Director of Innovation Darryll Colthrust has contributed to the BPF PropTech Report, entitled ‘Leading the digital transformation of global Real Estate’. Below, he has given his summary of the report and its key findings.

On Wednesday 6th March, the BPF published, ‘Leading the digital transformation of global Real Estate’, written by Dan Hughes (CEO of Liquid Real Estate Innovation) with input from many industry leaders, myself included. It is a report on the state of the Real Estate digital transformation journey in the UK and how we compare globally. There are few recommendations, on the route forward. From my perspective, the key theme that runs through this report is the need to collaborate more by sharing information and learnings. The UK real-estate industry cannot continue to be leaders if we stay within our organisational silos during this wave of technological change. More collaboration is required if we want to continue to be leaders in this space. (see Figure 1)

The three key recommendations are as follows:

  1. Foundations of the Future
    1. UK Government to publish a roadmap of Real Estate-relevant digitalisation plans.
    2. A cross-sector coalition to map built environment data standards, to research priority use cases and ways to improve data sharing across the whole lifecycle.
    3. Real Estate companies to build digital skills into all staff training and ensure digital transformation feeds directly into business plans.
  1. Joined-up Government
    1. A Minister-led digital Real Estate forum to be created.
    2. Government to create a digital government interface or hub for people to discover and access Government activity relating to the digitalisation of Real Estate.
    3. UK Government to actively promote digital Real Estate on a world stage
  1. Innovation and Adoption
    1. The UK Real Estate sector to create a collaborative Real Estate R&D hub or lab,
    2. The UK Government to launch a Real Estate catapult.
    3. Use financial and regulatory levers:
      • The Government to target R&D tax credits and InnovateUK competitions towards Real Estate. Furthermore, it should ensure that technology to benefit a building over its lifespan is considered within the planning process
      • The Real Estate sector to ensure that data and technology is clearly articulated as part of the decision-making process and therefore more obviously included within the valuation of property.

More specifically, there has been an increase of big name technology companies entering the real-estate sector (e.g. Facebook’s 1m sqft in Menlo Park to build a net zero energy village, Google’s smart city development via Sidewalk Labs). The view from this report is that the winners will be those that collaborate and engage in the digitalisation of real-estate. The report also identifies some broad themes that culminate from this level of disruption.

  1. Real-estate is transforming from a product to a service industry with less focus on the building and more on the productivity of people within.
  2. A full life-cycle view of technology and data is required. That needs to start during design and construction.
  3. An increase in the use of technology to automate jobs at all levels.
  4. There will be new entrants to the technology market for every part of the supply chain.
  5. Real-estate strategies and models will be challenged as risk-averse decision-making processes come up against new occupier and investor expectations.
  6. Regulation will struggle to keep up with the pace of change without the appropriate standards in place.

There are a lot of initiatives already underway that we, as an industry should be actively engaged in by sharing our industry knowledge and utilising the tools and learnings to expedite our own internal transformations.

For the full report, please visit the BPF website or click here.