August Issue: Top Tech Trends for 2015

In today’s fast-changing business climate, no task is more important than anticipating and understanding the impact of developing trends.
Howard Berger

Howard Berger

In today’s fast-changing business climate, no task is more important than anticipating and understanding the impact of developing trends. As we considered the theme of the 17th annual Realcomm | IBcon conference, we knew it had to reflect the atmosphere, mood and direction of the commercial real estate industry as it relates to technology, automation and innovation.

The variable global economy means that there will be years when the markets focus on reducing costs; other years marked by more willingness to accept risk; still others dominated by recovery from financial setbacks. This raises perennial questions: Are we in an economic slowdown or moving faster? Is the trend to embrace innovation quickly, or to take stock of progress made to date?

These issues affect where the industry is headed, and how real estate information management solutions, smart buildings and technology will shape the way space is used.
With this in mind, we chose “REal Change. Right Now—Welcome to the FutuRE!” as the theme of this year’s Realcomm | IBcon. The theme reflects the reality that every real estate process is being re-engineered and automated. In this climate, the most important decision for a firm that is still merely considering major change is to move forward aggressively.

What people refer to as “the future” has arrived. The list of examples is long, diverse and constantly expanding: Real-time information management, automated leasing, outsourced email, electronic payment, totally smart buildings, connected meters, zero-energy projects, next-generation office space, integrated digital signage, Uber for leased space, roof-inspecting drones, robots that measure space and 3D printing for spare parts, to name just a few.

Macro Issues
■ Technology and innovation are not slowing down
■ Consumer technology drives the pace
of change
■ Almost every real estate process has been hyper-automated
■ Early-adopter case studies have realized their objectives
■ Technology is not the inhibitor, but rather a firm’s inability to adopt it
■ The gap between fast-moving and slow-moving firms is growing
Top Tech Trends
■ Cybersecurity tops everyone’s list, all the way to the boardroom
■ Cloud strategies have matured and the business cases for it are better defined
■ A mobile strategy is a “must-do”
■ Data science is making its way into commercial real estate
■ Traditional organizations are exploring ways to be more digital
■ We’re still learning how to fully exploit social media and social engineering

At this year’s Realcomm | IBcon, we were struck by the sheer variety of the new solutions that were showcased. A small sampling speaks for itself:
■ Yardi’s Voyager 7S—fully mobile platform for property management and accounting
■ VTS, Hightower, LeasePipeline and RealMassive—four companies offering the next generation of lease management platforms
■ AMP, Workspace CC and Maisonette—three from the new breed of integrated asset and operational management
■ Patrocinium ArcAngel—intelligent incident awareness and communication
■ FST Biometrics—in-motion facial and gait recognition for physical security
■ Tridium Niagara 4, KMC Commander and J2 Innovations FIN 3.0—innovative BMS solutions ready to exploit the Internet of Things
■ VersaPay—electronic tenant payments
■ Building Robotics—social engineering for comfort and energy efficiency in smart buildings
■ CREATE, City Zenith—new platforms for integrating, analyzing and visualizing city/municipal data
■ Trimble Microsoft HOLOLENS—dramatic 3D holographic visualization and management of BIM data
■ LumenCache, Cisco—next-generation DC lighting
■ Soteria—SaaS cloud platform to assess facility cybersecurity risks at scale
■ Xchanging—robotic process automation
■ Terasaur—drones for commercial real estate applications
If further proof is needed, these examples display the amazing ingenuity flowing into real estate technology. These tools are real, they are here now, and they are the future.

—Howard Berger is managing partner & program director of Realcomm.