In recent years, we’ve seen a boom in tech innovation specifically in the CRE market. The pace of new tools and applications that are being developed by companies continues to accelerate dramatically. Many of these CRE tech trends are immediately relevant and incredibly useful for brokers, investors, property managers, and developers –everyone with a stake in CRE.
Technology holds great promise for increasing productivity in the industry. The best tools are those that help CRE professionals to provide better information and services to their clients. Here are some areas that will likely continue to lead in innovation in the CRE space in 2017.
The use of data that are aggregated and drawn from a wide variety of channels will continue to be a major trend for CRE. Quality CRMs allow brokers to integrate relevant data into all aspects of the job with easy-to-create reports & dashboards that provide new insights and help to uncover new opportunities.
3D Imaging & Virtual Reality
With this technology, prospective investors can get an accurate picture of the property without physically visiting the location. This has huge implications for international investment, which has been on the rise in the last few years.
Virtual Reality (VR) is being used in some markets as a tool for showing properties to remote clients. It allows a customer to “walk through” while using a hand controller for navigation.
VR technology is a little pricy for all but high-end listings, with the cost for scanning a residential property currently $300-$700. Its use will likely become more common as costs decrease.
With smart technology and sensors, property managers automatically track conditions and changes in real time. They can remotely stay on top of building systems, usage, and traffic on the property and have access to on-demand reports.
Traffic sensors are tremendously useful for retailers, and can be a strong selling point for commercial properties as well.
Using “unmanned aircraft systems” for property marketing is an important trend in CRE. Drones can carry still or video cameras to places they’ve never been before. They produce stunning aerial images that are custom-made for real estate. The FAA currently allows commercial use of drones on a case-by-case basis.
Using the Cloud to share information makes everything more transparent and efficient, and relevant information can be easily shared with stakeholders.
CRE professionals are recognizing the benefits of being able to collaborate on projects and manage transactions online. When teams collaborate online, leveraging the Cloud, everyone involved has the full, updated picture in real time.
For example, sharing a single, master document in the Cloud allowing red-lining / commenting in real-time and leveraging electronic signatures for contracts streamlines the traditional “paperwork” process in ways that are more secure than traditional methods.
As more people become accustomed to this approach, use of the Cloud will become the rule rather than the exception.
There are few occupations in which mobile technology makes as much sense as it does for CRE. The ability to manage tasks, conduct transactions, and share documents from anywhere is a great boon in an industry where you don’t see much of your desk.
Ease of Use
CRE tech is welcoming a new generation of technology tools that deliver elegant user experiences and simplicity. Many of these new applications are being built and designed to seamlessly integrate into a professional’s work-flow with little or no learning curve.
Some would say that CRE still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to incorporating technology, and that is true to some extent. However, look for development to continue to accelerate.
Plans are underway for the first-ever CRE tech panel discussion at the ultra-cutting edge South By Southwest (SXSW) Conference in Austin this year. Organizer Ryan Dennis sees this as an opportunity to move CRE tech forward significantly:
“This is the commercial real estate industry’s pop culture, leapfrogging moment. For an industry which naively engages across physical, antiquated media channels, we can’t catch up, we can only innovate.”
The number of innovative companies working in the CRE Tech industry points to a year of significant progress and adoption in 2017.