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Real estate in the digital age

Real estate in the digital age

With emerging technologies set to redefine the way people use buildings, our thought leaders set out a vision for real estate’s future. The answer, as always, lies in keeping the customer satisfied.

Andy Pyle

Partner and Head of Real Estate

KPMG in the UK


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Technology is right at the heart of the future of real estate. In the next two decades, we’ll see the rise of the Internet of Things-equipped office space(which embeds internet capabilities into office equipment); stores that print personalised products on site; as well as fully automated warehouses and vehicles.

Behind these new technologies are three fundamental drivers:

  • Value for money 
  • Convenience; and 
  • Importance of the customer experience. 

As real estate faces enormous upheaval, we look at what lies ahead and where the opportunities lie in four key sectors: retail, office, logistics and alternatives.

Retail: state of flux

With the rise of ecommerce in the UK, the physical retail sector has seen almost £133 billion wiped off its ledger. Information sharing online has also forced retailers to meet heightened expectations on the cost of goods and fulfilment.

Office space: the future is flexible

The dawn of digital labour is set to transform the workplace – automation of white collar jobs will change the work employees do, and as such, the real estate that businesses will need.

With such a rapidly changing environment, how do real estate developers and investors ensure their buildings of today are still relevant tomorrow? And how do landlords satisfy occupier demand for flexible spaces and contracts, both from high-growth firms and corporates?

Logistics: in short supply

Whether it’s autonomous delivery vehicles, a drone flying a package into your garden or 3D printing in the home, there is a technological shift on the horizon set to redefine what is needed from logistics real estate.

What do developers and investors need to do to ensure their buildings remain relevant as occupier demand changes and how do they understand where future opportunities might lie?

Alternative real estate: understanding the customer journey

Leading the charge when it comes to providing customer-centric real estate is the so-called alternatives sector— everything from student accommodation to retirement homes. The secret to success: responsive real estate, communal spaces and amenities, as well as services that enhance lifestyle.

How can adequate protection be developed against cyber-attacks, to ensure customer data is protected and firms are compliant with regulation?In what ways can physical spaces be used to build communities and data to improve customer experience?

To find out more about the future of real estate, including KPMG’s top ten factors for future decision-making, please download the Real Estate in the digital age report.

© 2021 KPMG LLP a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organisation of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

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