Transforming RICS for the digital age

Dan Hughes

Director, Data and Information Product Management (RICS)

According to a recent McKinsey report, 44% of real estate roles could be automated in the future. This will have a profound impact upon the built environment as technology becomes an increasingly essential and challenging part of a professionals work flow.


Technology is not a new thing and RICS has had activity in this area for many years, for example our activity with BIM to professionals in Geomatics. However, what is changing is the speed that technology is moving and in response to this, we are working on a number of initiatives. Some examples can be found below: 

1. Ensuring our offering is in line with technology trends

We are making sure that all that we do is in line with technology trends, whether introducing a technology theme into conferences, journals or anything else we do, all the way through to our competencies for those undertaking their APC where a recent consultation sought feedback on a number of new data and technology based competencies. Watch this space for a second stage consultation that will be available in May 2017.

Some examples of this include our Strategic FM conference and the recent edition of Modus dedicated to examining the impact of digital technology on the profession.

2. Facilitating thought leadership in the market

We are working hard to facilitate leading thinking from across the build environment and technology sectors and crucially, bringing these together. This is in a wide range of formats, whether round table discussions, guidance notes or market surveys and of course making sure that this thinking is fed back into industry groups or policy.

We were recently delighted to be announced as the most influential global online brand in property technology.

3. Building engagement within the technology sector

A critical audience for the future of the built environment is the data and technology companies themselves, not only how they are influencing change in the market, but also how they help build the profession and adoption of industry standards.

To start building this community, committed to the adoption of standards and to facilitate the conversation with the more traditional parts of the sector, we have recently launched the Technology Affiliate Program. A formal launch of the program is planned for April - watch this space for more details.

We are also working with a number of technology industry bodies and associations around the world, for example we have partnered with MetaProp NYC.

We have made a lot of progress in this area, but there is a lot still to be done on this journey and we have lots of things planned in the coming weeks, months and years. A few examples of this:

1. RICS Director of Data Standards

In the Spring, we will be joined by a Director of Data Standards, which will be a significant step forward for us and the profession in helping to adopt and benefit from global standards. We have been involved with data standard setting organisations for the build environment for many years and this new role will help us to bolster this crucial activity.

2. Membership

Along with our new technology-based competencies, we have also been reviewing the value that membership could have for data and technology companies working in the built environment, for example one option that is being investigated is the recently announced Real Estate Lifecycle Accreditation. This could benefit the profession by ensuring that there was a full understanding of the processes, roles and standards that make up the built environment, this in turn would help the technology solutions best meet market needs. If you have any views you'd like to share please let us know.

3. Events

Hopefully you have noticed an increased technology theme in all of our events where it is relevant, but it is worth highlighting two upcoming ones specifically. Firstly, in line with the wider MIPIM focus on technology we were heavily involved with a lot of the technology activity at this year's MIPIM. Indeed, the RICS focus on Thursday 16 March was specifically on how technology is impacting occupiers and investors.

The next World Built Environment Forum event taking place in Shanghai later in March, bringing together a global network of professionals who create and manage the worlds built environment needs, will again feature a number of technology speakers and themes.

We have lots of other activity planned over the coming weeks and months which we will be announcing as appropriate, but we would love to hear what you think about what we are doing or what you would like to see us do to help the profession address the risks and opportunities that technology presents.

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