New findings from Osborne Clarke highlight the need for greater government collaboration with start-ups and universities to drive smart cities forward
- Technology experts believe occupiers (37%), governments (33%) and property developers (33%) are holding back the development of smart cities
- Tech giants, tech start-ups, and universities are identified as the groups who have the know-how to support smart city development (54%, 54% and 40% respectively)
- 81% of technology experts believe the property industry focuses too hard on the cost of technology and not enough on the benefits
Over a third of technology experts believe occupiers (37%), governments (33%) and property developers (33%) are the groups most likely to hold back the development of smart cities, according to research from international legal practice, Osborne Clarke. The report, Future Proof Real Estate, builds a picture of how the technology sector thinks innovation will change the face of the built environment in Europe over the next three to five years.
Technology giants (54%) and technology start-ups (54%) are, however, seen as the main groups with the know-how to support the creation of smart cities. Respondents believe these groups will play a role in the development of smart built environments (48%, 52% and 42% respectively).
Universities, too, are regarded as important groups in the development of smart built environments with 40% of respondents saying they see universities as extremely knowledgeable in the creation of smart cities. This can be demonstrated in the example of Bristol, which recently won the GSMA’s Smart City Award and has been named the UK’s smartest city. These awards were the result of innovative, collaborative programmes such as ‘Bristol is Open’ – a joint venture between the University of Bristol and Bristol City Council – which provides a large scale connectivity testbed to ensure services are effectively implemented.
Commenting on the findings, Conrad Davies, Head of Real Estate and Infrastructure at Osborne Clarke said, “Bristol is a prime example of how the public sector can work alongside tech start-ups and universities to create smart cities that are going to make real impact in the future. The city is truly leading in the way in it uses technology to transform the way we live, work and study in cities.
“The property sector needs to have more open and collaborative discussions; only once all these parties are aligned and working towards the same goal, will smart cities become widespread. Take government for example; when a local authority or government agency is awarding contracts for development projects, it will score tenders against pre-decided evaluation criteria. What if, instead, they engaged with property developers, builders, investors, technology companies and universities earlier in the process to discuss new innovative solutions to their brief?”
Tech experts leading the way
The majority of respondents (83%) think that tech experts should play a key role in how the built environment operates, and 79% believe they are already showing the property industry how to integrate technology into the built environment. A majority of technology experts (76%) also believe that tech giants are likely to become significant landlords in the future.
Despite this, there are barriers to tech experts advising decision makers in the property sector, as a majority think that they are struggling to communicate to investors the costs and benefits of tech in the built environment (78%).
Furthermore, 81% of respondents believe technology adoption is being prevented due to the property industry being too focused on costs over benefits (81% agree), not being included in infrastructure planning (81% agree) and due to a belief that construction costs are more important than the long-term benefits of technology (79%).
Full details at Osborne Clarke