International Finance
Sector Insight Technology

Businesses and real estate starting to feel the impact of automation and AI

In a future with an increasingly mobile and flexible workforce, the way in which companies utilize their leased office space will change drastically

A recent JLL-sponsored survey of CEOs across the Asia Pacific region reveals that 52.7% CEOs are closely involved in making key strategic decisions about the future of work- particularly involving automation and artificial intelligence (AI). Given the potentially negative effects that automation and AI can bring to jobs, wages and people’s livelihoods in the future, CEOs need to push their organizations to create an environment that encourages workers to not only embrace disruption but also to create disruption.

Impact of Technology

The survey also shows that only a small number of CEOs (11.2%) think automation and AI will affect entire jobs, while 41.6% think only specific tasks within jobs will be affected. 47.2% expect automation and AI to affect certain jobs entirely and specific tasks within other jobs.

What this means is that business leaders understand that the impacts of automation and AI are complex; companies need to continuously train and retrain their employees, and business leaders play an important role in making sure that their companies provide the best environment for their employees in the face of disruption.

An overwhelming 81.1% of CEOs claim that they would lead by example and gladly automate parts of their job if AI was better at doing them than they are. To encourage their employees to embrace automation and AI as realities of tomorrow’s workplace, CEOs must equip themselves with up-to-date knowledge and skills that will enable them to work side-by-side with machines.

In the long term, to successfully leverage technology to transform the workplace, more CEOs will have to personally embrace the change that comes with technology. Instead of clinging to old behavioural patterns and be reactive, they must move beyond simply tackling and softening the impacts of technology to actually accelerating technology adoption so that they get to lead the transformation – if not broadly, at least in their companies.

Impact on real estate

 Technology has transformed many aspects of our lives – from how we communicate, to how we buy things and the way we work. It won’t be long before it transforms the real estate world. Data analytics, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, virtual reality, blockchain – all of these will have significant repercussions for how we invest in and occupy real estate.

 In a future, with an increasingly mobile and flexible workforce, the way in which companies utilize their leased office space will change drastically. With more and more processes being digitalized, it’s vital that real estate advisors, brokers, investors and start-ups recognize the changes and opportunities ahead.

 We are already seeing a range of business models disrupting the traditional real estate world, including the rapid adoption of co-working and ready to move in office spaces to support both entrepreneurs and corporations. Similarly, developers are beginning to offer amenities within their buildings to provide their tenants with greater flexibility of space options beyond traditional office spaces.

 Already at JLL, we’re integrating automation and AI into the services we provide to our clients. We are partnering with various investors to help them define these flexible spaces so that the buildings become more human-centric destinations rather than a just a fancy structure with no activation.

Ramesh Nair is CEO & Country Head at JLL India

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