Technology disruption is a common theme that comes up when we talk about the labor market and the future for businesses across the world. To the average person, words like technology disruption and automation elicit images of factories and warehouses being staffed with robots instead of manpower. The truth, however, is that new technology will disrupt the way that every industry does business, not just those that depend on manual labor.

For CRE, tech adoption has been a slow and steady process. It’s an industry that thrives on networking and building connections, so technology hasn’t always been at the forefront of everyone’s mind – especially the professionals from the Baby Boomer era. With that said, technology has already been successful at changing the way we work in CRE. Cloud devices allow us 24/7 access to all of our important documents and real estate information, all from the convenience of a smartphone or tablet, while customer relationship management (CRM) and operations platforms help us stay more organized and up-to-date with market and building data.

With all this data finally (THANK GOD) being able to be collected and surfaced, we will now really be able to create real-time answers to our questions. You will just be able to google it on all your integrated systems. Now, all that free time that we spent looking for information and wasting out time will now be spent on much more profitable pursuits -- like leasing space faster hopefully.

Tech Disruption in an Industry Built on People

By now, you have probably already noticed that there is a smart version of nearly everything out there. Connected to the internet and powered by the cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) devices have emerged in the form of smart appliances, in-home assistants like Alexa, and even smart buildings. And this technological revolution is quickly infiltrating all areas of society, including CRE.

The current buzzword that’s being thrown around in board meetings is data-driven. Companies want an approach that looks at the numbers and comes up with the most efficient and effective solution, and nowhere is that more important than CRE where building, financial and market data are the main factors determining how we make professional decisions. For this reason, IoT devices are becoming increasingly popular in real estate as a whole.

Through the IoT, people are connected to an endless stream of data at all times. For professionals in CRE, this means that all the silos we created for operating and acquiring buildings will now be connected and will make it much easier for professionals to cut costs and increase their revenue.

Hopping aboard the IoT Movement

While all of this talk about the IoT may sound futuristic, the truth is that most people working in CRE have already embraced the tech revolution in some form or another. Mobile devices and cloud storage are all part of the greater IoT, and this technology has proven to be invaluable for adjusters, brokers, and investors alike.

With that said, it is also important to remember that technology is constantly changing. If you’re not on top of how things are being implemented in the professional world, you will be left behind. Fortunately, surviving the tech disruption isn’t as difficult as it seems. You just need to be open to change and willing to learn new ways of doing old tricks, especially when those tricks involve technology.