Seismic impact of new technology will change where and when we work and the property sector needs to be ready finds conference.
It won’t be the effect of one new technology that will affect the corporate real sector – but the impact of a range of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain (which enables the quick and easy transfer of money and assets, offering a range of advantages to real estate transactions) and BIM happening at the same time. This was one of the key messages at the recent conference held by the Federation of Corporate Real Estate (FedCRE) on Seismic Shifts in Technology and its impact on Property Professionals.
Behaviour follows technologies, it was agreed, which is why these new technologies are fundamentally affecting the nature of the work we do, as whatever is structured, repeatable or predictable will be automated. As this will remove maybe half of the tasks that people do today, we will need to develop our human skills, with the elements that computers can’t do, like empathy, design and social intelligence.
This in turn will change what we use office space for, which means the days of a corporate saying ‘I’ve a thousand staff – what property needs do I have?’ is over. The days of everyone within a company turning up to work in the same building will go.
Explained PropTech expert Antony Slumbers: “In central business districts, you’re going to have organisations taking 20-50 per cent less spaces and those that are taken will be much more focussed on human interactions and collaboration, which will require a mix of 10 year leases, a lot of co-working spaces and working from home. This means that the absolute nature of how corporates will occupy space will be transformed, because all this technology will change the work we are doing.”
Explaining RICS’ approach to preparing members for this influx of technology, Dan Hughes, its Director, Data and Information Product Management explained that given the impact of tech on real estate, following a series of consultations, RICS is introducing new competencies which are more data based and are: “Intended to give people an understanding of what these terms are, what they can do and how they are going to change the built environment.
“These are not necessarily about making you a data scientist but give you an understanding of what data and technology can do to enhance performance.”
As for the future of the built environment, Slumbers argued: “When organisations procure space as a service, when and where they want it, that turns the property world’s value chain upside down, as historically developers and landlords were product people. This means the real estate sector has to change from being a product-led industry to a service industry.”