William Young, Vice President, EMEA & Corporate Development at NavigatorCRE
Few industries have been left untouched by the winds of technological change. As a historically antiquated sector, there's no doubt that for many in real estate, tech-driven transformation hasn't been an easy pill to swallow.
Within the property industry and the business community as a whole, the advent of artificial intelligence, for example, has caused fierce debate. But AI aside, there are numerous new technological innovations that are beginning to find traction and revolutionise business intelligence within commercial real estate.
Take Excel spreadsheets, a favourite of the property industry, and rightfully so, for many tasks. The availability of new tools, however, has eliminated the need for time-consuming manual data entry, and the significant risk of errors creeping into datasets. These newer capabilities free real estate professionals from tasks like data consolidation and standardisation, instead enabling a focus on strategic decision-making and value-add activities that optimise portfolios. Platforms like our own offer a comprehensive solution that consolidates, analyses and visualises vast data, saving resources, and gathering valuable intelligence.
Instigating further technological adoption within the global real estate market is the growing importance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting. The UK's November 2020 National Infrastructure Strategy report emphasises the need for bold and transformative measures in the industry. Six recommendations are identified to help decarbonise the built environment, including employing technology to improve productivity. Companies need the ability to track and report their impact, initiatives, and practices. As the urgency to address the climate crisis grows, owners and operators will need access to their ESG data alongside traditional financial and operational data to drive efficient, comprehensive decision-making across strategies and portfolios.
Economic uncertainty has served as a poignant catalyst for greater tech adoption within the commercial real estate industry. It is predicted that there is a 70 per cent chance of a recession hitting the US this year. The apprehension around investing in new technology is understandable, however, it is now more important than ever to do so. Businesses need to look for smarter ways to optimise their portfolios and maximise ROI in the face of serious economic headwinds.
The real estate industry is undergoing a significant digital transformation, driven in part by the twin factors of growing financial and ESG pressures. Although the sector has been historically resistant to change, the benefits offered by new capabilities and innovations are becoming increasingly apparent the more broadly they are deployed. The integration of technology is revolutionising business intelligence, organisational efficiency, and financial performance - paving the way for a more prosperous and sustainable future.