Fad vs Future: Trends from BOMA 2019

Author TouchSource

Building managers and leaders met to discuss what’s next and landed on these three game changers as top trends to embrace.

We just returned from BOMA 2019 where CRE industry leaders from across the nation come together to determine the future landscape of commercial real estate.  The theme of this year’s show was “game changers” and the main topic of conversation was Property Tech (PropTech).  As enthusiastic “game-changing” ideas infiltrated the show, the question remained—what tech trends will stand the test of time?  In the continuously evolving CRE industry, the line between future and fad can easily blur.

Pulling from this theme, Founder of the Future Today Institute (FTI), Amy Webb kicked-off her opening speech by challenging the BOMA group to ask themselves— in the future of CRE, what’s a trend and what’s just trendy?

Based on this idea, here are the three biggest PropTech trends we saw from the show:

1. Artificial Intelligence Applications and Digital Assistants are the New Normal.  AI may still feel like a futuristic concept, but after developments like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri have integrated AI into our everyday lives, it’s only natural for CRE to follow suit in the places where people live.  AI provides commercial real estate users with information about what’s going on in their building and how to act on it. Improving tenant experience is a crucial topic for all BOMA attendees and investment in AI and Digital Assistants was the resounding answer for those looking for better building maintenance, efficiency, and happier tenants.

We agree! That’s why we debuted a cutting-edge new sensor-integrated kiosk that allows CRE management to capitalize on PropTech initiatives.  Here’s how it works. The sensors can detect safety hazards and energy usage in a building while doubling as a resource that retains demographic information, tenant patterns and emotional recognition. Sensors save building owners money on the security surveillance side and provide insight on who’s interacting and what they are looking for on the demographics side.

With this sensor driven PropTech, property management can better understand their tenants needs and as a result obtain a stronger, long-term tenant relationship. It’s another innovation that you should come to expect from all of us from TouchSource.

2. Technology as an Amenity.  According to the FTI 2019 Report, this year people born after year 2000 (Generation Z), will officially take over Millennials.  This means that one-third of the world’s population will be 19 years old or younger.  These individuals have never lived in a world without Facebook and their expectations for the spaces they inhabit require the industry to embrace new technology everywhere.  As the amenity war rages on, 55% of property managers plan to increase their amenity spend next year (CBRE).

The evolution of how people live has always been a hot topic at TouchSource and it dominated BOMA discussions about the strategic reallocation of funds for new tech-focused amenity investments. Instead of investing in a cafeteria or gym, experts advised that long-term profitability lies in seamless integration of technology and information sharing that helps get tenants where they want to go.

Session leaders stressed that in a world where “trendy spots” are fleeting, it’s wiser to skip the heavy investment of building tech in-house and opt instead for smart-space tech that evolves along with tenant interests.

For example, property managers were excited about the interactive TouchSource elevator unit, retail kiosk, video wall and ArtSpaces™ display that we showcased.  Together, they demonstrated how to build community by focusing on design, aesthetics and a tech-infused building experience—all while being easy-to-own, turnkey solutions.

3. The Power of Data. CRE leaders know that the use of data in real estate has experienced exponential growth over the past few years. Many embrace it while others seem overwhelmed by how to navigate it. With the help of AI, data can be used to increase revenue streams with targeted advertisements, help management make informed operating decisions and provide insight on tenant engagement and satisfaction.

It’s not just future tech. TouchSource’s new sensor-integrated solution makes use of this data easier, more approachable and more cost-effective than ever before. Our new innovation lets property owners and managers better understand what people are looking for, when they’re in the building and how they interact.  This advanced, future-proof tech paves the way for a more seamless integration between buildings and the people they’re designed to serve.

Take the Next Step Today

The consensus?  The CRE tech boom is here to stay and it’s time for industry leaders to lean into PropTech.  The immense value embedded in AI, Digital Assistants and data is far too vast to overlook.  And, the possibilities are achievable on a small scale today. Isn’t it time that you transformed your directory into the crowd-pleasing window to your property that it can be?

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