CRE’s Technology Progress Report

A wide-ranging survey by Building Engines and BOMA International takes stock of the industry’s varied responses to the digital age.
Phil Mobley, Building Engines
Phil Mobley, head of research, Building Engines (Image courtesy of Building Engines)

Portfolio management platform provider Building Engines and the Building Owners and Managers Association International have released Commercial Real Estate Technology Trends 2018, a report exploring how commercial real estate professionals are responding to the tech revolution in the industry.

“CRE professionals are under increasing pressure to meet tenant expectations, reduce operating costs and adopt a host of constantly changing technologies,” Rob Brierley, 2017-2018 BOMA International chair & managing director with commercial real estate services firm Colliers International, said in a prepared statement. More than 600 CRE professionals were queried in the study. Building Engines and BOMA commissioned the responses to assess how organizations are making the most of their investment in ever-evolving technologies.

Using a self-evaluation system, respondents ranked their effectiveness in various tech-related categories and the results were utilized to classify participants. Roughly 23 percent of the respondents deemed themselves achievers or property professionals who are at the forefront of the adoption and strategic deployment of technology. Approximately 59 percent of respondents fell into the category of maintainers—those professionals who are progressing right along with changes but aren’t early adopters. And only 18 percent branded themselves as trailers or those who are falling behind industry averages in adoption rates and results.

Study findings shed light on the attitudes, characteristics and practices of the achievers. 

Follow the leader

Brian Cappelli, BOMA
Brian Cappelli, BOMA international chair & vice president of asset management for investment funds manager GBX Group LLC (Image courtesy of BOMA International)

For companies interested in embracing CRE technology to the fullest, practices of achievers can serve as a playbook, of sorts. For example, achievers deploy “highly effective” solutions for more than half of the operational functions. “The report findings also drive home the value of thoughtfully investing in technology and taking calculated risks,” Brian Cappelli, BOMA International chair & vice president of asset management for investment funds manager GBX Group LLC, told Commercial Property Executive. “Highly effective technology users were much more likely to be early adopters and to factor in benefits beyond immediate cost savings—benefits such as improved tenant experience and increased employee productivity.”

Aside from looking at achievers, Building Engines and BOMA translated the study findings into a nutshell of a guideline for those organizations wishing to capitalize on technology that enhances building operations. First, the organizations recommend keeping an open mind to the benefits of technology. Building Engines and BOMA also advocate pursuing technology partners and solutions that prioritize integration and collaboration with other services. And the final general rule is to mind the importance of broad adoption and deep use to reap benefits fully.

However, be they achievers, maintainers or trailers, the majority of CRE professionals view certain emerging technologies as inevitable factors in their business. Fifty-one percent of participants expect drones to have a significant or profound impact on the industry. And 54 percent believe Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will have a significant impact as well. In the meantime, the study indicates much more can be done to promote CRE technology, existing and emerging.

“The results show that the onus is on technology providers to meet the technology needs of owners and asset managers,” Phil Mobley, head of research at Building Engines, told CPE. “Simply solving an operational problem at the building level is a good thing, but it is not enough to satisfy a more sophisticated audience.”