Commercial real estate (CRE) experts recently joined the BOMA webinar, “Unlocking Your Building’s Value: How Technology is Your Best Competitive Advantage.” The CRE leaders discussed how to ensure properties stand strong amid market competition and included innovative strategies to minimize risk and maximize building value.
The webinar speakers were:
- Jose Castellanos, Global Offering Manager, Premium Commercial Smart Buildings, Honeywell
- Jeff Thompson, Head of Global PM Technology, Product Management, Building Engines
- Sandy Jacolow, SVP, Chief Technology Officer, Empire State Realty Trust
In this blog we highlight the most important takeaways from the webinar, including how advanced technologies are improving building operations and increasing properties’ desirability and worth.
Top areas property teams most often overlook
When asked the top areas that are most often overlooked by property teams, the speakers had a lot to contribute. Jacolow started by naming three:
- Wifi in shared spaces;
- cybersecurity; and
- building access.
Thompson agreed and added how integrating building operations systems is most overlooked as well. He said, “The more integrated and streamlined it is, the more revenue people can drive from it.”
Castellanos answered the question from a different perspective. He approached it from a tenant satisfaction angle. He said property teams must “focus on the outcomes you want as a property owner, what your tenants want, and how you can work together.” In other words: “It’s about journey mapping.”
Castellanos also brought up the idea of long-term thinking. “Most of us are in reactionary mode,” he said. Instead, he suggested that property teams look to the next five to ten years. By thinking ahead and planning, property teams will leave fewer stones left unturned.
Why is tech so important for CRE owners and operators to adopt?
For property teams to stay ready and plan for improvement, they must lean into tech adoption. But it requires research, planning, and the right tech to ensure your buildings are getting everything they can out of a software solution.
“One thing companies need to do first is make sure they’re solving a problem,” said Jacolow. “You can’t just throw technology in just to have technology.”
Thompson agreed, tech adoption requires a lot of strategic thinking. However, he said, “Generative A.I. is going to end up everywhere.” Meaning, tech isn’t going to wait. Teams must jump on board before it’s too late.
Castellanos added similar remarks. He said, “A.I. is everywhere nowadays.” He gave an instance of a common situation many property teams are finding themselves in. He said, for example, a building engineer might have worked at a property for 20-30 years. When they eventually end up retiring, they take with them decades of knowledge. So, he said, “How do you minimize the impact of that? That’s through machines learning and A.I.”
Biggest mistake property owners are making with their tech stack
What’s the biggest mistake property owners are making with their tech stack? “Not getting all the stakeholders involved from the beginning,” Thompson said. (Stakeholders being engineers, I.T., tenant coordinators, etc.)
“If you include people early on in the process, they’re vested in the process and are willing to make it work,” he added.
Jacolow followed with the same sentiments. He said that when property teams start with new tech implementation, most have poor project management. “They’re not thinking about how to future-proof their system,” he said. “When your portfolio grows, you want your systems to grow with them.”
What can property owners and managers do right now to get value out of their buildings?
To be able to get the most out of buildings, property teams have a lot to consider. Don’t be fooled, it’s not an easy task. Luckily, the three experts gave a few tips to get property owners and managers on the right track.
Jacolow said CRE teams should focus on these five core goals:
- Ensure full access to all your data
- Establish a set of business requirements
- Define your return on investment (ROI)
- Create realistic project plans
- Find resources to support success
Thompson and Castellanos followed up with their thoughts on sustainability. They both believe it’s the future of CRE and one of the biggest value propositions for properties. Thompson said that sustainability is not going away, and teams should work on identifying how they’re going to track energy usage and indoor air quality (IAQ).
Castellanos agreed. He said that properties should get started on their sustainability journey today. In fact, he said that sustainable initiatives help to save money, are good for the environment, and internal and external stakeholders will want to see them. So, overall, sustainable practices are a win-win.
BOMA International webinar recap
This BOMA International webinar was filled with many helpful tips, tricks, and insights. The three experts shared a wide range of insights and answered many burning questions many CRE professionals are asking.
For more ways to identify the hidden value of your buildings or for additional information on how A.I. is shaping the future of CRE, we encourage you to download the report, “Property management trends & technologies for 2023.” In it you will find several key insights – backed by data – on how CRE property managers are tackling the challenges ahead.