Technology trends in commercial real estate

technology trends in commercial real estate

As tech disruption continues to improve many aspects of our consumer lives, there is no shortage of technology trends in commercial real estate. With technologies like the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence still in their infancy, the future of this market is exciting.


Office design trends for 2019: Keeping the multi-generational workforce engaged

office design trends 2019

With the influx of Millennials and Generation Y fully immersing themselves in today’s workforce, this cohort and its evolving needs are interacting with more-entrenched Generation X and Baby Boomers. Combined with increased awareness regarding wellness initiatives, sustainability and the ever-evolving world of technology, there is a fascinating impact on the world of office design as we know it in 2019.


The ROI on Mobile Construction Apps

Mobile construction apps are emerging as a valuable resource offering a significant return on investment in terms of benefits to overall productivity, risk mitigation, as well as savings from labor costs, downtime, and schedule acceleration.

We all know that technology is trending in every sector of the construction industry with companies deploying a wide range of cutting-edge technologies across a project lifecycle. Drones and building information modeling continue to be the rage, but mobile construction applications are the latest tech revolution in the industry.

Although technology and software are prevalent in construction, the industry continues to suffer from persistent challenges, such as skilled-labor shortage, fragmented teams, high competition, tight margins, and increased risk—all of which can be mitigated by increasing productivity. Traditional construction software has not solved the industry’s productivity problem however, whereas mobile technology software tackles some of this challenge including saving time on labor and rework issues.

A new ebook — “The Dollars and Sense of Mobile Construction Apps” — published by PlanGrid, provides insights into this fast-emerging digital transformation. It provides an overview of the bevy of mobile construction apps that can not only reduce risk, but help construction professionals maintain their bottom line while facilitating communication and document sharing with teams in the field and the office. There is a mobile app for just about everything now, from productivity to project management, reporting, and on the job safety.

The book is a valuable resource with strategies to encourage adoption of new mobile technology into your organization, as well as how to calculate the return on investment construction companies can expect from mobile technology. Like what could a team achieve with 5 extra hours a week? Or how much could you save by finishing a project early?

While mobile construction technology is an expense, the potential return is huge in terms of benefits to overall productivity, employee/client satisfaction, and risk mitigation, as well as a tangible return in savings from labor costs, downtime, and schedule acceleration.


Construction Industry Labor Shortages and the Rise of Robots

The In-situ Fabricator is an autonomous construction robot capable of laying bricks into pre-programmed structures. Can robots mitigate the labor shortage crisis in the construction industry?

Automation has long been considered the harbinger of future unemployment, and experts have in fact predicted that the widespread adoption of robotics and other technological advancements — artificially intelligent (AI) software and smart machines — could lead to millions of people losing their jobs. Many tasks in transportation, manufacturing, even insurance, law and taxation are already being taken over by machines.

Increased automation is expected to dramatically disrupt worldwide employment as early as 2020, but in the construction industry, which suffered massive job losses in the Great Recession,  automation could help mitigate the impact of current labor shortages and improve efficiency.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, the construction sector lost more than 2.3 million workers (40% of the workforce) between April 2006 and January 2011. The share of builders reporting serious labor shortages skyrocketed from 21% in 2012, to 46% in 2014, 52% in 2015, 56% in 2016 according to Construction Dive. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that almost 200,000 construction jobs were unfilled in the United States as of February 2017.

Can an industry plagued by labor shortages get help from automated systems and machines? A number of AI-powered systems that could help alleviate the construction industry’s woes are currently in development. These include a mobile construction fabricator as well as a 3D-printer for buildings, both of which are capable of adapting to their immediate environment. And equipment giant Caterpillar has just invested $2 million in Fastbrick Robotics to develop and sell the Australian company’s robotic bricklaying technology. These construction systems are typically able to finish their tasks more efficiently and quickly than their human counterparts, so construction companies may benefit from certain  automated systems.

Some critics are wary of intelligent automation because they view it as an attempt to shut out and replace human workers. But in an industry that is already suffering from a lack of skilled labor,  intelligent automation is making inroads. In the race between man and machine, the pace is now quickening


The Internet Ushers In a New Age of Building Automation

The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutonizing building automation.

Mobile technology has taken on a critical role in building automation, but connecting products and systems within a commercial building through what is being called the Internet of Things (IoT) is pushing building automation to the next level. Within the context of the commercial real-estate market, this means using cloud-based computing and networks of data-gathering sensors that allow products within a building to communicate with each other within an interconnected system. The result? Intelligent buildings that can gather data and adapt without human input.

While implementing the latest technology solutions is a given for new construction, the real opportunity lies in intelligently retrofitting existing building stock, especially since it’s estimated that 80 percent of current commercial buildings will still be in use in 2050. It’s not too soon to get smarter about how we’re using them. We need buildings and we need cities, and the more optimized and the better performing they are, the better it is for owners, occupants, our economy and the environment.

There is already a tremendous proliferation of smart, connected devices, products with integrated sensors that input data to the internet themselves, a suite of technology and applications that equip devices and locations to generate information and then connect them all, capturing data and providing instant analysis about building performance.  The Internet of Things is going to accelerate the growth in this building automation market; by 2020, it is estimated there will be as many as 200 billion connected devices across the globe, which translates to roughly 26 smart objects per person. Many of these will be in our buildings.