This week, Zac Goodman spoke on a RICS Conference panel discussing prop-tech and the metaverse.
Joined by Freddie Pritchard-Smith, Co-Founder of prop-tech consultancy Trustek, and David Weir-McCall, Architecture Industry Manager at Epic Games, they probed the reality of bridging physical and virtual spaces.
Here are the key takeaways.
Are you seeing metaverse demand from people you work with?
ZG: We’re not seeing demand right now, but we are seeing curiosity. The term ‘metaverse’ is triggering – it causes conversation.
Before widespread adoption of any new technology, trust building has to come first: we’ve been through this before with e-commerce.
I remember reading a crazy statistic in the early 2000s. Less than 2% of people had transacted online, and of the remainder there was an incredibly small percentage who intended to transact online.
Within 20 years, it went from 2% to 98%.
We’re definitely still at the early stage of the hype cycle – building an expectation of what it can deliver.
This peak of expectation often crashes down when you see early technology iterations: they call it the “trough of disillusionment”. This is followed by a slow climb up the “slope of enlightenment” with stable ground and widespread use.
The short answer: we’re not seeing adopters, but we are seeing very curious minds.
What will trigger the adoption of this technology?
ZG: The danger with things like the metaverse and proptech is this silver bullet expectation we build that it’s going to fix everything.
When you have a nascent technology it’s very tech-led, and at first, probably less product-led – because people haven’t worked out what product to establish around it.
You need to start with a low-hanging fruit and offer something that solves an individual problem. It solves it elegantly – it just works – it’s a minimum viable product. Then you’ve eliminated scepticism and cynicism and people will be more willing to adopt.
I think the course of us adapting to this technology will be quick and it’ll be triggered by one or two excellent use cases, which are elegant and work really well.
People will then wonder what else it could be used for.
How do you envision the next generation of tech-enabled real estate?
ZG: I see the proliferation of content creators – in all industry sectors – significantly shaping real estate.
One of the most exciting challenges in workplace design will be accommodating the right type of technologies, spaces, and vibes for creating exceptional content. The metaverse could have a great part to play in this.
Real estate is one of the world’s oldest industries – with many protections, vested interests, and old school ways of operating – because of this, it’s also one of the most technologically backward industries.
For the next generation of real estate, we need more data scientists in the industry: converting the abundance of raw data into enabled, productive, more enjoyable spaces.
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