If you had to make a list of all the industries that were significantly disrupted at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, commercial real estate (CRE) would be right at the top. Notable submarkets like Manhattan saw leasing volumes decline a massive 25% at the beginning of the pandemic — the lowest since 2013. New investments began slowing down almost instantly, due to increased uncertainty and concerns over valuation. One survey conducted in March of 2020 revealed that about 74% of respondents shelved their CRE investment plans entirely. Technology advances in real estate have not only managed to stave off a lot of the risk from the pandemic, but they’ve also seen some firms come out all the better because of it. Innovation in real estate has always been essential, but the need to create digital and physical experiences in the workplace has accelerated. Now, commercial property technology is helping office owners and teams deliver better and more forward-thinking experiences to customers through its agility and efficiencies. Looking back at 2020 and what we’re seeing so far in 2021, we’ve identified four clear trends that have taken hold. Let’s take a look.
The Latest in Commercial Real Estate Technology Trends
1. Building Management Software
One of the biggest real estate technology trends in 2021 has to do with an increased use of building management software, also referred to as property management software. Such technology acts as a central hub of information for all maintenance information about a building. If you’re always just a glance away from knowing the building performance of all assets in your portfolio, you can make data-driven decisions and be as proactive as possible.
You can also stay up-to-date on key performance indicators like asset life expectancy, labor costs, and even energy management. All of this makes it easier for office teams to guarantee that their commercial buildings are continuing to perform as they were originally designed and constructed. It also creates a more satisfying experience for their customers — thus increasing tenant engagement and satisfaction as well.
2. Artificial Intelligence
Another great example of technology used in real estate takes the form of artificial intelligence — something that will continue to highlight the future of real estate technology in 2021 and beyond. Many organizations are using AI-based services that allow them to simplify CRE transactions. For example, technologies like optical character recognition (OCR) can be used to scan documents and complete financial audits faster and with higher accuracy than ever before. The less time office employees have to spend on time-consuming and manual tasks, the more time they can focus on those matters that really need them.
3. Safety and Convenience
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many trends have to do with an increased emphasis on safety and convenience. More and more, building owners and managers are using innovative real estate technology to provide touchless services to facilitate safe and secure access to tenants. Not only does this go a long way towards creating the healthiest environments possible on behalf of occupants, but it also helps to automate a lot of traditional processes in a way that most people find convenient.
4. Customer Experience
Perhaps one of the biggest proptech trends for 2021 has to do with how many organizations are leveraging the cloud to create better and more scalable digital experiences. These modern, consumer-first tenant experiences include digital programming, order ahead services, mobile access, and more. Not only is this cost-effective because CRE companies don’t need to make massive investments in servers and other IT equipment, but it’s an important opportunity to improve the quality of the end-user experience.
Why You Should Invest in Real Estate Technology
In the end, one of the biggest reasons why it’s so important to stay up-to-date on real estate tech news is because it can help highlight some of the incredible opportunities that commercial real estate technology has to offer. Not even a year ago, the entire industry was in the throes of uncertainty. In the summer of 2020 when more and more commercial clients were sending their workforces home to work remotely, technology companies rose to the challenge and brought the future of real estate technology into the present. They did so by providing solutions that enhance office building performance, increase tenant satisfaction, and generate value for property teams — all at the exact same time.
Such solutions are available today, and they’re ready for you to take full advantage of them. Learn more about how technology is transforming the workplace in our latest industry guide, The Future of the Office is a Connected Hub.