By Revathi Greenwood, Cushman & Wakefield Americas Head of Research
Contributors: Marcio DaCosta, Director of Emerging Technologies and Kathleen Cahill, Leader of Emerging Tech Partnerships
Adoption of Robotics Technologies
While interactive options are exciting, people’s trust level of robots, privacy concerns and natural unease at the sight of them wandering around remain challenges to adoption and implementation. The initial cost can impede widespread deployment, especially with a slower return on investment. Robotics companies are trying to solve for these challenges alongside furthering the capabilities of the actual technology.
In the current state, robots can be used to complement the skills of a human employee. The service-oriented role of the property manager requires cognitive and emotional intelligence, and robots do not have these abilities—at least not yet. However, they do create consistencies and efficiencies with security and automation of manual tasks that free up property teams to focus on more important value-add activities. These potential advantages are continuing to drive robotics, despite the current challenges.
A Proptech World
Along with robotics, other technologies are steadily gaining momentum at the property level.
Tenant Mobile Applications
A mobile app is a key solution for communicating with tenants. Concierge services, such as dry cleaning, work order requests or booking conference rooms can be done through a mobile app and facilitated by the property team. Office workers can now use apps to control temperature and lighting or to send locations and pictures of workplace issues enabling facility managers to deliver better service.
Drones can provide many benefits in terms of security, building inspections and space utilization. A building owner could use drones for a post-hurricane building inspection to detect water damage, cracks in the roof or other issues. They can also enhance a building’s security presence with their mobility and ability to analyze thousands of data points and identify anomalies in a space.
Mobility shifts are expected to disrupt commercial real estate both in the near and long term. Ride sharing is already impacting how people commute, and the rise of autonomous vehicles has the potential to truly transform commercial real estate. Some building owners and developers are already renovating or building parking garages in such a way that they can be converted to a different use in the future should autonomous vehicles render them obsolete.
Blockchain and Cybersecurity
Blockchain, often described in terms of its disruptive capabilities, is another technology that has potential use for building owners and managers. As property managers continue to collect more data, Blockchain is a secure network that may be able to help share information within a building. Despite this potential, entirely practical applications for the technology are still being explored.
Property professionals will need to keep their finger on the pulse of technology and how these new tools will impact their roles, the assets they manage and the greater need for cybersecurity. The most successful property managers today are those who wear many hats, from vendor and tenant services, to building and property maintenance and upkeep.
The most successful property managers of tomorrow will do all these things, but also have at their disposal the resources to make their days more efficient and productive. They will anticipate the technological needs and concerns of both current tenants and future ones. They’ll be able to speak to the latest and greatest in office security, building maintenance and more. Technology still needs a face. The human touch isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
The above article originally appeared on BOMA Magazine, March/April 2019 issue.