The world of real estate is on a journey to a digital future and the need for trusted data is becoming increasingly vital to enable firms in the built and natural environment sector keep-up with advancements in the market, changing customer needs, and the latest investment and sustainability trends.
However, while there are many organisations using technology to allow built and natural environment data to be held in a structured form, there remains a significant issue around the lack of a common data standard to provide a common environment to facilitate the sharing of trusted data.
Data is the new oil
The real estate industry is changing every day, and with continued advancements in technology, decisions around everything from how we build the best affordable eco-homes to the smartest transport systems, are heavily influenced by data collection.
Therefore, it’s safe to say that data is at the heart of the PropTech revolution and it’s worth reflecting on the widely stated phrase that ‘data is the new oil.’ However, oil in its various forms flows relatively smoothely around the world, while valuable data, and particularly real estate data is often not stored in a form that can be shared easily. In many cases, there are market drivers and behaviours that act as a strong disincentive to sharing.
Lack of data standards & data models
As well as potential disincentives, there are practical issues to sharing real estate data. Much of the existing data on real estate from land, which includes planning, construction, sales, leasing, letting, occupation, maintenance, and end of life, is still held in paper form albeit available in pdf format or as scans of original documents.
This data is held in more formal, structured databases or as Excel spreadsheets, as the lack of common data standards and data models makes sharing data within organisations and across the broader marketplace problematic.
New RICS Data Standards
As a global professional standards body, RICS has recognised that this issue remains a significant barrier for the sector and has developed open data models that complement its existing suite of professional standards for the real estate sector.