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Commercial Real Estate Really Doesn’t Believe Technology Will Change It Yet

Google's self-driving car technology — real estate doesn't think it will be disruptive.

Amara’s law states people overestimate the impact of technology in the short term but underestimate its impact in the long term.

Commercial real estate is kind of the other way round at the moment.

According to a new report from consultancy Altus, senior commercial real estate professionals are skeptical about the impact technology trends in the headlines will have on their industry.

Presented with six potentially game-changing technologies, a group of 400 professionals across the world managing $2 trillion of assets poured cold water on the potential for them to have a big disruptive impact.

Smart building technology was seen as having the most impact, but still only 35% felt it would be significantly disruptive. Just 28% felt that artificial or machine intelligence would have a large impact. The figure was 24% for big data and predictive analytics, 18% for augmented and virtual reality, 15% for blockchain technology and 9% for driverless vehicles.

“CRE firms are facing the challenge of finding a balance between operational benefits delivered by existing technology and the potential disruptive impact to business models by what’s coming next,” Altus Chief Executive Robert Courteau said.

The survey was part of Altus’ CRE Innovation Report. In spite of the headline findings, half of those surveyed thought many of the workflows and processes of the real estate industry could be automated.

Altus concluded the results imply the industry is ready for the acceleration of automation, which will completely change the way tasks like debt underwriting, capital market brokerage and property management are undertaken today.

A big barrier to the utilisation of technology is lack of the right staff, with 50% of those surveyed saying they had a shortage of technology staff.