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'Property sector should get ready for large scale tech adoption by 2020,' say leading Tech Experts


Written on 2 March 2018

New research from Osborne Clarke explores impact of major tech trends across key property asset classes.

  • European tech experts think that by 2020, the main areas of technology driving change in the property industry will be commonplace – Big Data (73%), 3D Printing (70%) and Wearable Devices/Tech (69%)
  • The vast majority (83%) think that tech experts should play a key role in how the built environment operates
  • 82% of European tech experts believe that innovation can help solve housing shortages by accelerating delivery
  • Over three quarters (76%) believe that ‘tech giants’ are likely to become significant office landlords with technology being expected to make real-time pricing of offices
  • Autonomous Vehicles (32% agree), Robots & Cobotics (30% agree) and Big Data (25% agree) most likely to overcome challenges associated with ‘last mile’ logistics deliveries

The property sector should get ready to roll out major transformative technologies by 2020, according to the latest research from international legal practice Osborne Clarke in its report Future proof real estate – is the property sector ready for the 2020s?

Research conducted by FTI Consulting on behalf of Osborne Clarke surveyed over 550 European technology experts to harness their opinions around the scale of challenges, disruption and opportunities that tech innovations will bring to the property industry in the 2020s.

The respondents delivered a clear message to the sector; that it should be prepared for key tech trends – Big Data (73% agree), 3D Printing (70% agree), Wearable Devices/Tech (69% agree) – to be ready for large scale adoption by 2020.

It is clear that technologists also view the tech industry as an increasingly important influence on the built environment with 82% of respondents stating that their sector should play a key role.

Conrad Davies, Partner and Head of Real Estate and Infrastructure at Osborne Clarke, said: “This research gets to the source of the transformative technologies that are set to reshape our cities; the technology experts themselves.  This gives us an unprecedented understanding of the pace and depth of the changes ahead and what the property sector, across all asset classes, should be doing to stay aligned.

“When viewed as a whole, the research provides a fascinating insight into the 2020s when the built environment looks set to be re-written thanks to the likes of autonomous vehicles, advanced logistics systems and customised homes and offices. These profound changes have the potential to transform how we inhabit the land and how we design, deliver and manage the built environment.”

For the first time, the research explores the strength of the sentiment within Europe’s technology community around their sector’s ability to address key challenges facing the property sector including housing shortages and the rise of ecommerce and urban logistics.

A significant proportion of respondents (82%) believe that innovation can help solve housing shortages by accelerating delivery through greater utilisation of limited spaces (84% agree), delivering cost effective housing (78% agree) and delivering greater density at key locations (82% agree).

Technology should also support the anticipated reduction in home ownership by boosting the appeal of built to rent accommodation amongst the younger (73% agree) and older (70% agree) generations.

In terms of student accommodation, innovations that save students time and money will have the most impact; VR viewings (72%), energy consumption and cost appropriation (68%), and monitoring behaviour to improve overall management (68%) are the elements which are most likely to improve.

Not only are technology firms shaping office design, tech experts also predict that tech giants are likely to become significant landlords with technology being expected to deliver real time pricing of offices (81% agree).  They also predict that superior office tech will lead to occupiers being happy to pay a higher price for their space (83% agree).

European tech experts also expect significant changes to the logistics sector with 92% agreeing that autonomous vehicles have the potential to significantly change the location of distribution warehouses, 85% agreeing that intelligent buildings will reduce the amount of warehouse space overall and 79% agreeing that drones will be the answer to the war on space for last mile logistics.

About the research: Research was conducted online by FTI Consulting from 5th-12th January 2018, with n=555 IT experts participating (n=150 in the United Kingdom, n=150 in Germany, n=150 in France, and n=105 in the Netherlands).

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Conrad Davies

Partner, International Sector Leader, Real Estate and Infrastructure, UK

T +44 117 917 3216

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