- November 08, 2019
The recent two-day CREtech conference in Brooklyn brought together leaders from the worlds of commercial real estate (CRE) and tech to discuss the latest innovations and trends in the industry. Here are five takeaways from the sessions.
1. CRE customers not only expect technology, they demand it
It’s no secret that the CRE industry has been among the slowest of tech adopters. But tenants now want the same everyday-life conveniences they get from apps and personal devices in the commercial buildings in which they live and work.
2. Customer experience is more important than ever
As people grow more accustomed to the choice, speed, and convenience technology brings to daily life, they’re looking for the same value as CRE customers/tenants, whether searching for a property, paying bills, or communicating with owners or landlords.
Kenneth Finnegan, CTO & Managing Director of Technology at Related, noted this concept was integral to the design of their new mixed-use development Hudson Yards right from the start. Their strategy was to first consider the customer experience and then plug that into their tech plan.
Maureen Waters, President of Ten-X Commercial, discussed how partnering with customers strategically has helped bridge the gap between CRE and tech at her company, assuring that Ten-X is building products that customers need and want.
3. Tech adoption in CRE is now skyrocketing
Peter Grant, of the Wall Street Journal, kicked off one discussion by citing digital transformation and technology as the #1 conversation topic in board rooms today. CRE owners, landlords, VCs, and other investors are now using technology and data to extract valuable insights and make better decisions.
Partnerships between startups, established corporations, and investors are also driving rapid innovation—and tech adoption—in the industry.
All in all, there are a lot of opportunities out there for entrepreneurs who can solve problems using tech.
4. You need data (and technology) to succeed in CRE
As the industry shifts to digital, more companies and individuals are using a range of technologies to access data and gain insights that lead to better decisions. Investors are using it to measure and react to market trends; lenders, to assess risk profiles. Retail and office landlords rely on data to avoid overspending on maintenance and energy, and in evaluating how to rent their space. CRE investors, owners, and managers need to use data and tools like analytics, AI, and machine learning to remain efficient and stay competitive.
5. Developing a data strategy is critical to success
As Sudeep Doshi, Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company, put it, data is the new oil. The proliferation of digital technology means that everyone is now gathering and accessing vast amounts of data. They key is to be value-led, not data-led. Think about your end goals and what you want to do with data—before you even start collecting it, if possible. Then work backward to build a strategy that will achieve the results you want.