Property people make one of two mistakes when it comes to tech

Property people make one of two mistakes when it comes to tech: they either take it too seriously or not seriously enough.



Those who take it too seriously proclaim their tech is operating in a multi trillion dollar market that is ripe for disruption and that the time is nigh. Obviously the whole Agency and relationships model is old hat, they say, and it is only a matter of time before their software disintermediates the whole shebang through pure, comprehensive data and algorithmically powered transactions. The irony that they are attempting to become the new middlemen is widely lost.

They are likely to be disappointed, at least in the next five years or so. A real estate transaction is not like booking a room, or hailing a taxi; it is multi dimensional, involves multiple parties with diverse data requirements, and is, for most participants an infrequent activity. As such they often require exactly what humans are good at, namely imagination, creativity, empathy and intuition.

However, computers have different skills to humans and this is why the other type of property person is wrong to not take tech seriously enough.

Tech may not take us humans out of the transaction but it sure is going to disrupt the way we work and how we occupy real estate.


5 reasons why tech is going to disrupt real estate

First off, property is as much about money as anything else and the finance industry IS being disrupted. Everywhere we will see algorithms displacing humans, matching human wants and needs, and removing the layers of rentier intermediaries. Crowdfunding and Peer to Peer lending will explode.

Secondly Big Data, whilst massively overhyped and always susceptible to the old adage that correlation is not causation will have major impacts in retail (through shopper preference analysis), industrial (through the increasing sophistication of warehousing) and offices (through extensive use of sensors to aid management and promote more efficient occupancy).

Thirdly, Pop Up stores may have started as a way to fill empty shops but their ability to spice up a retail location will ensure they become an ongoing feature in and out of town. This simple purpose transaction can and is one to be end to end digitised. Whether a computer or a human is better at deciding which Pop Up store is right for your brand will be an interesting area to watch. With enough data this is algorithmic nirvana. But is enough data available?

Fourthly, co-working centres are certain to increase in popularity, if only because the prevalence of self employment (voluntary or involuntary) means people need someone to go. And they tend to be much more human spaces than most offices. And as work/life becomes increasingly entangled people respond to places that feel more like home. Someone needs to make them more widely available though, as commuting hours a day just to meet like minded souls is an evolutionary half way house.

Fifthly, and this is the real disruption, a combination of ubiquitous high speed broadband, mobile devices, billions of cheap sensors and cloud computing will change the work that we do and in doing so the type of space we require. Anything that can be digitised will be and computers will deal with anything that can be algorithmically processed. Much that we do, for example, with MS Office can/will be automated. Spreadsheets, presentations, report writing; they will mostly be automated or handled via SaaS applications in the Cloud. As businesses become ever more digital they will realise swathes of processes or repeated tasks can be done away with. And then the interesting question really does become ‘what is the point of the office?’.

So, in conclusion, tech really is disrupting real estate; just not in the way most of the ‘disruptors’ are claiming.


The main conference theme of this year at MIPIM is “Digital Revolution Disrupting Real Estate”. Check out the MIPIM 2015 Conference & Events Programme



Antony Slumbers is a founder of Estates Today & Glasnost21 and a frequent contributor to MIPIMWorld Blog. Check out all of his posts here. Follow him on Twitter here.

Image © Shutterstock : Sergey Nivens



About Author

Antony Slumbers

Antony Slumbers has been a software development and technology strategist in commercial real estate since 1995. Now, he consults and works with real estate boards on Transformation, Technology and Innovation. A well-known speaker in property, he is a globally recognised expert on PropTech, and #SpaceAsAService. For more go to or talk to him on Twitter @antonyslumbers


  1. Avatar

    Hi excellent website! Does running a blog like this require a
    massive amount work? I have absolutely no understanding
    of computer programming but I had been hoping to start my own blog in the near future.

    Anyways, if you have any suggestions or tips for new blog owners
    please share. I understand this is off subject but I just needed to ask.
    Thanks a lot!

  2. Avatar

    hello!,I love your writing so a lot! percentage we
    communicate more approximately your post on AOL? I require an expert in this
    space to resolve my problem. Maybe that is you! Looking
    forward to peer you.

  3. Avatar

    I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own blog and was curious what all is required to get set up?

    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% sure. Any tips or advice would be
    greatly appreciated. Many thanks

  4. Avatar

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon on a daily basis.

    It will always be exciting to read articles from other authors and use something from other

  5. Avatar

    I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and engaging,
    and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something
    which too few folks are speaking intelligently about.
    I’m very happy that I came across this in my search for something relating to this.

  6. Avatar

    Hi there, I discovered your blog by way of Google whilst searching for a related matter, your web site came up, it
    looks good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Hi there, just turned into alert to your blog via Google, and located that it is really informative.

    I’m gonna be careful for brussels. I will appreciate in case you continue this in future.
    Lots of other folks might be benefited out of your
    writing. Cheers!

  7. Avatar

    Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff
    previous to and you’re just too fantastic. I actually like
    what you have acquired here, really like what you are
    saying and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it sensible.
    I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is actually a tremendous website.

  8. Avatar

    It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
    I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or tips.
    Maybe you could write next articles referring to
    this article. I desire to read even more things about it!

  9. Avatar

    Hi, I do believe this is a great website. I stumbledupon it
    😉 I will revisit once again since i have saved as a
    favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change,
    may you be rich and continue to guide other people.

  10. Avatar

    Have you ever considered about including a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. But think of if
    you added some great images or video clips to give your
    posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this site
    could certainly be one of the very best in its niche.
    Superb blog!

  11. Avatar

    Hello there I am so happy I found your site, I really found you
    by error, while I was browsing on Aol for something
    else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like
    to say many thanks for a fantastic post and a all round
    exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the
    minute but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the fantastic

  12. Avatar

    I am really impressed with your writing skills and also
    with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize
    it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it
    is rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays.

  13. Avatar

    I blog frequently and I really thank you for your content.
    Your article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to take a note of your blog and keep checking for new
    information about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  14. Avatar

    This is very fascinating, You’re a very skilled blogger.

    I’ve joined your feed and stay up for looking for extra of
    your excellent post. Additionally, I have shared
    your site in my social networks

  15. Avatar

    Thank you for a very informative website. Where else may I get that kind of info written in such an ideal method? I’ve a undertaking that I’m just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such info.

  16. Avatar

    I absolutely love your blog.. Great colors & theme.
    Did you develop this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m attempting
    to create my own website and want to find out where you got
    this from or just what the theme is named. Many thanks!

  17. Avatar

    wonderful points altogether, you simply gained a emblem new reader.
    What might you recommend in regards to your post that you made a few days ago?

    Any certain?

  18. Avatar

    I am really enjoying the theme/design of your website. Do you ever run into any
    web browser compatibility issues? A handful of my blog readers have complained about
    my website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome.
    Do you have any suggestions to help fix this issue?

  19. Avatar

    My spouse and I stumbled over here coming from a different website and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so i am just following you.
    Look forward to looking into your web page repeatedly.

  20. Avatar

    I am curious to find out what blog platform
    you have been working with? I’m having some small security issues with my
    latest blog and I’d like to find something more
    secure. Do you have any recommendations?

  21. Avatar

    Tire o tempo necessário para explorar suas opções, uma vez que você tenha conseguido o programa de afiliados certo para você e seu negócio. Você pode construir ótimas relações com os clientes e avançar para atrair mais tráfego para o seu website.