The IoT is all around us—and it’s connecting our phones, computers, cars, and homes. It allows us to Read More >
The EU’s war on what makes the internet great Why does the EU want to ban memes?
What is it about the European Union and bad tech laws with boring names? Brussels managed to transform four harmless letters into a byword for irritating compliance-induced spam and pop ups as well as a consolidation of power for the Read More >
How technology will make cities better places to live in With The Internet of Things we can mitigate risks, prevent damage and reduce costs.
Technology isn’t just about your home or office, it’s also about the environment that surrounds us all. And it’s happening now. Urbanites are the driving force of economies, innovation and lifestyle. By 2045, the world's urban Read More >
Britain has the chance to lead the world in AI. Will we take it? Britain's AI scene is messy. But that could be an advantage
The government announced a “sector deal” for the artificial intelligence industry today, which it says is worth £1 billion. About a third of that comes in the form of public funding and a third from new private sector investment, the rest Read More >
How the Internet of Things will benefit older and younger generations What’s more important? Your fridge telling you to buy some milk on the way home, or your floor recognising an older person has fallen and notifying the emergency services?
Having recently hosted an event at MIPIM 2018 on the topic I can confidently say the Internet of Things (IoT) is here to stay and is set to make big differences in the way we live, work and shop. You can look at stats such as there being a Read More >
Robots are coming for our jobs. Isn’t that great? Technological changes have made work more fun and less dangerous
Technological progress has frequently resulted in changes in the nature of work, sometimes affecting skilled workers more and sometimes affecting unskilled workers more. But whichever categories of worker were affected, such changes have almost Read More >
Data, data everywhere but what to do? What is ‘Big Data’ and is it a problem or a solution?
Rob Bould past chairman of the Investment Property Forum and NED of Coyote Group gives his perspective the tech revolution in the property industry and looks at the practical applications of these new technologies. Few people can define ‘Big Read More >
Speak up! Smart home technology finds its voice in 2018
With the annual Consumer and Electronics Show (CES) having recently taken place in Las Vegas, now is a good time to assess which technology is set to make an impact in the property world this year and beyond. Voice activation truly arrived at Read More >
Pile of bitcoins The wild ride of cryptocurrencies An introduction to Bitcoin, blockchain, and price volatility...
I spent Christmas in Northern California this year and met up with friends whilst in San Francisco. Given that I was in the world’s tech hub, it didn’t take long for the conversation to turn to Bitcoin (amongst many other Read More >
Boutique selling children's toys and clothing The future of retail 8 ways that technology will change the way we shop in 2030
Automation, customisation and big data are some of the trends expected to change the retail industry and the way consumers shop in the future. Recently CBRE, the world’s leading real estate services firm and a Partner of The Property Chronicle, Read More >
Digital screen with abstract reflections Democratising real estate via blockchain: the example of FundPlaces The journey of a proptech start-up
Kok Keong Tan is the co-founder of FundPlaces, an alternative investment platform for real estate. I embarked on a different type of real estate journey three years ago, setting out to change how people invest in real estate. My team and I Read More >
Young professionals working at desks in an office Has Elon Musk cracked the renewable energy conundrum? Our new Technology columnist investigates the serial entrepreneur's latest offering
Elon Musk, perhaps the world’s best-known serial tech entrepreneur, has spent the last 15 years creating an empire that has vertically integrated the sustainable energy and transport market and now he is on the verge of bringing it to the Read More >

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