1. A Great Awakening
Tech solutions are now being developed that span the life cycle of real estate investment, and are not just focused on facilities or property management, according to Chris Zlocki, head of innovation at commercial real estate services firm Colliers International.
“Now the industry is targeting solutions in strategy and management of the real estate sector. We are in the discovery period of this. We are not in the heyday,” Zlocki says. Technology is changing every 12 to 18 months, and “along this reduced cycle, we will continue to see more and more value generated from solutions,” he notes.
Only a small percentage of industry insiders are focusing on the changing landscape five to 10 years down the line, notes Kurt Emshousen, chief administrative officer at real estate services firm Transwestern. About 80 percent are focused on doing what they do now in a more efficient way. “Bits and pieces of the commercial real estate industry are catching up, and in others they are not very far advanced, but overall we are making strides,” he says. On a scale of 0 to 100, (with 100 being most tech-savvy), Emshousen says the commercial real estate industry as a whole is probably at a 40.
“As it relates to where we are in the real estate technology cycle, there is not yet a secret sauce app for doing business—it’s still very early in the game. Brokerage firms are throwing things against the wall to see what sticks,” says Ben Shapiro, senior managing director at commercial real estate services firm Newmark Grubb Knight Frank.
“We are now seeing more opportunities for augmented reality apps. For instance, marketing centers set up by developers for their properties can now be completely digital. You can look at how many people fit into a space, and how the finishes look,” Shapiro says. Augmented reality tools can be especially useful for office brokers, he notes.