Jun 01, 2015

Technology and Commercial Real Estate

By Don Catalano



As in many other industries, commercial real estate is rapidly becoming more about bits than buildings. At every level of the industry, technological innovation is driving changes in the ways tenants occupy buildings, managers run them and owners track them. Here is a sampling of the commercial real estate tasks that are being revolutionized by cutting edge technology.


Spaces and buildings were traditionally brokered by local brokers who maintained a limited database -- sometimes on four-by-six cards -- of owners and landlords and buyers and tenants. Today, those databases have been replaced by cloud connected CRM systems. Brokers are able to do business globally thanks to cell phones, email and web-based marketplaces.

The market is more efficient than ever before. Local government jurisdictions make tax roll data available for all to see, while third parties deliver even more detailed information. While data on on-the-market properties is now easy to come by -- if you know where to look and who to trust -- information on leases that have already been signed is also getting posted. Market data like demographics and psychographics can be downloaded, analyzed and overlaid on satellite, aerial or traditional map images.

Marketing works differently than in the commercial real estate world of the past. Today's books and flyers are digital. They include more information than even before, thanks to the near-zero cost of digital publishing. Videos are common and drone photography and videography offers a new bird's eye vision of properties and their surrounding areas.


Once your company becomes a tenant in a piece of commercial real estate, technology continues impacting the way that you occupy space. Smaller devices reduce the size of individual workstations, letting you be more efficient. Communications technology allows your workers to be remote more often, giving you the opportunity to build fewer work spaces. On the other hand, their mobility also means that they can work from amenity spaces in your office, necessitating a more creative design.

Technology also changes the way you interact with the space you lease. While wireless devices can increase the need for wiring, sensor technology and the Internet of Things let you create spaces that are more responsive. Sensors allow lights and HVAC systems to turn on and off depending on whether or not they are needed. Connecting those sensor-controlled systems to your company's scheduling and HR systems allows spaces to preconfigure themselves for when they need to be used, as well.


The Internet of Things also impacts commercial real estate management. Buildings are creating data now, giving the teams running them greater insight as to how to use and operating them more efficiently. This data flows into advanced workplace management systems and other software applications that can integrate directly into your company's overall ERP and business intelligence systems.

Stepping further back, commercial real estate technology also simplifies the process of managing an entire portfolio. Market data and site selection information can flow to smartphones and tablets, allowing you to run your company's buildings wherever you are.

Having an understanding of how technology impacts your company's real estate portfolio allows you to better control costs. It also enables you to better create productive workplaces that are accretive to revenues, as well.

Other great Commercial Real Estate Technology articles:

Technology and the Future of Office Space

Technology Trends Shaping Commercial Real Estate

Importance of Technology in Commercial Real Estate


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Topics: commercial real estate

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Don Catalano

Don Catalano