Getting Disrupted

February 14, 2018

In this narrative I talk about disruption quite a bit.  My own industry, brokerage, is in the bullseye of all tech companies.  Below is a Forbes article discussing how technology will do 90% of my job within a decade. Scary, right?

Here are some highlights of this work:

– Automation may be capable of taking over various disciplines within commercial real estate brokerage including surveys, data collection, lease preparation, market monitoring, etc.

– The most repetitive and simple tasks could be delegated to automation, such as rent collection and monitoring market conditions.

– One area not progressing that far yet is Interpersonal skills. Humans are still superior in this area, so far.

Our team eagerly anticipates all of these changes.  We see automation and technology as adding more value to our REAL service — representing tenants in negotiating their leases.  While the process will continue to get streamlined, the value we bring has never been about touring options, or sending out proposals.  Rather it’s about understanding our client’s business, developing a trusted relationship and negotiating the best terms. As you read below, you’ll notice none of these are on the automation list.

If you want a trusted advisor, backed by the best team in the industry, that’s us. Give me a call.





Commercial Real Estate Brokers And Appraisers: Technology Will Do 90% Of Your Job In A Decade

By: Mike Phillips

August 23, 2017




The real estate industry is covering its eyes and ears, humming loudly and pretending it is not listening. But a new report says that in a decade, up to 90% of the core tasks undertaken by people in real estate service firms could be done by technology.
The report, The Impact of Emerging Technologies on the Surveying Profession, looks at how a sector that has been slow to adapt to technological change can hold back the tide no longer.

It was not commissioned by a technology firm looking to talk up the prospects of its own business; it comes from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the nearly 150-year-old body that represents brokers, appraisers and other real estate service providers in the U.K.

The report by Remit Consulting broke down the core jobs of real estate service providers into 43 different tasks and analyzed how susceptible they were to automation in the next decade as a result of technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning, the Internet of Things and block chain.

“Surveying appears to be an industry in which 88% of the core tasks are ripe for automation to a greater or lesser degree,” the report concluded. Surveying is the catch-all term for everything from investment and leasing brokers, to property managers and valuers /appraisers, to construction consultants.

And yet the profession simply does not think this will happen. Remit asked real estate services professionals in the U.K. how likely they thought it was that some of their job could be automated. Respondents predicted an average of 46% of their job could be done by technology, a much lower figure than that arrived at by the researchers.
RICS Article – The Impact of Emerging Technologies on the Surveying Profession
Predictions that automation will make humans redundant have a long history, going back to the First Industrial Revolution, when textile workers, most famously the Luddites, protested that machines and steam engines would destroy their livelihoods.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has started with billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to information.

The opportunities that this situation presents will be magnified by emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, new materials, energy storage, and quantum computing. The idea that manual work can be carried out by machines is already familiar; now the Fourth Industrial Revolution sees machines performing tasks done by information workers too. This is likely to usher in a period of disruptive change for all industries including surveying.

Each of these is likely to be disruptive in its own way and in particular areas of the industry. In the assessment of impact, this paper takes as its starting point the structure of the surveying profession as defined by RICS, overlaid with the functional structure of the industry. This allows us to draw up a skills matrix for surveying functions. Surveyors are multi-skilled professionals.

Each job title will share a set of basic tasks and add to this a specialism. For example, brokers will share a set of common task descriptions covering reporting, monitoring of market information, etc. with other disciplines, but will focus on specialist expertise in sales or lettings. In order to model the impacts of a digital future, this research uses the Remit process model as a guide to break down these functions into a set of 43 tasks.

Each task has then been scored according to its content in five areas:
• Data content
• Algorithmic content
• Learning content
• Interpersonal skills
• Physical presence

Of these tasks 18 – nearly half – exhibit a high degree of vulnerability (70%-100%) to automation now and over the next decade. A further 20 show a significant degree of vulnerability (20%+) over the same period. Surveying appears to be an industry in which 88% of the core tasks are ripe for automation to a greater or lesser degree. This finding acts as a harbinger for discontinuous and disruptive change. How aware are industry participants of this coming change? In order to take soundings from the whole industry, an online survey was used to solicit opinion. 154 responses were received. The questions covered nine scenarios based upon the likely impact of technology in different areas:
• Data
• Valuation
• Risk evaluation
• Lease preparation
• Monitoring of market conditions
• Lease management
• Rent collection
• Service charge collection
• Acquisition and disposal of investment property.
Responses were solicited as to likelihood on a scale of zero (unlikely) to 100 (very likely). The overall mean across the survey was 46/100. The most likely area for automation was felt to be collection of rent which scored 70/100. The least likely candidate for automation, at just over 28/100, was felt to be acquisition and disposal of property. The majority of other responses were clustered around the mean. At a functional level the impact of automation is likely to be especially disruptive in the areas of lease management, valuation and property, and asset and facilities management and will be seen in different ways:
• An increase in the consistency, transparency and timeliness of transactions;
• A step change in the accuracy and timeliness of reporting;
• An explosion in the number of sensors deployed under the IoT umbrella will increase the visibility and responsiveness of all buildings and facilitate remote facilities management;
• A reduction in the cost of managing a portfolio of buildings, it being likely that the headcount in particular areas – valuation for example – will be reduced significantly; and
• A change in the skillset required. Surveyors are likely to become either data scientists or client managers. This has implications for real estate education going forward.
Longer term, this revolution paves the way for property to compete on a level playing field with other asset classes, becoming a wholly securitized, flexible, and dynamic asset underpinned by its residual value.



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