The British Property Federation has commissioned a report, Lost in translation: How can real estate make the most of the PropTech revolution, which considers the opportunities and challenges posed by PropTech to the real estate sector.
Authored by Future Cities Catapult, the report notes that there is a strong correlation between digitisation and productivity. While real estate is not the least digitised economic sector, there is “significant untapped potential” and opportunities remain. Indeed, if the sector modernises and embraces PropTech, there is the possibility of transforming the economy through new ideas for property and its functions; better buildings for people to work, live and play in and for businesses to thrive in; improved infrastructure; and more prosperous communities.
Disruptive digital technology is already beginning to change the traditionally “safe and steady” property sector. The report highlights the current trends towards:
• more flexible use of space in buildings; • a more service-based approach to property; • use of sensors to provide information on building use and provide feedback to developers and architects; • virtual replicas of buildings as a tool to improve design and operation; and • more adaptable buildings that can cater for uncertain future uses.
With these trends only set to continue, the report makes a number of recommendations as to how the sector as a whole should respond to the technological revolution, including:
• improving market information by creating a PropTech library documenting all current and emerging PropTech innovation as well as developing property innovation and PropTech maturity indices to give the market a clearer understanding of a business’s capacity and preparedness for innovation/tech as well as the innovations it should be adopting;
• creating a cohesive approach to championing innovation across the property sector with the property industry, government and other key strategic organisations setting up a property sector regulatory sandbox and a property passport with common data standards for core information; and
• embedding digital knowledge and fostering innovative behaviours by building a leadership development course with an overview of technologies driving digital innovation and developing a programme to put early career software developers, engineers, designers and innovators in influential roles in property businesses.
The BPF has launched a technology and innovation group to implement these recommendations. The group will be led by Andy Pyle, UK head of real estate at KPMG, and includes co-founder, James Dearsley, amongst others.