A universal property language, a library of innovation and a ‘property passport’ are necessary to fill the gap between the supply and demand of UK proptech applications, according to research by the British Property Federation and Future Cities Catapult.
The report titled: “Lost in translation: How can real estate make the most of the proptech revolution?” is the work of Future Cities Catapult. It was commissioned by the BPF to understand the barriers to and opportunities for improving the productivity of the real estate sector through the application of technology.
The report, which surveyed 80 UK-based proptech companies, found a disparity between technological innovation available and current needs within the real estate sector.
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How can the UK property industry fully embrace emerging technologies?
In light of the report’s results, the BPF has published its recommendations for best proptech practices.
- A property passport should be established, similar to BIM’s use in construction. This would be a data standard for core information to be generated and maintained throughout the property lifecycle and for different users. This might include core asset, financial and building performance information, and could build on recent Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy consultation on standards for smart systems and a flexible energy system.
- Developing a library of all current and emerging proptech innovation to give the market a better understanding of which tech they should be investing in now. The library would be classified in line with the lifecycle, user needs and technological drivers, as well as a Property Innovation Index to assess a company’s capacity and preparedness for innovation, and a Property Maturity Index to understand the level of maturity of technologies.
- Creating a leadership development course, including a comprehensive overview of the technologies driving digital innovation and the business models changing industries. BPF has committed to doing this.
- Creating a shared language for the property sector to signal where the industry wants to head. One suggested framework might be SOAR (shared, outcome-focused, AI-driven, responsive). This would help bring key trends to prominence and provide a focus for professional development and lobbying.
- The property industry, government and other strategic organisations should set up a property sector regulatory sandbox with a view to ensuring regulation does not fence out innovation and promotes it. This could be combined with a short piece of research to understand the key perceived regulatory barriers for new and established property businesses.
- The government’s Centre for Digital Built Britain must work with industry, architects and innovators to improve consideration of productivity and wellbeing at the earliest stages of building design. Current data-driven digital innovation is focused on later stages of the building process, though BPF’s research found focusing on productivity and adaptability at the earliest stages of a project is essential.
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What do we want from our modern spaces?
The report also examines key real estate trends, and outlines the 5 main demands a modern landlord or tenant wants from a property:
- Flexible space. The use of data to analyse, plan and optimise space has created a fluidity in the way that we use buildings. This is demonstrated through the quick rise in coworking and coliving companies in the marketplace
- Space as a service. Occupiers want a lot more from buildings than an empty ‘dumb’ shell, be this ease of fit-out, the levels of digital connectivity, the facility management tools available, the data generation capabilities of the building or the overall impact on productivity and wellbeing
- Space for outcomes. The huge range of sensors embedded in our buildings means it is increasingly possible to measure the impact a building is having on health, wellbeing and productivity of its occupiers
- Digital space. The amount of data we can harvest about the built environment, together with new frameworks for their collection and coordination have the potential to change the way we plan buildings and cities, and design, manage and operate buildings, offering a cultural shift as much as a technological one
- Adaptable space. The above trends increase the need for buildings to be designed and built to allow for quick and easy adaptation, refitting and repurposing
Read the full BPF FCC Lost In Translation Proptech report