IBcon 2020: Crisis and new opportunities in real estate

Realcomm’s IBcon 2020 was a hybrid-style event that utilized a dynamic online forum, enabling remote participants to attend carefully curated in-person sessions at the Gaylord Rockies Resort in Colorado. The event mirrored the realities of running business today, the challenges and more importantly the opportunities for real estate. Here are the three key takeaways from last week’s event:

#1 – Disruption creates opportunity

Last week marked the 22nd anniversary of Realcomm events, and 7 years of Switch participation. During that time, these events have continuously showcased the innovation of our proptech community. The only thing missing was a catalyst for the mass market adoption of these technologies.

Fast forward to 2020, and the longstanding metrics for real estate operations and valuation are being turned upside down. Uncertainty and disruption are the new normal. Every vendor and real estate executive participating in this year’s show has navigated unprecedented disruption, and conversations throughout the week consistently underscored the idea that chaos begets opportunity.

Building owners now understand that technology is critical to getting people back in buildings. Tenants are rewriting their demands for a technology-enabled space that demonstrates investment in health and safety. Data is becoming central to verifying compliance with public health mandates or occupant expectations.

Data is also crucial for operational transparency, providing insight into building performance that is sure to become a foundational aspect of real estate due diligence. Andrew Waller of Remit Consulting pointed out the striking dichotomy of investment – consider the depth of data and analysis done for a single bond trade versus the near absence of building performance data in multi-million dollar real estate transactions.

#2 – The importance of open architecture

IoT technologies used for monitoring health and wellness to assist in re-entry is a useful, smart solution. But in isolation, technologies like these fail to reach their full potential. Long-term planning is critical and deploying these kind of point solutions with a clear process of data and system integration will ensure they bring value during any new business disruption beyond the current pandemic. During one session on “Defining the Enterprise Architecture,” Jared Summers of ExxonMobil explained having an architecture “built to pivot and respond to disruption” enabled the organization to quickly “transition workplace into an offer” that proved spaces were safe for workers to re-enter and collaborate effectively.

#3 – An ecosystem will make the market

There are endless possibilities for new services and products built on top of a robust, open smart building architecture. The enterprise-wide insight delivered through comprehensive data and systems integration can make facilities services more efficient and deepen the ties between owners, occupants and service providers. This transformative vision requires a wide range of technology and domain expertise however, supported by creative business strategy. As Bert Van Hoof from Microsoft explained in one session, no one vendor will solve the smart building puzzle – it will require widespread collaboration so that industry players can “all transform together.”
 

Find out how the Switch Platform brings all of your building system data under one single pane of glass to deliver comprehensive and actionable insights.

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