Is Your Company Ready for Voice Assistants?

Is Your Company Ready for Voice Assistants?

Let me ask you a question. Do you use Siri? Or, Alexa? (So … do you think anyone will name their kid Alexa again?) Do you run around “Hey Google”-ing your way through some of life’s most basic questions? If the answer is “no” and you’re not already using voice assistants, I’m going to go ahead and make a bet — you will be soon.

The Unique Power of Tenant Harnessing

The CRE market is saturated with a complex network of financial and contractual arrangements between landlords and their tenants. Each arrangement being unique and different from the previous or future.  Whether the negotiations are handled via a CRE broker or through the owners and managers, a final arrangement must be made that appeals to both sides. How much easier would it be to have access to the tenant's needs and wants and truly harness that information into your design and renovation of tenant space? It's about serving your tenants in this new consumer world and not just the old way of worrying about how many parking spaces they need. Besides being organized, knowing what type of tenant you want, and networking with outside experts, a good CRE landlord should be treating tenants as customers. The landlord-tenant relationship is truly unique and unlike any other business relationship. It’s about finding and meeting your customer's needs. Communicating is key and when you lose sight of that, it can cause more problems in the long run.

So how do we keep the lines of communication open while servicing the needs of our tenants? Let's talk about a new and exciting concept that connects owners and tenants of a large commercial space with thousands of other surrounding professionals. By using an online platform to connect the two, the owner along with their tenants can post information or promotional "must know/must see" events to engage surrounding people.

People live half their lives at work and as building owners, we are not taking full advantage of their needs and wants. Owners should be offering an environment that serves the needs of their tenants by offering a communication platform for all things relevant both inside and around your office building. Thousands sit in their office and shop and order delivery everyday. How can you take advantage of this and make it easier for them?

The power of tenant harnessing is all about what you’re able to provide to your tenants that other people aren’t thinking about offering. It’s about giving them opportunities to get more, whether it’s inside the building or the surrounding area. That could mean discounts, promotions, delivery services, dry cleaning services, and so on. The opportunities are limitless. Think about creating the same consumer environment that you would see from shopping online or through apps, and bring this concept into the CRE landlord-tenant relationship.

For example, would these professionals benefit if you were to approach your local delicatessen and struck a deal where they receive 10% off their order just by being a tenant in your building? Sure they would! Not only are you offering a discount to them, but also promoting a local business happy to reach out to new consumers.

Now imagine these discounts, promotions or invites to special events as a part of their everyday and each person in your building, regardless of what company they work for can access these through a communication platform directly from their devices. In turn, they are also able to promote their events on the same platform, giving them access to the thousands of people within their building and the surrounding area. This concept was unheard of previously, but now it’s time.

Tenant harnessing has so much to do with communication, knowing what your tenants want and being able to provide a reason why they should choose you. It’s time to bring more to the tenant experience. It’s like you’re providing a concierge service to the people in your building and they’re going to love it! Would love to hear your thoughts on the topic; how do you leverage tenant harnessing? If you would like to discuss this further or gain insights as to how we offer these services at Onyx, email me at

How Will 3D Technologies Change the Real Estate Game?

Soon, commercial tenants looking for their next office or retail space will avoid treks from one part of the city to the other. They will take a 3-D tour of potential properties from a computer or tablet, without ever leaving the office. 3D tech is going to be a huge - and I mean HUGE - wave in the commercial real estate industry, as pricing for this sort of technology gets in line with what is reasonably affordable for today’s brokerages. This includes 3D everything...printing, modeling, building designs and floor plan designs. This means the ability to create a virtual floor plan on the fly with the use of the right tools and the push of a button. 3D technology is a game changer for many industries, but we are excited about it finally coming to real estate!

One of the companies to check out is Floored, an interactive solution to allow potential tenants or purchasers to tour a building before it has even been built! Take a virtual walk from your conference room to the reception area to the elevator...a fully interactive model! Kudos Floored for your amazing work! Absolutely brilliant!

Bringing Real Estate into the 21st Century

3D tech allows a company like ours to not have to deal with archaic drawings but to bring in a new era of proposals that are presented in a proper way by bringing life to the space, something a drawing cannot do. People are unable to truly see a space visually, they need help, something to bring it all together and bring it to reality. Virtual 3D tours create the experience by giving the viewer the chance to be in the property and experience the space. Compared to a black and white drawing, having the ability to place furniture, change colors, add plants, it’s endless and makes a difference!

These types of tools are supplying leasing companies and in-house leasing professionals with a ton of flexibility to create their own drawings, plans and space plan programs. By doing so, it’s giving clients a quick and efficient experience while bringing together all of the components right in front of them. When you can turn an empty space into a living and breathing office right before your client’s eyes - it’s helping them see themselves in the space. You’re helping them move forward. You’re closing deals.

The other company that’s making some waves globally is Create. It’s cool because Create can literally be used as your asset management screen by giving you eyes on and in real estate. So, you’re flying over buildings as if you were in a helicopter and getting a unique but real experience and view of neighborhoods, surrounding areas,  buildings, and even seeing inside them infrared!  This then can be brought down to the virtual spaces and clients are able to fully grasp what they are being offered.

The combination of companies like Floored and Create would be absolutely amazing, especially for those looking to relocate to a new area. You know what they say? A picture tells a thousand words….now it’s finally being used in real estate and we are excited about it! This is big...I mean a game changer big!

Real Estate Investments in Tech: The Game Changer

Investments in real estate technology have become a regular practice in business strategy and planning. If you’re not doing it, you need to. After the acquisition of Trulia for $3.5 billion and purchase of for $9.5 billion, it’s no wonder venture investors are eager to invest and get in on the ever growing market. According to RRE Venture, Steve Schlafman believes that tech and real estate drives a huge part of the economy. The use of spreadsheets and faxing contracts is a disastrous way of doing business. More and more, investments are being made into technology and the use of such really puts a leg up on your competitors. Financial services technology (“fintech”) has tripled in ventures since 2008. Driven by new digital technology, taking into account consumer behavior and regulations, FinTech is set to continue and grow. According to Accenture, global investment in FinTech companies has grown four times faster than traditional venture investing.

2015 marks a new era for FinTech as they reach for bigger and better strides in the finance sector. After making a leap to mark their place as a prominent leader in 2014, FinTech has built their services on the needs of the customer and their demands.  Transparency is open in companies such as Lending Club, offering straight forward pricing and methods with no hidden charges, making sure to stay clear of practices of those service providers that include the all too familiar additional paragraph of surcharges and fees written in the smallest print possible.  Companies such as the Lending Club are not based on short-term goals but rather by building their business plan to put the customer at the forefront in hopes to create greater client satisfaction.

For real estate brokers, home buyers rely on websites and search engines to find their next investment. Newspapers and open houses continue to fade as the era of technology rolls in. With nearly 90 percent of home buyers using the internet as their tool to search homes, it has become an indispensable tool. This includes the search for the agent to handle the transaction. It’s easy to miss a lead if the lead can’t even find you.

So the point I want to get across to you is that investing in real estate technology is necessary and in turn reaps plenty of rewards such as keeping you relevant, giving you the ability to respond to your clients quicker and more efficiently, bringing the office with you, and of course, saving time and saving money. More and more, emails, chats and texts are the primary ways to communicate, and this will only continue as the workforce demographics change into more tech savvy individuals determined to find the quicker and easier way to get the job done. Becoming more efficient allows you to have the ability to be more creative while enjoying your business relationship in a much more personal way - which not only makes business fun, but it makes it more profitable.

The change is here and it’s happening with or without you. Don’t fight it. Embrace it.

Enhancing the Tenant Experience With Real-Time Communication and Reporting


In a previous post, I discussed enhancing the workplace experience with technology, but what about the tenant experience? There were electronic monitoring systems in homes long before it was adopted in commercial buildings. But now, adoption has become prevalent in commercial facilities. The use of technology in facilities management has resulted in real-time system monitoring, communication and reporting. These performance tools allow building managers to report back to tenants on repairs and maintenance as well as to owners so they can gauge performance of an asset. No one is left in the dark, literally.

In the age of texting, Instagram and Twitter, the ability to contact people is huge so there are regular alerts sent to tenants regarding building updates. And, with the axiom “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” as a model, a dashboard gives up-to-the-minute status of systems throughout a property. Tenants can access that status platform day or night via 24/7 access. A tenant feels empowered to be part of the process instead of reacting to it, which provides a sense of control and thus, enhances the tenant experience.

This type of systems monitoring provides a benchmarking process so service standards can be put in place for facilities management. Property managers have such a variety of tools available that keeping in touch with tenants through regular reporting and alerts should be commonplace today. And, those happy tenants are long-term tenants.

A Tech-Enhanced Workplace Equals Happy Campers


Now that the industry is coming out of the dark ages and attempting to empower CRE pros with technology, how do we use it to our advantage? First off, don’t get the idea that it is a replacement for people because it isn’t. People are the most vital part of our industry’s dynamic. From an operational standpoint within our own companies, we need to promote growth and customer service which only comes from top-notch people. We all use technology to improve work processes. It creates efficiencies, sure; it enhances productivity, of course, but it doesn’t take the place of the heart and soul of an organization. And, it cannot replace human interaction like face to face meetings and positive connectivity.

Technology isn’t a substitute for my biggest focus … stay with me here because I can’t emphasize this enough … when you create the right culture, you get the ultimate organization. My number one job is to create a happy work environment. When you do that, people will go to the ends of the earth to create a great customer experience. This, in turn, will create a loyal customer who feels valued and appreciated. And, happy people create happy experiences for all around them, so in the end, your customers will be motivated to do business with a company radiating a positive vibe.

It’s all good. Technology has resulted in a better working environment: even though we are all working in different places, we stay connected and work as one happy, cohesive unit to service our valued clients.

You’re Either Getting on the Tech Train or Being Left in the Dust


The headlines of tech publications say it all: Embracing Change, REThink, Innovate, Transform | Smart Building Initiatives | Accounting Technology: Potential Profit Center | The Use of Drones in CRE | Common Data Standards for Smart Cities and Buildings | Using Technology to Automate Mission-Critical Debt Management | Crowdfunding Real Estate Deals: Technology Meets Transactions | Embrace Mobile to Set High Innovation Benchmark | Enterprise Cloud Backup and Recovery Solution.

Technology and real estate have finally introduced themselves to each other, although we have to admit real estate has been in the dark ages and opposed to any type of change that any industries have adopted.

As a result, there is a lot of money being pumped into this new tech model. For the first time in my career, the ability to use specialized applications through an open environment means that the transaction business focused on movement is actually moving! There are platforms across entire portfolios to allow tracking in real time and access to reporting dashboards. There is a shift in importance of data and data aggregation. Now we can mine and manage infrastructures. Videos provide almost first-person access to properties. Social media is being used to promote properties, 3-D modeling is being done on iPads and there are transaction apps in the cloud that allow you to transact an entire deal by only swiping, clicking and typing. I’ve never been able to see so much information at my fingertips. The ability to chat and collaborate real time is a game changer.

What is going on?!? Have we completely lost our frigging minds? Yes, and thank goodness for it. We can now communicate and measure performance to direct our businesses rather than just using our gut.