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Traditional Real Estate Knows PropTech Will Be Big, Just Not What To Do About It


The vast majority of real estate executives know that digital innovation and PropTech are big opportunities for their business. But most still have no clue what to do about it.

That is the finding of a global survey of commercial real estate professionals undertaken by KPMG about the role of PropTech and digital change.

Its annual Global PropTech Survey found that 93% of the 270 people surveyed agreed that they need to engage with PropTech, and 90% thought that it would help their business.

But just a third have a strategy for how to engage with PropTech, and digital innovation more generally. That is up from a quarter last year, but still means a vast swath of the real estate industry has no real plan for how to engage with technological change.

“PropTech remains a key topic of conversation in the industry and high on the agenda for many executives, but KPMG member firms continue to see more talk than action,” KPMG said in the report. “Although many  acknowledge its importance and potential impact on their organizations, without a burning platform to respond to PropTech immediately, it is often superseded by the multitude of other challenges that decision makers face in today’s complicated global environment.”

When asked which technological innovations will have the biggest impact on the real estate industry in the short term, automation of processes like finance and the use of big data and data analysis were the two most popular choices, with 30% and 27%, respectively, picking those areas. They were also the two PropTech sectors those surveyed were most likely to actually use in the short term. At the bottom of the pile were 3D printing and autonomous vehicles.

In the long term, artificial intelligence was seen as having the biggest impact.

Building management, data management and performance measurement were seen as the areas where PropTech will have the biggest direct impact on real estate, with lease renewals and transactions seen as being least affected.