How technology trends are transforming commercial real estate industry?

Data: 2017.10.10

Technology has found its way into almost every aspect of our lives. And we are getting used to it. Technology makes life fast, efficient and less costly. It impacts all industries and can also reshape the face of commercial real estate. So what technological trends are worth integrating into today’s property management routines?

Virtual reality

Virtual reality (VR) is not only for gaming, movies and other entertainment anymore – it has become a trend which likely be used more widely across many industries in just a few years. But could virtual reality become a new reality for commercial real estate? The VR market has been growing rapidly and a variety of different industries are taking advantage of this technology, so why shouldn’t real estate?

There are couple advantages that property managers should take into account when considering the use of VR. From the client perspective, property managers can add some gamification to the property selection process by offering virtual tours, which create a feeling of moving around in the space you are interested in. It also can save cost and time, since customers can take a tour remotely without travelling. Plus, tenants or investors are able to see a property before it may even exist. All of this leads to lowering risks and reaching a larger audience.

Moreover, VR allows the preparation of engaging marketing material: realistic videos of your properties from multiple angles that create an entirely different experience instead of regular photos and videos, no matter how nice and professional they may be. So, investment in virtual reality allows you to level up your content marketing activities by adding VR videos to a website, social media channels or even creating new videos of customers using and (hopefully) enjoying the possibilities provided by VR technology.

It can also create a real competitive advantage, since very few property management companies are using VR technology right now. But will virtual reality become a new, common reality in commercial real estate? We’ll see.

Drone Technology

It seems that drones are everywhere now. Hovering over your head in the park, town squares, taking shots for music videos or working as couriers.  But not only that – drones are changing the business world and having an impact on many industries. But how can drones improve property management? For now, drones aren’t usually seen as a must have in the commercial real estate industry. Despite this, drones can provide some capabilities that could never be achieved with traditional methods.

Drone technology is all about data – it lets us gather information like never before. Similar to VR, drone technology has become a way to look around in properties and assets. This way it allows create more realistic, user-driven experiences, along with high-quality videos and amazing photos for your website, social media or property brochures. Of course, drone technology can not only serve for showing the best views of a property, but for the worst ones as well. Property managers can use drones for troubleshooting: to notice and track problematic areas (e.g. if one of your premises has a leaking/damaged roof, etc.).

However, the skills needed to pilot drones, risk management issues and regulations seem to be barriers, keeping drones from becoming a casual thing in commercial real estate practices.  At least up until now.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) may still seem like something from science fiction movies, rather than a property manager’s daily routine. But they could definitely work together.

It may sound strange, but AI is already everywhere. As far as AI being used in the property management industry, it may not be in the form of a robot, but rather, in your devices as applications. AI relies on algorithms, has an ability to automate simple tasks, remove mistakes, they learn and adapt and has ability to make decisions. AI provides an opportunity to automate many job functions and may be used for customer support, marketing automation, predictive analytics. According to Forbes, it may complement existing software solutions rather than replacing them.

For example, AI already benefits various business applications (such as Microsoft’s current CRM and ERP cloud solution Dynamics 365 for Sales). AI works as a virtual assistant which not only collects tenant data, but also suggests what next sales or marketing actions should be taken, allows prioritize leads, personalize and create unique customer experience.

Software solutions

Although it’s not a totally new thing, software trends change really fast and property managers should keep an eye on them. People say commercial real estate industry has been a bit slow to adapt new technologies, compared to others.  But in terms of property management platforms and software, it has become almost inevitable for property managers and owners who are seeking efficiency, and here’s why.

Property management is a time-consuming task. Developments in technology enables property managers to streamline their workflow into a smooth process. Software solutions, such as Soft4RealEstate, can provide all the information needed about tenants and property in a single view, all in one place, and virtually accessible from anywhere at any time. Property management solutions also simplify communication between tenants and property management companies. By using so-called tenant portals, tenants can access all the information they need about payments or contracts themselves, so both parties can avoid unnecessary questions and emails.

Of course, some may notice that the real estate industry still mainly relies on human connection. It’s a key to trust and future relationship. So all these technology trends make us wonder – whether human relations can be replaced or it will never be the same with just technology? This question remains open for discussion.

We will soon see what technologies are going to have the biggest impact on commercial real estate industry and which ones will only remain nice to have. But there’s no doubt that interesting things are ahead of us and property managers, tenants and investors will benefit from technological innovations.

Here at SOFT4, we’re constantly sharing stories on how to meet and cope with trends, tendencies, and challenges,  in order to stay competitive. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and get fresh insights into efficient property management!