A GoReport/RICS proptech survey found industry respondents widely recognise digitisation opportunities, but adoption speeds vary, with privacy and ethical use of data seen as the biggest challenge to wider adoption.
A proptech survey carried out by Belfast-based mobile survey technology vendor GoReport has found that industry respondents widely recognise digitisation opportunities, but adoption speeds vary.
The survey (conducted in partnership with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland and The Survey Association) gathered responses from 476 people, 95% of whom were based in the UK and Ireland, 75% of whom were RICS members (65% of them being building surveyors). Just over two-thirds (68%) said they were users of proptech (quite widely “defined as all aspects of innovation and how this impacts the built environment… software, hardware, materials or manufacturing”)
Variable proptech adoption
The survey showed almost universal (98%) recognition of the digitisation opportunity, but adoption of proptech varied. Ranking themselves on a 10-point scale, 20% were at 1 (no adoption); a further 36% ranked themselves from 2 to 5; 4% ranked said they had fully adopted proptech. Just over half (53% had a digital strategy) – about the same number (52%) as said they had a good understanding of proptech; 39% of organisations had not invested heavily in proptech or relevant training, but 48% felt they had the necessary skills and expertise to fully embrace proptech.
Lack of training/knowledge topped the list of challenges to adoption of proptech. However, content with traditional methods (39%) and fear of change (33%) both figured, alongside usual industry concerns about time and costs and about the return-on-investment and potential benefits.
Asked about the major challenges facing the sector and its increased reliance on data, privacy and ethical use of data was seen as the biggest challenge (45%), followed by data ownership issues (38%). Less challenging were silo-based data (33%) and issues with access to data (37%).
COVID-19 driving technology use
GoReport executive chairman, David Bell commented:
“Since the last survey in 2018, surveyors are seeing a greater impact of technology on their business and many are actively embracing the opportunity to drive efﬁciency, service improvements and to make more informed decisions.
“In the current climate, now more than ever we are witnessing the true value of technology and the benefits of digitisation as surveyors look to find smarter and more flexible ways of working. A continuation on this journey will enable the profession to be more resilient to deliver services to clients. The survey highlights the importance of increased information and training required for successful integration of technology into everyday working practices and the need to adopt a customer-centric flexible approach.”
“For many people, the pandemic has compelled people to make greater use of technology in their private and work lives. The next chapter will be interesting to see how surveyors use digitisation to support the profession.“
GoReport CEO since 2018 (post), Anthony Walker, Technology Survey lead, RICS UK and Ireland Board member (right) said:
“Over the last two years the pace of technological change that is powering the digitisation of the built environment has continued to increase, requiring us to think strategically about how we deploy our expertise and resource. Surveyors need to be positioned centrally to add credibility to bridge between the technology sector and the surveying profession to ensure that technology is an enabler to augment their knowledge, skills, expertise and reﬂective thought. Technological is no longer an optional extra – without it surveyors will struggle to compete, be productive and add maximum client value.”
Update (8 August 2020) – GoReport’s survey news release was issued in early May. Days earlier, on 30 April 2020, Anthony Walker had resigned as a director 18 months after joining the Belfast, Northern Ireland-based firm. At the beginning of July, he joined the board of Bournemouth-based survey, CAD, BIM and and scanning company Topscan (news release). He will lead new project management, contract administration and fire safety services for the company.