By Stephen Schimmel, CPM®
Over three days in October, the Executive Council of Chapter 23 had the privilege of attending the 2017 IREM Global Summit. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn and connect with industry professionals, including those on the leading edge of technology use in property management.
One education session was led by Pepe’ Gutiérrez, AFC, CPM®, ASM who spoke on “Disrupted Technologies in Property Management.”
Disrupted innovation is a term in the field of business administration. It refers to an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, thereby displacing established market leading firms, products, and alliances 1. Disrupted technologies are those that have been impacted by this theory.
These technologies are changing the way we as property managers do our job. Augmented reality, virtual reality, virtual assistance, connected buildings, connected homes and the Internet of Things (IoT) — each of these areas is making inroads into real estate management.
What is driving the tech innovation in real estate? The answers are many; but you can point to Millennials as early adopters of modern technology and to those who see an opportunity for improvement and profit.
One example of these advances is in the use of virtual reality and augmented reality. Brokerages and developers are pushing the use of virtual reality when listing new properties that have not been built. Prospective buyers or tenants get a 360-degree tour of the home or space they wish to utilize in order to better understand the layout and feel of the space. Becoming even more personal, the use of augmented reality can take something you already own and input that item on a digital overlay or into a virtual reality tour to see how your personal belongings fit into the next home or office space you want to occupy.
These innovative technologies are completely changing the sales and leasing process for real estate. The shift to this new technology doesn’t just change how we market space,
but it can save time and substantial expense.
One of the newest disruptors, somewhat in its infancy, is the IoT. Connected systems, sensors and equipment are improving the efficiency of buildings and the management team. The market penetration of IoT is low now, but the adoption rate in the coming years is expected to skyrocket. Sensors that can test water quality, air quality, and the presence of a parked vehicle in a garage already exist. Sensing thermostats and connected cameras are some of the most common IoT devices in use. However, the IoT can be more than these simple sensors. The future may include networks of IoT devices that can “talk” to each other to adjust building automation systems, security, accessibility and much more.
One more benefit of these IoT pieces is an incredible amount of data created. This byproduct of the individual functions of IoT devices is another market that can be harnessed for real estate. One simple example is connected cameras. New cameras can note how many people are in a retail store, how long they spend there and what items they inspected. If a customer didn’t buy an item they looked at in store, the data collected can be utilized to send targeted ads or promotions to the smart phone of the shopper. All this sounds futuristic, but it is already happening in malls and retail stores across the word.
The biggest take away from this session was the need to be open to new technology, and to recognize how these advancements might improve what we do or how we do it.
1. Bower, Joseph L. & Christensen, Clayton M. (1995)