19 May 2021

As we move into an ever more data driven world, there is little doubt that investment management will need to evolve to realise the enormous benefits that this offers us. Whether this is to understand a building's performance, understand a property's value or determine portfolio wide strategy, data will be at the heart of the future sector. 

It is often said that real estate is behind the curve when it comes to the use of data and technology. Perhaps true, but also perhaps understandable given the size and complexity of the market, the slow pace of transactions and the fragmentation of its participants. However, these very characteristics create barriers and challenges for us to move forward with data, all at a time when occupiers decisions are increasingly based on new factors, for example well being, sustainability or productivity. 

The built environment tends to be structured around job disciplines or stages or the lifecycle - vertical silos - but data needs to flow across the whole lifecycle - it is horizontal. Whether understanding the value of data, understanding whether it can be trusted or the practicality of getting access to it, there are many challenges that investment management will need to get to grips with.

Charles Kerrigan, Partner at CMS UK and Chair of the AREF Technology Working Group says, "This is an area that the AREF Technology Working Group have been focusing on, but we also need to collaborate with and influence other parts of the property lifecycle around the topic of data. That is why we are delighted to support the Real Estate Data Foundation (RED Foundation) - a not for profit initiative set up with two clear aims, firstly connecting the people, conversations and initiatives across the whole sector and secondly to make sure that data ethics is firmly on the agenda."

Dan Hughes, Founder of the RED Foundation says, "Data ethics is an area that is rarely on the agenda today, but how we use data, whether we can trust it and how we communicate it to people will be a key factor in the performance of the overall asset class, individual buildings and investment managers in the future. Data Ethics is a complex topic, but one that is only going to get more complex as the volume and variety of data grows, so I would encourage everyone to start considering this. The RED Foundation has 6 data ethical principles to guide your thinking which is a good place to start. We are delighted to be leading the sector with this important topic."