Louisa Barker
Louisa Barker (Research Manager, IDC Government Insights)
Joe Dignan
Joe Dignan (European Head, IDC Government Insights)

Strong Headwinds Disrupting the Built Environment Industries

The built environment sector is often seen as a laggard in productivity and technology adoption. However, this is changing: the strong headwinds of the last few years have forced companies to evolve and innovate.

The pandemic led to widespread supply chain shocks felt acutely by the construction sector and with geopolitical tensions increasing, including in the Red Sea, this issue is here to stay. Covid-19 also led to one of the largest shake ups in the real estate industry with significant drops in office occupancy rates in the move back to hybrid work.

While occupancy rates are recovering, they are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels. Add to this potent mix, the energy crisis and increasing ESG targets and regulatory requirements.

PropTech Companies Are Injecting Innovation

Property technology (PropTech) companies are injecting much-needed innovation into the industry and driving significant changes across building life cycles from design to construction, operation, maintenance, and demolition. We have published a PropTech Innovator Report highlighting 3 Innovate companies that are providing transformative solutions across the built environment sector.

In line with the AI era,  which IDC refers to as to as AI Everywhere, each Innovator highlighted in the report is leveraging AI in their solutions.

Our research highlights that the top priorities for built environment executives are improving operational efficiency and cost reduction, enhancing environmental sustainability and improving resilience to climatic hazards. Organizations are increasingly applying technology to help support these business objectives.

For example, to meet their sustainability goals, 66% of real estate companies are investing in data and analytics including AI, and 61% are investing in space and workplace technology (IDC’s Sustainable Buildings, Homes, and Districts Survey, 2023, n = 654).

Announcing IDC’s “Worldwide PropTech Innovators, 2023”

The PropTech companies highlighted in the Innovator span the building lifecycle and reflect the diverse range of companies encapsulated in this market. The first innovator — nPlan — is changing the way in which major projects can be planned, designed, and monitored through an AI-enabled software solution drawing on over 750,000 project schedules. The second — Skandal — is providing IoT driven lighting displays that respond to building inhabitants to improve occupant experience and promote behavioral change. Finally, Xandar Kardian’s solution monitors occupant motion through the innovative use of radar technology and can also monitor resting heart rate and respiratory rate for applications in health and social care facilities.

Source: IDC, 2024
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