by Tom Bremner, Graduate Surveyor, Global Occupier Services
FinTech was all the rage since it started gaining traction and recognition in early 2016. With all the hype surrounding it this past year – there’s been talk that a “FinTech bubble” has been created. Is that the case? If so, is it about to burst?
Unlike the ups and downs of FinTech and the financial markets, EdTech – the use of technology in the form of products, apps and tools to enhance learning – remains constant.
The education field is large, yet EdTech has been completely overshadowed …
until now. EdTech, “the use of technology in the form of products, apps, and tools to enhance learning” encapsulates a wide spectrum of technologies that can be utilised in the process of education and training – from the simple use of desktop computers to the more cutting-edge use of virtual reality, artificial intelligence automation, and gamification.
The rise of this new-age education and learning world has begun receiving investments and is predicted to reach $252 billion globally by 2020. The tangible benefits associated with the utilisation of these cutting-edge technologies in the education process are causing the EdTech industry to boom, and the large investments are proof.
The million-dollar question for real estate professionals: How will the boom of EdTech impact the corporate real estate industry? Although many of the technologies are still in their infancy, a number of predictions can still be made.
How Will The Growth of EdTech Impact the Corporate Real Estate Industry?
Space Design Is Likely to Change
Since the turn of the millennium there has been an increase in both the number and type of mobile devices used by office workers within the workplace (laptops, phones, tablets,
etc.). As the EdTech sector becomes more refined, workplace training is increasingly being undertaken on all of these devices, whether the employee in question is in or out of the office. This rise in asynchronous learning is likely to impact the design of the workspace, with a ‘decentralised’ coworking style of office layout likely to be preferred by corporate occupiers and their employees.
Corporate Real Estate Occupiers Will Experience Cost Efficiencies
As virtual ‘e-learning’ methods (MOOCs, gamification, A.I., Virtual Reality etc.) are increasingly being adopted for workplace training, as well as being utilised on multiple
mobile devices, there is no longer a requirement for bricks and mortar training rooms and in-house ‘training staff.’ This is likely to provide substantial cost saving opportunities for corporate occupiers in regards to both their real estate and human resource management.
Employees Will Experience Increased Autonomy Over Job-Related Training
EdTech provides employees the opportunity to personalise their workplace training. Learning/training in the workplace can now be tailored to an employee’s preferred learning style in addition to their job position and rank. For example, if the employee is an interactive learner they can choose to ‘gamify’ their training, whilst they also have the option to choose the pace of their learning. However, most importantly the technology available to
corporate firms allow their employees to choose the nature of their training in terms of content/topic, and with this power to effectively ‘guide’ their own training employees themselves have greater control over the future direction of their careers. The increased autonomy over workplace training will be a key factor in increasing employee satisfaction.
Increased Investment Into EdTech Business Start-Ups
EdTech start-up firms are proving to be a safe investment due to the fact that the education market, unlike the financial markets, are sheltered from many of the pressures associated with the broader economic/political landscape. As a result, we are likely to see a mirroring of the FinTech start-up phenomenon, with plenty of EdTech firms securing investment and seeking to acquire office space in the ‘tech districts’ of major global cities.
Tom Bremner is a Graduate Surveyor for Cusman & Wakefield, working in the Global Occupier Services group.