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Analysis: 4 reasons why CRE must embrace technology

The commercial real estate industry is one of the largest and longest-running industries in the U.S. That combination creates a lot of knowledge and experience, buy it can also foster some resistance to change, especially when it comes to embracing technology, ButterflyMX founder Cyrus Claffey recently wrote for Entrepreneur.

Claffey noted that the hesitancy to use tech in CRE is a mistake because it not only slows the industry’s growth potential but can also have a negative impact on property owners and tenants alike.

Here are four reasons he said the CRE industry needs to embrace technology sooner rather than later.

Younger generations are already using tech — and will eventually run CRE

A lot of millennials and people in Generation Z are now working in the real estate industry or developing or investing in property, according to Claffey. For many, technology is all they’ve ever known and have kept up with its advancement as time goes on. As they assume leadership and decision-making roles, it’s almost a guarantee that they’ll be using technology whenever they can.

“The question is whether they will be the first to benefit from real estate technology or if that process can gain steam now,” Claffey said.

Tenants want proptech

Reliable in-building wireless connectivity, along with location, has long been at the top of tenants’ wish lists when choosing a CRE property to lease. Quality amenities aren’t far behind — many of those amenities fall under the proptech category; think motion sensor lighting and smart thermostats and keyless building entry systems.

The more tech friendly a building is, the more attractive it will be to many prospective tenants. Appealing to tenants is critical now more than ever because there are fewer lease opportunities as more businesses allow their employees to work remotely.

Tech helps expedite real estate processes

Technology has all but eliminated the need to do anything manually. CRE owners can enlist proptech to collect and analyze data to help them make informed business decisions about their property. For example, sensors can detect how many people are occupying a certain part of the building at a given time, allowing CRE owners to adjust things like lighting and temperature accordingly. Or when a visitor checks into a building, their information can be collected and saved. Then, they can get a visitor’s pass right away the next time they are there without having to go through the whole process again.

Additionally, customer relationship management software can help real estate firms organize large amounts of data in a fraction of the time it would take a staff do it manually. Investors can use tech to research a property’s history before deciding to buy in hours rather than weeks.

Tech keeps getting easier to use

Considering how helpful technology can be for real estate in terms of saving property owners and companies time, money and energy, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would be hesitant to embrace it. Cost might be a factor, but once a CRE owner sees the return on investment tech can provide, fear of a learning curve feels like the only reasonable explanation.

Fortunately, a lot of proptech doesn’t require much more training than it takes to use a smartphone, according to Claffey. Most tech is self-explanatory to use or comes with online guides or training courses. Additionally, wireless technologies have made proptech easy to install.

“While these are a few solid reasons why the real estate industry will benefit from being more open to technology, there are many more arguments to be made in favor of technological implementation,” Claffey said. “The fact is new technology is a sign of progress and growth. Without it, we’re stuck in the past.”

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