There has been so much talk about how the CRE sector will be significantly impacted by technology. For me, I have spent the past five years in the field and have also been fortunate enough to be able to track much of the tech startup scene in real estate with my own site. Having a front row seat on this growing sector, it has been very interesting to see that many of the early predictions turned out to be either premature, widely inaccurate or just flat out wrong.
The talk of “brokers being displaced”… not gonna happen!
The talk of “massive disruption in the way the business operates”… not happening!
“Billions upon billions of startup capital coming into the sector”… not quite there yet!
And I could go on and on about other predictions that just haven’t materialized yet. And that makes sense. The CRE tech sector is still so young and in its infancy that it’s going to take time and patience to really see it achieve meaningful impact on the real estate landscape.
However, I think there is one area that gets overlooked that has had a big impact already. And personally, I think it’s the most profound and most obvious area.
It’s this… information, access and data are all now happening in REAL TIME!
Some would say it’s not really new. Some might say it’s not really a big deal. I say they are wrong.
It is a big deal, and it’s profound.
And if you look at the most successful startups, they all have this in common. They aren’t coming up with tools that have never been seen before or fundamentally changing the way business is getting done. They are all actually ENHANCING the way business is getting done by making information more widely available and accessible and in REAL TIME!
Think about what research and information was like just a few years ago when brokers, data companies and research sites produced data that consisted of looking backwards or forwards. But rarely was it in REAL TIME.
I remember the few times in my life when I was a tenant working with brokers and they would inevitably print out reports on market stats and pricing trends in order to help me make decisions. And then when there was a space showing, I would get printed reports on the space we were seeing and others like it. The process worked fine for me back then. The brokers I worked with educated me well and we collectively made the right decisions for my businesses. Today, I almost wish I was a tenant again. 🙂
I would be so much more informed. Data in real time!? Space options modeled in 3D and floorplans right on my phone sent via my broker. Amazing change in just a few years! I also remember back in my days as a PR professional representing real estate companies. I remember how at the end of every quarter there was a mad dash to see who could get their market stats out to the media and the market before anyone. And it would usually take them weeks to compile all of the data. Weeks!
And it’s not just data. Think about marketing. Now you can market your space or company in real time as well. It’s not about how much you spend but how fast you can get it to the market and how effectively you target your message and audience. And many sites let you do that.
Having everything in real time also has another big impact. It levels the playing field. The competitive landscape is now flat. Everyone has access to the same information and tools. Sure, you have to pay for some data but it’s nothing like the cost of Bloomberg Terminal, thank goodness.
So how does having all of these tools available at our fingertips impact both the tenant and the real estate professional? It makes data a commodity. It puts a premium spin on strategy and execution.
Professionals will be differentiated based on their insights and not access. Tweet This
Insights, not access… That’s a huge change.
For as long as I can remember, it was always about ACCESS. Those with the most money or connections or deep relationships had the competitive edge. This will no longer always be true with data and information now becoming a commodity.
And so, from my vantage point, there has definitely been a profound impact that technology has had on the CRE tech sector… and it’s happening right now in REAL TIME!