It’s a pleasure to introduce this new series of insights into proptech from the team at DAC Beachcroft. We hope that this series will bring you some fresh views, supporting your response to the opportunity of new technology. As lawyers, we are fortunate to see at first hand how businesses are beginning to embrace new ideas, and it is very exciting to be involved in strategic discussions and embedding the applications.
Proptech will change the real estate industry whether the current players are ready or not. Traditional roles are secondary to what organisations have the capacity, resource, desire and strategy to accomplish. At its heart is data, creating a more customer centric world.
There are many positives for those who can take advantage of the opportunity and we will explore several of them in greater depth in the series. With technology, property can become a value adding asset that improves performance in the workplace, health in the home and revenue in the high street. As headlines, proptech can for example:
Help reduce energy consumption. Buildings account for over third of final energy consumption globally, but intelligent systems can reduce consumption by 20%.
Building Information Modelling layered with internal sensors could facilitate pre-emptive repairs and improve building usage.
Homes and offices will be able to adapt to the preference of occupiers: modular construction will bring in greater flexibility for the internal space; data received from the Internet of Things will allow for individual temperature control in offices and alert carers to the health of occupiers living alone.
Digital twins will allow simulation, testing solutions in the virtual space before committing to the time and expense in the real space.
Mixed reality, augmented reality, facial recognition and artificial intelligence have the potential to create the improved service and excitement that will help redefine our retail environments.
With the opportunity comes significant shifts in risk management. Security and privacy controls will need to be an intrinsic part of every device and network. Proptech will also bring radical change to the existing ecosystem. Making infrastructure and design decisions years or months before occupancy appears unsustainable. Cost, previously the driver of many building decisions, cannot be the premier factor in era where buildings are being asked to do more. Easier access and faster delivery means that location will not necessarily be a primary factor in valuation.
Many see the potential, but there is a disconnect between the promise and the application and indeed the invention. The gap between what is imagined and business as usual is getting smaller. Technology is developing at a rate that few have yet been able to compute. Technology is no longer an addendum to strategy. It is at the heart of every business and successful application means that it needs to be aligned strategically with organisational and market change.