Digital transformation has impacted nearly every industry in 2018 and the commercial real estate industry was no different. Building owners, property managers and building engineers alike have scrambled to replace outdated business operations, decision making models and equipment in an effort to deploy innovations that will cut operational costs, improve tenant relations, increase energy efficiency and boost overall asset value. Below is a list of seven technologies and trends real estate professionals should look for in 2019 if they want to remain competitive in the market.
1. Machine Learning
Internet-connected devices are generating datasets for buildings that have never existed before – and can now be leveraged through machine learning. Building owners, managers and engineers will use machine learning to sift through data and unlock insights into market trends, building performance optimization and other big-data applications. In 2019, the CRE industry will spend significantly less time manually collecting data and more time moving towards optimization goals.
Drone technology is rapidly advancing, becoming more efficient and less expensive. Building owners and property managers will begin to integrate drones for aerial surveillance of buildings and outdoor spaces, allowing security personnel to monitor large areas more effectively. While drone use may not be widespread across the industry in 2019, expect a surge in popularity from CRE executives in the years to come.
3. Augmented Reality
While augmented reality (AR) may be best known for its recreational uses (i.e. AR goggles and video games) the interactive, digital experiences created by AR can solve a number of complex property management problems. For instance, computer-generated images can aid HVAC technicians and other property vendors in locating and repairing building equipment – adding visual information, such as interactive directions and three-dimensional model specs, to the trade.
On the financial side of commercial real estate, blockchain will revolutionize investor relations, opening new markets to investment that may not have many real estate investment trusts (REITs). As the technology matures, it will streamline real estate investments, facilitating safer and more fluid transactions, cutting both time and costs.
5. Localized Energy Sources
Localizing energy sources will continue to gain momentum in 2019. The push for buildings to decrease waste and CO2 emissions will incentivize owners to invest in outfitting buildings with solar panels and other sources of renewable energy – potentially moving the industry closer to being a producer rather than a consumer.
Robotic technology has been implemented and widely successful in the medical, industrial and agricultural industries; however, it’s only on the cusp of dominating the PropTech, real estate and construction industries. Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, robotics are likely to play a large role in reducing construction labor shortage and will give rise to a new class of careers that interface with them. Additionally, implementing robotics will speed up construction processes and reduce on-site injuries.
7. Autonomous Vehicles
The rise of autonomous vehicles will change the way cities operate – from pedestrian behavior, to parking lots, to curb use – and commercial real estate will be forced to adjust to the changing trends. Mixed-use buildings in urban areas will rapidly deploy more smart parking garages and property owners will see a rise in “complete-streets,” including enhancements made to roads, sidewalks and bike-lanes to increase pedestrian and cyclist safety while reducing traffic congestion in cities.
The CRE industry is on the cusp of of taking full advantage of these technological gamechangers. In 2019, we will see an accelerated adoption rate of these innovations and others as executives strive to stay competitive in evolving markets and meet the demand for greener, more efficient spaces.