Using Technology to Future-Proof Your Asset

It may seem like technology is moving faster than ever with all kinds of advancements right around the corner, but right now is the slowest rate of technological acceleration that we’ll ever see. If you look at a few different measurements of advancement, you’ll see that tech is increasing exponentially.

The first step of future proofing real estate assets is becoming aware of this fact. The second is being humble enough to realize that, despite how slow moving and resistant to change that it has been traditionally, the real estate industry is not immune to technological change. The final step towards future-proofing your assets is taking action and preparing for the changes to come, so here is a brief synopsis of a few fast-moving technologies that are sure to impact the real estate industry:

Autonomous vehicles: This is at the top of the list for a reason and could be a blog post by itself. Self-driving cars are cruising around city streets as we speak and it will only be a matter of time until they outnumber human drivers. This will have far-reaching implications across all asset classes. Autonomous delivery will solve the last-mile problem in grocery delivery presenting yet another challenge for the retail sector as anchor grocers shift tactics. Due to this shift towards deliveries, warehouse space will be in even higher demand and will need to be designed to support the use of autonomous trucks. Apartment developers will be able to truly maximize sites by eliminating parking in dense urban environments while autonomous vehicles park overnight in outlying areas. Office developers will need to plan for the shift from large parking lots to drop off and pick up areas. Land in suburban areas will see a rise in value as long commutes become productivity or entertainment time instead of a major source of frustration. Don’t build a parking garage in 2019 without a reuse plan for it!

5G Internet: A major increase in mobile internet speed will enable and enhance a range of technologies from medical devices to augmented reality. Landlords across all sectors will need to work with telecommunications providers to make 5G service accessible to tenants. The new 5G network will rely on a large number of small transmitters instead of few giant cell towers and they will need to be strategically positioned to serve the most people.

3D Printing: This technology is being applied in a number of fields but perhaps the biggest impact it could have on real estate is the way 3D printing could change the construction industry. Recent demonstrations have proven that 3D printed housing is quicker, cheaper, and utilizes less labor. Shoes, auto parts and a variety of other products are already being 3D printed, which could change logistics and manufacturing. Perhaps Auto-zone will no longer exist in the future as mechanics start printing their own parts?

Robotics/Automation: The industrial sector will be the first to see the major effects of a more automized world. Manufacturing processes will require more electricity and less human labor. Automated warehouse facilities are driving a trend of taller clear heights and the first sightings of multi-story industrial buildings with ramped and stacked truck courts are starting to emerge.

The Internet of Things (IOT): You may already have a small network of devices in your home that is constantly connected to wifi or cell networks like smart speakers, TV’s, security cameras or even refrigerators, but this phenomenon is starting to creep into office buildings with more serious implications than watching Netflix and playing music. A new office building in Germany employed 28,000 sensors that translated into an energy savings of 85%.

These are just a few of the many developing technologies that will force the real estate industry to adapt in the years to come.

The advisors at Phoenix Commercial stay on top of trends like these to help guide clients in a time of exponentially increasing technological advancement and increasing uncertainty. Give us a call today to see how you can best future-proof your asset.

Mike Wilen is Senior Advisor at Phoenix Commercial Properties, an industry-leading commercial real estate company in Raleigh North Carolina, representing landlords, tenants, buyers and sellers in commercial transactions.