Despite the commercial real estate industry’s notorious reputation for being slow to adopt new technologies, cutting-edge tech innovations are currently reshaping the industry. From the ability to process and visualize huge amounts of data, to being able to access that information no matter where we are, advancements in CRE tech are guiding acquisitions and disposals, simplifying the buying and leasing process, and improving the effectiveness of property management.
But just acknowledging current trends isn’t enough. The industry is rapidly transforming, and staying on the cutting edge is essential to keep your properties competitive – especially with these five tech trends that are expected to become even more entwined with commercial real estate in the coming months and years:
Crowdfunding Platforms – The 2012 JOBS Act rewrote the rules for crowdfunding, making it much easier to raise capital directly. With the ability to source funding from numerous individual contributors, it’s no surprise that these platforms have become commonplace in the commercial real estate industry. Companies like Fundrise, CrowdStreet, and Patch of Land have already brought together hundreds of millions of dollars for developers and investors, and that number is likely to skyrocket over the next few years.
Data Analysis – We’re just beginning to see big data analysis utilized in the CRE industry, both from internal and external sources. Major companies like JLL are implementing public data platforms like their new Skyline platform, startups like Hightower are helping clients mine their leasing data, and municipalities across the country are standardizing building data and making it accessible to tech companies and app developers. We can expect a greater emphasis on data analysis in the near future, but it won’t be in the rows and columns of a spreadsheet: today’s tech firms are using data visualization to present information that’s both useful and easy to understand.
Mobile Accessibility – Having access to innovative new tools in the office is great, but successful real estate professionals spend a lot of their time out in the field. That’s why real estate tech is making a sharp turn towards mobile accessibility. Rather than localized servers, data is steadily being migrated to the cloud where high-end systems can process it so that brokers, property managers, and others involved in the real estate industry can access the results from their mobile phone or tablet no matter where they are.
3D Virtual Reality – Have you ever looked at pictures of a listing and wished they showed a different angle or a little more detail? Now, thanks to 3D technology, brokers and landlords can create comprehensive virtual reality tours of their available office spaces that far exceed the quality of any video walkthrough. In addition, these tools can also be used by professionals for tasks like visualizing building plans on an empty lot and monitoring building automation systems with optical notification overlays.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – Commonly known as drones, unmanned aerial vehicles are popping up everywhere from marketing to land selection. Looking for aerial images of your property? Drones are much more cost effective than hiring a private pilot and photographer. They’re also more dependable for comparing sites than Google Earth. Unmanned aerial vehicles can also be used for inspecting hard-to-access areas of building exteriors. The FAA is currently setting regulations for the commercial use of drone aircraft, so expect to see some rapid changes over the next year.
If the recent evolution of commercial real estate tech is any indication of what’s to come in the future, we’re likely to see the entire industry completely reshaped within the next decade. After all, very few real estate professionals were even using email a few years ago, and look how far we’ve come since then. To maintain a competitive advantage going forward, CRE working towards ditching the proverbial Rolodex and embracing the new technologies that are making the industry more transparent, accessible, and profitable.