As I mentioned in my recent video discussing this year’s CRE megatrends, not only is the real estate industry last to adopt digital technologies, it’s dead last. However, with nearly 60% of U.S. organizations making smart building energy investments in 2019, there’s no doubt in my mind that this year will bring several ‘coming of age’ moments for the industry.
So what’s changed since my last series of CRE megatrends predictions? For one, timing is more crucial than ever, with major shifts in the way we hire CRE professionals and use technology to promote occupant experience already well underway.
1. If you’re not transitioning to a digital business model, then your organization is already dead
All the CRE businesses that matter will move from a labor-based model to a digital model this year, with the use of data analytics becoming a mainstream obsession in 2019. The organizations that are truly ahead of the curve are already using data and analytics to understand building usage, solve facilities issues and invest strategically.
Timing is everything – because smart building technology creates new value and efficiency that compounds over time, the big industry winners and losers will be established early. For this reason, it pays to be ready.
2. “Who’s your strategy guy?”
Some of the best inventions in history come from industry outsiders. One of this year’s CRE megatrends involves property companies moving toward a data-based model. A successful industry transition will be decided by which companies are willing to put their money where their mouth is and hire creatively to drive transformative digital strategies.
The CRE companies that are pulling ahead have brought on new members of staff and external agencies capable of implementing new data and analytics-based initiatives. Everything from heating, to energy efficiency to asset management are increasingly being approached ‘as a service.’ This trend of hiring and blue-sky thinking will be more prevalent as 2019 goes on, driving efficiency and sustainability through creative new data-driven strategies.
3. Every real estate company will try to repeat WeWork’s success
In 2019, every large property owner will offer their own coworking spaces in an attempt to recreate WeWork’s massive success. The current perception is that there are few barriers to entry for property companies who want to create their own co-working brand. If only it were that easy.
In this fiercely competitive space, the wide range of options means that success will depend on the quality of technology underpinning these businesses. Coworking brands’ ability to gather usage and comfort data will be essential to creating and maintaining an exceptional occupant experience. Many CRE organizations will try, few will succeed.
4. Occupant experience will drive the creation of killer apps
With such a wide range of residential and commercial property options now available for every type of occupant, customers have never been so well catered to. In this competitive environment, occupant experience is now king and technology will be the differentiator.
New apps for building management and tenant engagement are becoming more widespread each year and have been a game changer in driving the move to predictive building management. The killer apps in our industry will be occupant facing, creating exciting new opportunities for property managers to detect and analyze occupant facilities usage and comfort.
5. “You’re hosting your data where?”
The value of building data is increasing as the industry discovers new ways to use it to unlock additional asset value. At the same time, IT and OT are now more closely interconnected than ever, with IT professionals now more interested in building data storage than ever.
Where to host data, data privacy and data ownership will become an even bigger deal in 2019. Fierce debate about data ownership is already underway and only going to grow as management take a greater interest in where and how they store their data.
CRE megatrends: before and after
If you enjoyed this CRE megatrends thought piece, check out my 2017 predictions – which I’m pleased to say turned out to be mostly true. I look forward to 2020 to see where we are and hope our progress as an industry is as rapid and exciting as I think it will be.
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