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Commercial real estate stakeholders are finding it more important than ever to upgrade their buildings’ infrastructure and embrace new technologies. However, it can be tough to distinguish between which tech trends are passing fads and those that are worth investing in. As tenant needs shift, making the right investments can greatly impact the long-term health and prosperity of a building and can help attract and retain tenants. 

One of the biggest trends to look out for in CRE tech is a growing focus on user experience. This will be the overarching theme for CRE tech trends in 2019 and beyond. As new generations enter the workforce, more tenants will demand a better user experience as new office technologies capable of simplifying their workdays emerge. Building owners need to listen to these desires and provide their tenants with technologies that improve their everyday experiences at the office. Here are just a few ways to do this.


As younger generations begin entering the workforce, building managers should prepare to meet their growing desire of flexible work hours and remote work, meaning many won’t even need designated desks. These younger employees will be searching for office technology that is as convenient as the tools they use in their personal life, such as smartphones and internet connected devices. In fact, more than half of these employees believe they will be working in a smart office in the next five years. Building managers need to begin finding ways to incorporate these needs into their buildings; for instance, upgrading to an access control system that allows them to easily come and go from the office as they please, without sacrificing security.


An increased focus on user experience will lead to another trend in 2019: personalization. Just as smart homes offer a more personalized, convenient experience, so will workspaces. Technology and SaaS applications will prove to increase efficiency, productivity and quality of life for the workforce at large. A combination of personalization and connected technologies will ensure everything an employee needs is readily and easily available—when they arrive at the office, the lights come on, the temperature adjusts to their liking and their morning coffee starts brewing. 


Mobile applications that easily connect everything from building access to service connectivity will enhance everyday experiences in the future. As new generations prepare to enter the workforce, it’s important to understand that many of them grew up relying on smartphones for daily tasks. Commercial real estate managers need to be prepared for this in 2019 and find ways to integrate technology into their buildings to increase productivity for the millennial; mobile-first workforce through access control, IoT office controls and even incorporating work phones into smartphones, as many will no longer have desk phones.


Administrators need to begin future-proofing their offices to make it easier for their workspaces to grow and minimize the risk of massive changes that will need to be made in the future. Building managers need to constantly be thinking about how they can improve their buildings in 2019 to prepare for the years ahead and continue to impress their tenants. One of the main, and easiest, ways to do this is through upgraded access control. By using a smartphone to enter a building, it can simplify the access to the building while still ensuring the highest security tenants require. Cloud-based, mobile access control easily grows with a business as it expands to new floors, and even new offices around the world without too much investment or time. Administrators need to recognize the lifetime value of these solutions that lead to cost savings and efficiencies that aren’t otherwise achievable. 

A growing misconception about the CRE industry is that it’s slow-growing. However, based on the increase in VC funding and tenants’ demands for modernization, it is clear that this industry is ripe for rapid innovation. In fact, 96 percent of PropTech investors plan to make the same or more PropTech investments over the next 12 months.

As the future of buildings becomes more reliant on ease of use technologies, including secure keyless entry, more tech players are entering the CRE space, enabling expansion and creating a hot space for startups, investors and more. As the CRE tech industry continues to expand and gain more investors, updated technology needs to be used to ensure user needs are met and to allow building managers to succeed in the industry even further into the future.


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