5 Ways Technology is Overhauling Commercial Real Estate

2nd January 2015

By: Alex Kopicki

In the commercial real estate industry, it’s easy to get tunnel vision when racing from one deal to the next. Right now there is a major intersection between traditional commercial real estate and the fluid technology industry that will affect the way brokers and clients do business. Here are five things every commercial real estate professional should know about the shifting landscape.

  1. Mobile takeover: You know the importance of smartphones because, if you’re like me, you’re constantly on yours. There were 1.75 billion smartphone users in 2014, according to market research firm eMarketer. Not only is that a lot of devices and users, but that’s also a lot of time spent on these devices. So what does this mean for commercial real estate professionals? Quite simply, if your company doesn’t have a mobile strategy, you better get one — quick. With a mobile strategy you can work from anywhere, resulting in less time in the office and further space consolidation for businesses.

  2. A new way to work: Co-working continues to grow and is here to stay. The number of co-working facilities across the globe has nearly doubled every year for the past five years. Small Business Labs projects that more than 12,000 global co-working spaces will exist by 2018 with over 1 million members. The convenience of short-term rentals, the attraction to community, the hip-to-be-small attitude and new business formation are all positive trends that will lead to the continued growth of co-working facilities.

  3. Big data: This enables powerful decision-making. While data can’t predict the future just yet, big data can tell us the probability of future decisions, which can lead to actionable decision-making. If you are a commercial leasing agent, a landlord or a service provider, what touch points are you recording about your clients? And what can they tell you about your effectiveness?

  4. Crowdfunding: It’s everywhere and it’s all about allowing investors access — mostly to opportunities previously reserved for a privileged few. Today accredited and non-accredited investors, through a multitude of platforms, have the ability to invest in early-stage companies. What this means for commercial real estate is that everyone’s customer base broadens as fractional “ownership” increases. It also results in more capital outlets and providers for a more competitive landscape. Let the games begin.

  5. The Internet of Things: This is a simple concept; it’s all about connecting everyday devices such as your home thermostat to the Internet. Why would you do this? The better question is: Why would you not do this? More connectivity leads to more control and customization, leading to more convenience. For example, if I’m a leasing agent who can unlock a space for a showing with my phone, I’m going to be able to access spaces for customers after hours or even show spaces on a whim— no keys required. The Internet of Things is digitizing more data and connecting environments in commercial real estate that were previously fragmented.

The next time you find yourself racing from deal to deal, take a moment to embrace technology as a new way to work; your clients and your business will benefit.