OAS Inaugural conference round up

The OAS inaugural conference was a resounding success, with more than 250 UK office agents, investors and developers attending the event at the iconic British Museum on the 10th October. The OAS Chairman, Matt Willcock of CBRE compared the day, bringing atmosphere and fun to the thought provoking agenda and discussions.

Distinguished speakers ranging from Nick Robinson to Lord Andrew Adonis did not disappoint. Key themes prevalent throughout the day included: how technology is influencing the way we work and conduct business, as well as how the future of property is first and foremost a human experience.

David Rowan, a Futurist and founder of Wired magazine, enthused delegates with his views on technology and how especially 'proptech' is vastly affecting the real estate sector.  He was passionate that companies, more and more, want space that 'create encounters'. 

The two debates 'Forget technology - what really counts is the personalisation of the work place' and a panel discussion on the 'threat and opportunity created by innovation in real estate', hosted by JLL's James Finnis, gave the audience the opportunity to hear a raft of passionate and informed opinions from industry giants such as IWG, CBRE, Realla and Aberdeen Standard Investments.

In addition, the inevitable topic of Brexit was address by the brilliant and insightful Bronwen Maddox, Economist and the director of Government, who gave a balanced overview of our current economic situation, recognizing that although Brexit brings with it short-term uncertainty, that there are some positives including improvement in productivity.

Lord Andrew Adonis, the former transport secretary addressed the audience and explained why he backed the decision to support a third runway at Heathrow as well as Crossrail and HS2. In addition, he delivered good news to the South-East office agents in the audience by stating that transport initiatives would see Reading transform into a mega-city and that Maidenhead and Slough would become cities, with access to London and Heathrow significantly improving over the next decade.

Although property is essentially bricks and mortar, as mentioned earlier, the human experience is at the core of the built environment sector. So it was a privilege to hear inspirational speaker Alan Chambers, the former Royal Marine who led the first unsupported UK expedition from Canada to the geographic North Pole. He challenged the audience to consider 'the only limits are those of vision' talking to them about his unique and often unhospitable work environment, where the challenges he and his team faced included harsh sub-zero temperatures, dwindling food supplies and a terrifying Polar Bear experience.

Nick Robinson, the OAS's keynote speaker, who is the familiar face and voice of TV and radio with over 30 years' experience in reporting and broadcasting, rounded off the OAS Conference with his chosen topic 'All that is certain is uncertainty'.  He delighted and amused the audience with his views on the chaotic political and economic situation visible today, with some excellent anecdotes involving the existing and previous UK and EU Governments taking centre stage.  A fantastic end to a brilliant day for all the OAS delegates.

Any profits made or money raised will be donated to the 2018 OAS charity partner, Small Steps.

For all those who attended, sponsored and took part in the day, thank you for your support of the Office Agents Society and in the OAS Conference.

To view photos of the conference, visit the gallery here

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