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News & opinion

8 JUN 2022

May proptech Highlights

In my April blog entry I highlighted that the new Automated Valuation Models (AVMS) Insight Paper is now available for download.  One of the next steps we are taking, is to look at the potential RICS competencies that could support members who are using or developing AVMs, and indeed, the broader implications of automation across other areas of the profession.  We have held additional forums across March and April to discuss this topic with stakeholders from all the world regions and I will provide an update on progress in a future blog entry.

Professionals working in construction, which multiple studies identify as the single area of human activity that accounts for more carbon impact than any other, have a unique responsibility to ensure that data and technology driven practice plays a positive role in our future and that of the communities they serve, and during May, a colleague and I published a report into the degree of adoption of BIM and Digital Twins across the global construction sector.

Once again, May’s video discussions ranged far and wide, with contributors from the US, the Caribbean, the UK, Europe, and from countries across Sub-Saharan Africa

Digitisation has the potential to help politicians, developers, planning authorities, and communities with the planning process.  Jason Hawthorne and Piers Mulroney of VU.CITY spoke with me as we discussed how data, technology, and gaming engines can help overcome obstacles in the UK planning process.

The built and natural environment is already being impacted by Artificial Intelligence (AI) in all its forms and the associated ethical issues surrounding its use.  And our sector needs to achieve a balance between risk management and maximising the opportunities and benefits that AI offers.  Adelina Cooke of Google, Dan Hughes of Alpha Property Insight, Emre Kazim of Holistic AI, and Cordel Green of the Broadcasting Commission spoke with me on a panel session as they discussed the issue of artificial intelligence governance and ethics from a risk management perspective and how it impacts the built and natural environment.

The short-term rental market provides an opportunity for asset owners to maximise their income with a mix of short, medium, and long-term rentals.  And following on from our recent discussion with our Tech Partner, UnderTheDoormat, Deborah Heather from Quality in Tourism spoke with me to describe the legislative, compliance, and quality issues that the sector needs to address.

There is a huge opportunity for data and technology to support the development of real estate in Sub-Saharan Africa with remittances from the diaspora driving property development.  Kwame Kankam Adom and Fatou Tanor Dieng from Property Datahub spoke with me and described the development of their new platform, Traverse, and how this combination of data and marketplace, will support real estate in all its forms across Ghana, Senegal, Kenya and beyond.

Venture capital and private equity have made significant investments in CRETech to support valuation, but how has this improved the capital market’s ability to understand the relationship between value and risk over time for real estate as an asset class?  Howard Radley of Radley Associates spoke with me as we talked about what the valuation profession could learn from the capital markets and their approach to portfolio management, covering factors such as correlation, diversification, risk-adjusted returns, and maturity matching.

The digitisation and provision of upfront data in the property market across England and Wales is a very active area now with both the Home Buying and Selling Group and Trading Standards working on defining the data that should be available to buyers as soon as possible in the process. I spoke with Tim Main and David Sandeman from PIP and the Essential Information Group as they explained how getting documents into data rooms supports quicker and less wasteful property transactions for both private treaty and auction sales.

Many different forms of property technology are now being applied to produce productive, comfortable, flexible, and smart spaces.  Zac Goodman from Switched On Space and I covered topics such as choosing the right technology vendors to partner with, reviewing the pace of adoption in different markets across the world, how ESG and the net-zero agenda is affecting the take-up of property technology, and the debate around on how rental values are being affected by the different quality of space available.

The payment process for letting agents must fit and sit alongside different jurisdictional compliance requirements around the world, and work with client money protection schemes and insurers.  Neil Cobbold of PayProp spoke with me and described how property technology can support letting agents, landlords, and tenants.