BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Our society is a complex structure of people and institution that interact in a multitude of ways. The social and technological revolutions that alter this structure are no less complex. Long ago, we had the Ice Age, and Neolithic time or period. We later move into the Agriculture age and the Renaissance period. In the recent time, the society has moved into yet another age that has brought a far reaching change in human history. It is called Information and Communication Technology age.
The simple truth today, is that no profession can effectively succeed in solving her 21st century development challenges, unless the professional visions, aspiration, mission and strategies are fundamentally anchored in the realm of knowledge creation, and strategically driven by information and communication technology (ICT).
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has enhanced real estate practice in Nigeria. A simple example is the use of mobile phones for communication via text messages which has helped to improve communication in the course of everyday assignments. Field staff can make immediate contact with their office of the principal partner when issues arise
while out in the field in the past, such staff would have had to return to base to deal with such issues. The use of computers and the internet has also made it possible for firms to operate several branches apart from their Head offices with more ease than previously was the case. Professional reports may be vetted online and the exchange of documented information has been greatly enhanced. ICT are perfect tools for working with information and can handle and process large amounts of information for various purposes which would otherwise be difficult to manage manually. It can organise information very efficiently with all content properly identified and indexed making it possible to find whatever is required easily. In terms of speed, computers can perform in minutes, tasks that would take the average human being years to complete. Computers are quite accurate because they are designed to receive information and process such information using a pre- determined sequence stored in a programme thus maintaining a high level of accuracy using the' same data repeatedly. Land Information System (LIS) is a tool for legal, administrative and economic decision making. It is designed specifically to create, visualize, analyse report and publish land-based data such as parcel information, zoning, land use, ownership and general property Information. LIS, on the other hand, may contain additional and useful information. The input of physical information such as soils, hydrogeology
and rainfall and human or socio-economic information such as rateable value, communications and utilities results in a system that offers surveyors and decision makers the ability to inventory, monitor and plan more efficiently and cost-effectively. Such an holistic approach supports the management of both human and physical resources at all real estate levels.
The realization of this ICT innovation would offer a wide range of functionality from simple map production and information retrieval, such as terrier data to spatial analysis like site finding, valuation etc.
However, it is observed that some real estate practitioners or firms in Nigeria is still in the dark as to the contemporary 'innovations and relevance of Information and Communication Technology (lCT) in global property market scheme, conflict of professional interests is an evidence of lack of strategic vision within the real estate sector. Parallel lack of emphasis on training and education to meet the demands of this new commercial environment is prevalent. There is a negligent attendance to the benefit of the function of Information and Communication Technology (lCT) through the emergence of cyberspace.
The level of information and communication technology (lCT) awareness amongst real estate professionals in Nigeria is quite low (Kakulu, 2003) and a recent review of teaching curriculum amongst higher
institutions offering estate management in Nigeria including Universities Commission (NUC) minimum standards for environmental sciences, reveals that although ICT course are provided for, it is in the form of general introduction on an awareness level.
With the wide spread use and dependence on ICT globally, mere knowledge on an awareness level only is not sustainable as professionals are unable to apply the skill in practice in a meaningful way. Awareness level training in form of courses offered by service departments is not able to fully address the specific needs of real estate professionals in a meaningful way.
In Nigeria today, we are all witnesses to the on-going ICT revolution in the Nigerian banking industry and the change from the use of manual filling and record keeping methods less than a decade ago to automated practice methods. Recently, A TM machines have been introduced into the Nigerian banking industry as well. The question to ask regarding real estate profession in Nigeria is how we have fared, and what our current ICT literacy level and utilisation as a profession is? Are we taking the lead in the construction industry or are we lagging behind in technology?
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The principle of globalization and the emergence of new technologies have created new challenges. These challenges have permeated all aspect of
living; real estate practice is not left out. Real estate practitioners are today faced with the challenges of new techniques and more efficient means of managing and storing information for quicker and more effective management decision, this makes the use of information and communication technology e.g. computer and computer network imperative in real estate practice.
However, evidence has shown that several sectors in the corporate world depend heavily on information and communication technology in their daily operations, real estate practitioners in Nigeria do not seem to be operating at par with their professional counterparts in the industry. Some practitioners have traditionally lagged behind others, when it comes to applying the latest ICT application in real estate practice.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The aim of the study is to examine critical Issues and trends in information and communication technology, which impact profoundly on real estate practice, so that an objective assessment can be drawn on how the practice has fared, and how the resources of information and communication technology can be effectively harnessed to improve real estate practice in Nigeria.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are as follows:
1) To examine the impact of information and communication technology application in the contemporary practice of real estate, in the study area.
2) To investigate critical issues and trends in information and communication technology which impacts in c.