Data quality is vital if this model is to work, yet the discussion concerning this raised more questions than answers. While the group agreed that everything is based on good-quality data, which is ultimately reliant on the source, they asked:
• Should there be a vetting process for data? Should this process lie with the company or the body that analyses it?
• If data forms part of a report, who owns the data and who owns the report?
• Who owns the data if you've hired a professional to gather it?
• What comprises good data?
• How does the data help other organisations that combine business sets improve ina business sense, while remaining ethical?
• What risks arise when relying on others to provide you with data?
• What happens if you use the data for something other than its original purpose? Is it ethical to re-use or repackage data?
• Can data be split into categories – for example, 'core' data, such as raw business metrics like house sale prices that are available to everyone, and 'outer core' data, such as the business advantage data?
• How do you define your data standards as a business? How do these align with other organisations to allow for data sharing?
• Is there a place for a central data hub?
While the RICS data standards will seek to provide answers to many of these questions, ultimately much still depends on how data is governed by law.
In a series of moving parts, where technology continues to develop, the legal system is struggling to keep up. One attendee commented that while we are in the digital property age, the legal principles are pulling us back to the old ways of tracking and measuring.
In cases where laws have come into force, such as General Data Protection Regulation, the industry is still learning how to adapt. The road to legal clarification seems long, matched in length by the route to compliance.
The industry is undergoing a complex change, but it is not even using half the capacity of technology. For example, it is not as advanced as it could be in large commercial spaces – humans are still needed to check things on top of technology. Plugging these scenarios into a legal framework of compliance makes things even more frightening.