“Most smart buildings are operated like having a Bugatti Veyron and doing a supermarket shop in it.” - Rachel Kerwin, Eversheds Sutherland
Throughout March, in partnership with JPES Partners, we led several working groups with representation from across the real estate stakeholder ecosystem - landlords, occupiers, tech providers and operators – to get under the skin of the challenges driving technology adoption .
On the 19th April, we brought those voices together, a first for the industry from what we’ve seen, for a live, audience debate on whether smart buildings can work for everyone. Do we have a common understanding of what asmart building is? Are we running before we can walk? Are we guessing what each stakeholder wants without actually asking them?
THE CHALLENGES: Cutting through the white noise
“It’s about breaking down this idea of what smart tech is to make it attainable for people” – Adrian Dack, SHW
“it's recognising the different journey, what's important to different people and understanding some tech will be completely irrelevant.” – Helen Cave-Penney, Evora Global
Despite each stakeholder group engaging with proptech in one way or another, often in an isolated manner, many of the challenges faced were fully aligned.
The leading challenge for all was choice. There are 10,000+ solutions available and 100s of accreditations all vying for attention. Navigating such a crowded and noisy marketplace is seen as hard and a major staller to any progress, with growing concern that this is set to get more challenging as things currently stand.
Firmly alongside the challenge of choice was the concern around the limited education and expertise in the industry when it comes to technology. The idea of a smart building can differ from one company to the next, buyers often don’t fully understand the technology they’re procuring, and technology companies themselves can struggle to position their product and impact in the context of real estate.
THE REQUIREMENTS: You can't improve what you don't measure
“We get clients phoning us now saying we've got to understand our data because we can't sell this asset until we can provide X, Y, Z data.” – Helen Cave-Penney, Evora Global
“There needs to be a uniformity of data and reasons for it, so we know what we're going to capture, and why” – Adam Forster, Redevco
There is light at the end of the tunnel.
The list of challenges may be long, but there was a distinct alignment and prioritisation of requirements across all stakeholders, providing a unanimous starting point for sparking change in the industry.
The lynchpin was data. Without it, measurement, and improvement, cannot successfully take place. Whether this related to ESG requirements, cost reduction, space usage or issue reporting, each stakeholder was in agreement that the continued collection and sharing, of data was paramount to real estate’s future.
See how the conversation developed by watching the full event, or listening to a podcast of the panel discussion below.