Co-Founder and CTO of STRATAFOLIO, an asset management, automation and analytics company servicing the commercial real estate industry.
Since the early months of 2020, Covid-19 has had a continuing impact on commercial real estate. While some of the pandemic-related changes may fade away when the virus does, there are other changes that may be here to stay. The use of technology in CRE is an example.
Although making the initial switch has been challenging for many companies, there were some positive aspects to the changing environment. For example, it forced many late tech adopters to become more proactive about implementing technology in their everyday operations. Here are some of the biggest changes that have occurred in CRE technology, business practices and strategies.
Technology Solutions For Conducting Business Remotely
Covid-19 has shifted many businesses to conduct their operations remotely, and CRE is no exception. Many businesses have had to increase their utilization of platforms such as Zoom and Slack to touch base with employees and tenants from afar.
Social distancing has changed how a landlord might be able to showcase a property. Luckily, technology has bridged the gap. Video chatting, 3D technology and virtual reality have all allowed CRE landlords to showcase properties to potential tenants remotely. When you’re leveraging these tools, you are setting your business up for growth even in these unprecedented times.
More Efficient Ways Of Doing Business
One thing many CRE businesses have confronted during the pandemic is how they can use technology to increase efficiency. For example, artificial intelligence can improve efficiency by taking over simple tasks that CRE professionals would otherwise be forced to do. Many CRE businesses have turned to AI-powered chatbots in the pandemic. This type of technology reduces human contact that could spread the virus. It also keeps operations efficient and customer satisfaction high.
The internet of things (IoT) has also helped CRE landlords be more efficient by collecting data on how a space is being used. IoT can control lighting, heating, air conditioning and ventilation. This technology empowers CRE businesses to make informed decisions that will improve the experience of the tenants and protect their bottom line. These savings are also passed along to the tenants, which is especially important during these uncertain financial times. IoT can also improve the energy efficiency of a space.
Accelerated Adoption Of Proptech
Covid-19 has also had major implications on the use of proptech. Although proptech used to be a nice bonus for many businesses, Covid-19 has made it almost essential. Proptech can make so many improvements in the commercial real estate space, but one of the most important right now is how proptech can actually keep spaces cleaner and healthier. This technology can monitor hygiene ratings and identify areas that need cleaning. As people try to return to the office, this is especially important. Proptech can help keep people safe even in a crowded group of co-workers.
Although implementing proptech can require a significant investment, it’s one that CRE landlords may have to make to outlast Covid-19. Luckily, it’s also one that comes with a significant ROI. If you’re utilizing technology as much as possible in your commercial real estate properties, business owners will be more attracted to these spaces.
Increased Wi-Fi Capabilities And Cybersecurity Protection
Covid-19 has also changed what CRE landlords prioritize. Although the increased importance of Wi-Fi has been evident in recent years, Covid-19 has increased the demand even more. People are relying on wireless internet more than ever to connect to their jobs, education and even their loved ones. Landlords who want to ensure their tenants stick around should invest in faster internet.
Increased use of Wi-Fi comes with increased cybersecurity concerns. Once again, the concern over data breaches has already been growing in recent years. But Covid-19 has dramatically increased these concerns. If you aren’t taking this time to invest in cybersecurity, you’re putting your own business and the businesses of your tenants at risk. You’re also creating a liability nightmare if you are ignoring cybersecurity measures. Solutions may include improving passwords, restricting access to sensitive data and using secure, password-protected WPA2 networks.
A Future Dictated By Tech
Companies that adapt to these changes will be more likely to stay in business, even in these challenging times. Your CRE business will also see the benefits of technology implementation long after the pandemic is over. I believe your business will run more efficiently, scale effectively and satisfy more tenants.
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