Our team were delighted to recently attend and sponsor the Bisnow ‘Technology Driving Profitable Real Estate’ event. Held in the impressive looking Kensington Building, guests gathered to hear from four different panel discussions, covering a range of PropTech subjects.
What followed was lots of interesting and informative discussions. Here’s a few of our key takeaways from the event.
Tech aids sustainability
ESG continues to dominate the real estate agenda. The way that buildings are not only used but also built is coming under increased scrutiny. A lot has been talked about IoT and how sensors can be used to monitor space and improve energy usage but increasingly the use of technology is becoming more common during the construction phase. Knowing where your materials are sourced from, the carbon emissions during their creation and also what they’ll output if you demolish or reuse them, is all becoming more and more important. This info can then be used along with the day to day running environmental data to give a fuller picture of the environmental footprint of the space.
Data needs a set of standards
Building management systems (BMS) and IoT devices and sensors all generate huge amounts of data. In various panel discussions, there was a lot of talk about who gets access to this data, how it can be used and also what happens to it when the building is sold. There are currently no set of standards regarding how this data should be used and processed and a number of panellists highlighted the need for them. This lack of standards is hindering the process of obtaining data cheaper and faster and the sector will increasingly need to start using it more in their decision-making processes. Our MD, Jon Seal pointed out that the sharing of this data also needs to be improved with building owners, operators and suppliers all benefitting from access to it.
The way we use space is changing and tech can help
The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way a lot of commercial real estate is being used. The rise in flexible workspace and the lack of demand for long term leases from potential users means that the real estate industry needs to refresh the way it works and adapt to the change. There are now numerous software packages available that can help owners and operators flex their buildings to different uses and adapt more quickly to changing demands. Technology can also help to change the way the way that tenants use the space. Apps were discussed a lot with a range of features offered by different platforms. Here again, data was brought into the conversations and how, by giving users access to their data and, importantly, ways to interact with it, not only benefits the end users themselves but also the investors and owners of the building.
AI and tech can help to find and purchase buildings
The way that investors select and purchase buildings hasn’t really changed much. It’s still a people business and comes with a certain amount of ‘gut feel’ rather than hard data. The final panel of the session looked at ways that tech is helping to manage the whole process of purchasing buildings and making investments. Packages can now sift through what property is available and select a range of options depending on the user’s criteria. Lots of agents are still using word or pdf marketing documents to help sell properties and it was highlighted how the information in these docs could be extracted, thereby enabling the decision making and purchasing processes to become quicker and more efficient.