Proptech acceleration in 2020 will hasten industry’s digital transformation

JLL suggests real estate technology will be the number one investment focus for CRE teams in 2020 accelerating the digital transformation of the workplace. Companies will invest heavily in employee and workplace experience apps and Internet of Things (IOT) technology as they seek to move towards an integrated digital workplace experience.

This investment in technology, data and analytics will be multi-faceted and span the whole real estate lifecycle from portfolio, to workplace, to building operations.

The parallel rise of employee experience as a core objective for CRE teams will mean that technology investment will be focused on innovation which improves the day-to-day workplace experience and performance of the employee, as well as driving performance or efficiency benefits at an enterprise level. Leading organisations will take a much more granular approach to measuring the impact of real estate and workplace decisions on human performance in 2020.

Jon Neale, head of UK research, JLL, explains:

“The number of new venture capitalists and accelerators is ever-increasing, and investment and talent is pouring in to the sector. But as yet, revenue is unimpressive, and it is hard to establish value. There is still a significant gap between tech companies and their audience; many entrepreneurs do not understand the industry and many in the industry do not understand data and technology. However, real estate companies have begun to skill-up internally, and a new wave of mediators will begin to emerge who can really leverage the potential of tech in the sector.

“A first step would be a more sophisticated approach in which property ecosystems are broken down into their component parts, so that clients can understand where these add value. The industry’s approach to data will start to grow up. Many companies are starting to realise that sophisticated tech solutions are worthless unless they utilise good-quality data.”

Over 2020, there will be a greater focus on data quality, governance and systems, so that tech solutions can be integrated into operations, where they can really add value, says JLL. The emphasis on integration will apply to buildings, as well as companies – how separate smart systems in areas such as lighting, aircon and access control can be made to work together to deliver a truly smart building.

Neale added:

“The next phase of PropTech will increasingly address sustainability issues. In the commercial sector, there is growing demand for sustainable, healthy and activated workplaces. Both landlords and corporates are pushing for higher standards and are often looking to technology for the answer. As a result, we expect to see a growth in tech solutions that are outcome-focused, and help clients achieve these goals. There will be a rise in tech offerings which focus on how to improve wellbeing in particular – in the residential sector as well as in business space.”

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