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Proptech – the shock of the new

Proptech will transform real estate; that is the buzz at virtually every industry event. Five years ago no-one was talking about it and now everybody is. For digital disruptors, property is one of the few sectors of the economy that remains more or less virgin territory, and they are flocking to colonise it.

The future of data within real estate

GoReport’s CEO, Anthony Walker FRICS, believes not: “My view as a surveyor who has entered the tech sector is that surveyors’ unique core skills, knowledge, experience, expertise and reflective thought must always remain,” he says. “It is about how technology can augment those core skills with powerful intelligence. We don’t need to become coders or data analysts, because those are specialist roles in their own right. They are difficult to get on top of, and if we are not careful could dilute the role of the surveyor.”

“The core skill we should develop is design thinking, the ability to put processes in place that can generate creative problem-solving, because that is where clients see the greatest value in the services they buy from surveyors.”

Technology will only increase the emphasis on human insight, argues Dan Hughes, founder of real estate technology consultant Alpha Property Insight: “Surveying, whether you’re producing a bill of quantities or a valuation, is very process-driven, and those processes will become more automated because data collection and data analysis is what computers are really good at. In the past we taught people to do a process, but in the future things like critical thinking, judgement and ethics will become more important as technology takes away the process bit, while the humans are left to do the human bit.”

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