The Accelerating Pace of Tech Disruption in CRE

Key Takeaways:

  • When people say that tech disruption in CRE is just a bunch of hype, I couldn’t disagree more.

  • Studies show the accelerating pace of tech disruption is transforming industries and business models in ways we never could have imagined.

  • There’s new cohesiveness in CRE to focus on and accept these new technologies. So, what are you waiting for?


I recently was fortunate enough to be asked to moderate the CRE Tech Intersect rapid fire pitch segment of 36 unbelievable CRE technologies. Each and every one of them was solving an issue that myself and my company goes through throughout the year. So when I hear a lot of people saying that tech disruption in CRE is just a bunch of hype —I couldn’t disagree more.

The pace of tech disruption is finally taking hold in a way that it’s real. I’m not saying that everyone and every technology will make it to the finish line or be a unicorn, but in my personal view —and in speaking with CEOs in the marketplace today —tech solutions and company culture are top of mind and part of everyone’s business strategy.

When people say tech disruption in CRE is hype, I couldn’t disagree more!
Tweet: When people say tech disruption in #CRE is hype, I couldn’t disagree more! #StreetSchultz via @JonSchultz_Onyx

Here’s a glimpse at why …

A major report from the World Economic Forum, published in January, lays out the scope of technology’s impact on the world of work:

"The accelerating pace of technological, demographic and socio-economic disruption is transforming industries and business models, changing the skills that employers need and shortening the shelf-life of employees’ existing skill sets in the process."

As stated above, this is holding true for CRE —an industry that was notoriously slow to adopt technology tools but has embraced them in a big way in recent years. As in other industries, technology is creating change in how the real estate business operates, and those working in a range of roles are increasingly feeling its impact across all sectors.

Snowballing Development

Technological changes that are affecting how we work include:

  • Mobile internet, cloud technology

  • Processing power, Big Data

  • New energy supplies and technologies

  • Internet of Things

  • Sharing economy, crowdsourcing

  • Robotics, autonomous transport

  • Artificial intelligence

  • Advanced manufacturing, 3D printing

  • Advanced materials, biotechnology%

All of these areas combined are creating what some are calling the 4th Industrial Revolution. Advances in one fuel innovations in another, and the rate of change is accelerating.

Technology advances are providing us with tools to cope with our 21st century world. Smart systems—homes, factories, farms, grids or entire cities—will help tackle problems ranging from supply chain management to climate change. And this technological change is happening alongside social, geographic, and political events that have an impact on it.

Tech advances give us the tools to cope with our 21st century world.
Tweet: #Tech advances give us the tools to cope with our 21st century world. #StreetSchultz via @JonSchultz_Onyx

While new technologies offer many opportunities to improve our lives, the change they bring can pose challenges for business. A primary concern is our ability to operate in this shifting environment. The WEF report discusses the new skillsets that will likely be demanded in the coming years.

New Skills

Adjusting to our new tech-rich reality is causing a shift in most occupations. While some jobs may be threatened as employees are “replaced,” others grow rapidly. The majority of existing jobs are also going through a change in the skill sets required to do them.

As the report points out, it can be difficult to accurately predict just what those skills will be. By one popular estimate, 65% of children entering primary school today will end up working in job types that don’t even yet exist. The report clearly states that this shift in skill sets will occur in every industry:

“On average, by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today, according to our respondents.”

The area of highest disruption, according to the report, will likely be in Financial Services and Investment.

Here are some of the skills that will see increased demand across industries:

  • Complex problem-solving skills

  • Social Skills –Emotional intelligence, negotiation, teaching and training

  • Process Skills –Critical thinking, self-monitoring

  • Resource Management Skills –managing people, time, finances, and materials

  • Technical Skills- troubleshooting, equipment operation, programming

  • Cognitive Abilities –Creativity, logical reasoning, visualization

  • Content skills – Oral and written expression, reading comprehension

The study found two job categories that are expected to become critically important in nearly every industry and geographic area by 2020. These were Data Analysis, to help manage and interpret the massive amounts of data that are available, and Specialized Sales Representatives, who will be able to explain new and increasingly complex products and services to clients.

We all have a choice to make in this revolution —jump on board, or not. Understanding that our fear of change (for us and our companies that have existed so long doing things the same ole’ way) is only holding us back.

The industry is showing signs of cohesiveness in this message to want to adopt technology, and we’re all in it together. What are you waiting for?