Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Technology Trends at NAIOP

Although Building Engines is at its core a Commercial Real Estate technology firm, we have a strong focus on operations such as tenant service, risk management, and asset maintenance. We know our clients need partners who know their business and the challenges they face. Because of this, we believe it’s fundamental to our company to know about all aspects of the CRE market – especially what our clients are doing, what they’re thinking, and most importantly, how we might be able to help them.

To this end, we were excited to be able to attend the NAIOP Trend & Technology Marketing Conference in Boston last week. The two-part conference highlighted innovative marketing trends and technologies that have been recently adopted in commercial real estate. Attendees were able to learn from real-life examples how new ideas in marketing, branding, digital media, and technologies are driving decision-making, deals, leasing and revenue throughout the industry.

The value that can be garnered from conferences such as these always depend on the quality of those presenting coupled with the themes and discussion topics at hand. The CRE Marketing Technology Conference did not disappoint as we were treated to an excellent selection of presenting companies:

  • Samuels & Associates (BEI Client)
    • Tom Bloch, COO & Principal & Sabrina Sandberg, Dir. Of Marketing
  • JLL (BEI Client)
    • Linda Swain, SVP Marketing
  • Federal Realty Investment Trust (BEI Client)
    • Andrea Simpson, Director of Marketing & Media
  • The Bullfinch Companies
    • Tina Snyder, Director of Marketing
  • Bozzuto Management Company
    • Stephanie Williams, SVP of Planning & Advisory

Many common themes were consistently discussed and shared with the BEI team throughout the day from the various presenters. Listed below are the ones that best relate to what the BE Team is hoping to improve and expand upon here at Building Engines.

  • Creative use of video
    • Samuels – How they are re-inventing the Fenway by changing the conversation from “All about the Sox” to “All about the Neighborhood.”
    • Bozzuto – Putting the Go-Pro Camera on a dog to show what “Your Pet’s Life” will be like at a Bozzuto apartment.
    • Both companies notes that consumption of video is much higher than text
  • Storytelling is incredibly important
    • People relate better to stories than to facts
  • Visualization (related to video) is a big trend
    • Interactive stacking and floor plans turned into 3D to represent space
      • Testing things like Google Glass and Oculus Rift

In addition, we were thrilled to experience some CRE tech startups first-hand during the RE:Tech Demo Sessions and see the traction they’re getting in the market. They will help make companies like ours better.

The startups included:

  • CompStak, which gathers information that is hard to find, difficult to compile and otherwise unavailable data for owners, brokers, investors, asset managers and more
  • VTS, a cloud leasing and portfolio management platform that provides brokers and owners with real time access to everything happening in their portfolio
  • Pivotdesk, which helps startups and small businesses find affordable, short-term office space with a platform that allows companies to drive income from their excess office space
  • Kisi, which gets rid of keycards, fobs, and badges and replaces them with a cross-platform smartphone-enabled access system that is a smarter, sleeker access control for offices
  • CodeGreen, which is a sustainable building solutions firm that develops innovative solutions to help clients conserve capital, reach sustainability goals and reduce energy consumption
  • coUrbanize, which helps communities and developers build better cities with an interactive platform where developers can distribute project information and gather feedback online
  • Hightower, which uses intuitive cloud and mobile apps to streamline deal tracking, the inventory marketing process, and increase leasing velocity while providing real-time leasing analytics to drive better portfolio decisions and reduce leasing risk

We look forward to seeing how the CRE technology trends continue to impact industry marketing practices. It was definitely an inspiring event!