Digital Real Estate: How the latest real estate technology will shape the future

Is your business ready for a digital future? From big data and the Internet of Things, through to the Cloud and mobile apps, what are the technology trends in the real estate sector that are making waves right now? In this post, we take a look at some of the most useful developments in recent years, helping real estate and facilities managers to improve efficiency and achieve higher levels of productivity across the portfolio.

The Cloud

Companies are increasingly turning to agile working practices to boost productivity and the Cloud is transforming the way businesses enable staff to work anywhere, anytime. This includes an office at a desk with their team, working collaboratively in a breakout area, connecting from a library, a café or at home.

For teams to work remotely, it is crucial to get the right technology in place. Virtual meeting technology, conference calling and document sharing via the Cloud are just a few examples of how leading businesses are making agile working more effective.

For corporate real estate (CRE) and facilities managers, adoption of modern cloud-delivered real estate software solutions can offer lower operating costs, improved service levels and more collaborative decision making.

In the post-recession, networked, collaborative and social media-centric world that we now all transact in, Software as a Service (SaaS) is more essential than before. Progressive software enables real estate, facilities and space management teams to capture the efficiencies that modern technology delivers such as collaboration, business intelligence, ease of use and seamless integration.

The ability to operate via the Cloud, with the flexibility of a subscription-based browser, saves money and delivers operational efficiencies.

Big Data

Big data is a term we are all familiar with these days, but the beneficial impact it will have on real estate and facilities management is only just coming to light. Looking ahead, the implications are substantial and cannot be ignored by anyone involved in real estate technology.

For example, if data indicates that there are fewer numbers of people in a particular office on a given day, real estate managers could shut down an area to save energy.

As reported by JLL Real Views in What big data means for real estate:

“Although real estate is a top-three expense for most companies, many businesses cannot broadly answer basic questions about the space they occupy, or questions such as: “what percentage of our employees work remotely?” or “which of our facilities can we exit within a year?” and “how much money are we spending on office space for each employee?” If it takes more than a few clicks for a company to obtain these answers, it’s time for them to look at the data they receive from the team.

“The good news is that today’s data analytics tools enable companies (for the first time ever) to quantify the impact that real estate has on overall productivity. Among other things, data analytics can be used to reduce building operating costs or improve energy efficiency.”

With the latest real estate technology and software, CFE and FM teams finally have the ability to measure and interpret the data with easy-to-understand dashboards and reporting tools.

The Internet of Things

Currently, the majority of offices are fitted out with inflexible systems that the average office worker has little control over. But what if we could hand control to the occupant? Could we enable them to be more comfortable and productive, by providing a much more intelligent workspace at a lower cost while reducing energy consumption?

The Internet of Things (IoT) makes this possible. Gartner forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30% from 2015. This will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. In 2016, 5.5 million new things will get connected every day.

The improved analysis of connected devices allows buildings to perform more efficiently, space usage be more accurately monitored and cost savings to be achieved. IoT solutions are making buildings easy to use and intuitive for occupiers with integrated room booking and space management systems in place. Giving users a degree of control over building services such as lighting and air conditioning helps as well.

For example, workers can be given data on what parking spots are available, what desks are free to use and which meeting rooms can be booked. If a meeting room detects a significant rise in occupancy, it can switch on the air conditioning to achieve ideal conditions.

The All about the Desk research project from building engineer Arup is exploring how technology and occupant interaction within buildings could be radically changed by drivers from mobile technology, pervasive networks, sensors, low voltage direct current and rapid manufacturing.

Mobile apps

It is now commonplace to use mobile apps on our smartphones for everything from checking the weather and the latest news headlines, to browsing social media shopping. Increasingly, apps are finding their way into the work world, offering cutting edge real estate, facilities and space management solutions. As an illustration, apps are available that allow the front-facing camera on staff smartphones to be used to communicate with sensors located in ceilings to give location data to the FM team.

Some of the most useful innovations in this area facilitate and improve planned preventative maintenance (PPM); dedicated apps on mobiles phones allow speedier allocations of scheduled works and reporting to engineers in the field.

Future-proofing CRE and FM

Big data, technology and digital processes are transforming our workplaces at an unprecedented rate. For many corporate real estate and facilities management teams, this will require a significant mind shift.

But it also represents a huge opportunity: with the latest real estate technology coming online, streamlined management of moving assets and improved use of space is transforming the workplace and the way we work.


  • Workplaces are undergoing massive change as technologies such as the Internet of Things, Software as a Service, the Cloud and mobile apps become more widespread
  • Leading businesses are already taking advantage of technology to achieve a competitive advantage
  • Big data will help teams to use space efficiently and identify where improvements can be made
  • The latest technology will provide managers with the ability to measure and interpret data with easy-to-understand dashboards and reporting tools
  • The latest software is enabling real estate managers to capture the efficiencies that modern technology delivers: this includes collaboration, business intelligence, ease of use and seamless integration

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