Homes and gardens

Changing contours of proptech

Employees at IT firm  

The nature of work is changing worldover and dictating changes in the workspaces. Corporate real estate (CRE) is no longer a real estate industry. It is morphing into a service focused around improving productivity of people. Huge increase in induction of data and computing power and phenomenal advance of Algorithms are the major drivers of dynamism in workspaces. Gone are the days when the offices were conceived as ‘spreadsheets’. Technological advancements are rewiring the world around the businesses. Though the real estate industry has little to do with it per se, it will have to bend to its will. Those that will get moulded by it will be the winners. Others will languish or lose out in the race.

This was the crux of the prophetic words by Antony Slumbers, the internationally renowned expert on PropTech at the 2019 Corenet Global India Conference held earlier this week in Bengaluru. Slumbers was addressing a gathering of prominent realtors from across the country on the theme of “A dynamic world requires Dynamic Corporate Real Estate”.

Automation

Quoting a MicKinsey Report, Slumbers said, it is estimated that 49% of the activities that people are paid to do in the global economy have the potential to be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technology. "Artificial algorithms will be to many white collar workers what tractors were to farm hands; a technology that dramatically increases the productivity of each worker and shrinks the total number of employees required,” he observed.

"For instance", he pointed out, "Surveying appears to be an industry in which 88% of the core tasks are ripe for automation to a greater or lesser degree as found by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Slumbers who has devoted over 15 years on studying the changing contours of spaces in the wake of influx of technology, says Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially machine learning, is the most important general-purpose technology of the current era. Outlining five of its key capabilities — Perception, Communication, Knowledge, Reasoning, and, Planning — he says the businesses can now understand what is happening in pictures and videos, understand people using language, automate processes, optimize complex systems, create content and make predictions.

‘Imaginariums’

Slumbers said that all structured, repeatable and predictable work can now be automated as it is ‘Old work’ and needs no innovation. The ‘New Work’ comprises design, imagination, inspiration, creation, empathy, intuition, innovation, collaboration and special intelligence. “Future workspaces will therefore be ‘imaginariums’”, he remarked.

Slumbers said 56% of Asia’s top 200 occupiers are already using flexible workplaces in some capacity, and 91% are considering using them. He foresees changes happening at a pace much higher than one could imagine and the corporate real space will have to accommodate them by changing. “An office designed around the ‘old work’ will be rendered obsolete and the future office will have to be designed around ‘new work’, he adds.

Elaborating the concept of ‘Space as A Service’, Slumbers says spaces will be (and are being) procured on demand whether by the hour, day, week, month or the year. Secondly, these will come designed for the ‘job to be done’ of every individual, as and when it would be needed.

Productive workforce

Based on this, Slumbers says the real estate industry is no longer about real estate as businesses don’t want an office, they want a productive workforce. He therefore identifies improving of the productivity of the people to be the core value proposition.

This will entail real estate expert, IoT specialist and data scientist, hospitality expert, workplace expert and HR expert to put in coordinated effort in shaping workspaces.

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 3:34:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/homes-and-gardens/changing-contours-of-proptech/article28204394.ece

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