Millennia Group just wrapped up being a sponsor and participant in the 19th annual Realcomm IBCON tradeshow in San Diego. This is a show dedicated to the understanding and use of technology in the commercial real estate industry. As one might expect for a technology show, there were some familiar topics including robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, virtual reality and renewable energy.
The current news touches on these topics, but from a different angle; the death of the retail industry, the reshaping of office workers and their environments and Amazon warehouses – they’re popping up everywhere. After 19 years of participating in this industry trade show, it is still very clear, there is a long term focus in this industry, well beyond how these external forces will impact the next quarter.
Based on the content of the breakout sessions at the show, it appears that approximately half was dedicated to how technology could make the use or management of real estate more efficient. The other half was dedicated to how technology could impact the business today and in the future.
Vendors are promoting and owners/occupants are evaluating options for reducing energy consumption, improving customer engagement, eliminating friction to onboard new tenants and streamlining the valuation of properties and getting those things done now. Both vendors and owners/occupants are simultaneously factoring in the potential impact from disruptive technologies and how to deal with that for tomorrow.
There were robots wondering the show floor – will that mean office or industrial jobs will be eliminated and will that mean no more need for lunch rooms or restrooms? People were testing virtual reality – will that mean no more trips to the store to touch and feel a product? There were sessions on how blockchain will impact transactions and discussions of Teslas dropping off people and product – where will that lead?
Every industry is dealing with the impact of these issues. It is good to see that the commercial real estate industry is looking technology in the eye to see how it can benefit. How can cloud based workflow make my operation more efficient? How can technology help me track and lower energy consumption? How will people and businesses need and use real estate in the future? That is not an evaluation for the next quarter, that’s a long term, full time effort and that is a professional approach.