What will 2020 have in store?

With inflation at the lowest it has been for three years and some negative vibes for the year ahead, we felt it was time to look at what we think 2020 will have in store.

Technology

Vantage started to talk about the use of drones five years ago with potential cost-savings benefits to our clients. We were one of the first independent building surveyoring practices to complete Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) training for commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

However, even though they offer an alternative to the more traditional ways of accessing a property like a cherry picker, we found they do have limitations. In one case we worked on representing a tenant, three defects were missed on a 35,000 ft cut edge corrosion case by the landlord’s surveyor using a drone. The landlord was unable to reclaim the costs and left having to pay them himself.

Another major limitation with the use of drones is where they can be used, with the risk to planes, roads, trespass and entry into no fly zones (NFZ). This will have to be overcome if we are to see drones as a common sight.

What other technology will start to be rolled out in 2020?

Sharing of documents and data will become an increasing important issue. The use of cloud based software to do so will become increasingly common place.

Our Founder and Senior Director, Paul Wood said “I think you’ll see more companies adopting a shift to the cloud with security and cost savings. With the need to access files on the go and between people, it’s something we’ve been working on last year to enhance our service. Being able to access important files, securely, remotely and in one place saves everyone time.”

Augmented reality (AR) will also start to appear more with virtual tours available to prospective investors and tenants. Again driving efficiencies with access available 24/7 across the world, however we would always recommend you visit in person before you make the final purchase (or at least send your friendly building surveyor to take a look!).

Building owners will also use the AR technology to showcase unfinished spaces to buyers through the immersive technology, even personalising with the prospective tenants branding and content.

More recently Vantage, has started using 360 degree photos to allow our clients have a complete immersive view of their properties without having to be there. Take a look at one of our recent examples here.

Daniel Mole, Director at Vantage said “The team are really excited to be using this technology and talking to clients about the experience. We’ve had some really positive feedback from it and the quality of imagery it produces. “

Data

We’ve all heard of big data and seen the impact it can have on decision making. However, the real estate industry can still be very secretive and a lack of collaboration between the big players. This is something we’re trying to change, here at Vantage, and open up conversations with others by looking at the bigger picture of helping each other.

We might also start to see the development of models to predict tenants intent and behaviour, based on trends, patterns and past behaviour. This could be where dilapidations evolve with both landlords and tenants benefiting from a more informed process.

We also will probably hear more about how this can aid recruitment and retention of staff. A very interesting subject overlaid with data protection makes it a conversation we should all be having.

Buzzwords

Sustainability – there we’ve gone all Greta Thunburg, but in all seriousness we all know how important it is and the need to protect our planet for future generations.

Again we’ll see the adoption of best practices in 2020 with legalisation driving change as well as those that advocate the subject in the industry. However, it’s everyone’s responsibility and we should be driving it from the inside out.

It’s gone beyond the traditional approach of energy-water-waste and in a rapidly urbanising world, it should cover biodiversity, health and wellbeing, community engagement and behaviour change.

To take the subject to the forefront of people’s minds, occupiers should be aided and encouraged to adopt a sustainable mindset in their organisation. The challenge for the industry is still the profit-driven pressures and listed buildings are a challenge in themselves.

We need to push the boundaries, change mindsets and challenge ourselves to go beyond the norm, even if it’s small steps. At Vantage, we’re working on a new idea for dilapidations and recycling rather than just ‘stripping’ out, which impacts the environment with the amount of waste produced.

Culture

Will 2020 be the year, the real estate industry will take a hard look at itself?

Last year, the topic of mental health was being discussed more, with a positive impact on awareness. However rightly or wrongly, some of the articles written felt more like they were from people saying the things they felt they should.

The proof this year will be whether we see a change in culture. We all know this isn’t going to change overnight. We can all take small steps to create a positive environment where everyone treats each other with respect and employees don’t burn out from an ‘always on’ attitude that ingrains our industry. Here at Vantage, we’re investing in our team and promoting an agile working environment with regular team days out.

Samantha McClary, of Estates Gazette wrote about her thoughts for the year in the first Editors Comment of the year with the idea to prove to the outside world that the industry is not the villain as so many perceive it to be. From creating jobs in happy workplaces, to boosting the economy as well as giving back to the planet. She acknowledges herself it’s a big idea, but a worthy one which we can all play our part.

What would you like to see happen in 2020? Tell us on our LinkedIn page.

We’ve also pulled together some key dates for your diaries in 2020 here.