Last week the Building Engines team headed to New York City for the annual Real Estate Technology Conference (RETCON). RETCON 2023 brought together the world’s leading commercial real estate (CRE) owners, operators, and developers to facilitate technology adoption and innovation within the CRE industry.  

Building Engines’ Jeff Thompson, Head of Global PM Technology Product Management, spoke to conference attendees during his session, “The Evolving Workplace Requires a Modern Tech Stack.” In his discussion, Thompson touched on the current state of the commercial real estate industry, the importance of a solid tech stack, and much more. 

Here are the most important takeaways for you to know from Thompson’s RETCON 2023 session. 

The evolution of the CRE industry 

We are constantly seeing changes in the CRE industry and it’s not always easy to keep up. However, Thompson said there are two areas where properties will need to adapt, or they will be left behind:  

  1. Fostering spaces that support hybrid work models  
  2. Incorporating sustainability practices throughout all building operations 

As the world continues to move into the NOW normal after the pandemic, technology adoption in commercial real estate has become more important than ever. Technology adoption is the key to fostering the best spaces for hybrid work and to meet sustainability goals. 

“Sustainability is now table-stakes. It’s no longer just an option.” – Jeff Thompson, Building Engines 

Use tech to support a tenant-centric approach 

So, how can teams meet these new industry standards? Consider implementing technology to create a more tenant-centric approach at your buildings. 

“A successful office is going to be multi-use, heavily ‘amenitized,’ community focused, resilient, and tech enabled,”” Thompson said during his RETCON 2023 session. But what does this look like exactly? And where does technology adoption come into play?  

A mobile app is a good place to start. With a mobile app built specifically for tenants, property teams can build out an inclusive, sustainable, and successful building solely based off the data collected from the app. Technology adoption is now allowing for properties to connect with their tenants and deliver a unique experience for them. 

20 Stats Why Tenant Experience Tech is Top Priority for CRE Now

20 Stats Why Tenant Experience Tech is Top Priority for CRE Now

The workplace has changed forever. That means commercial landlords need to fill their spaces in new ways. Today, the focus has shifted to competing on the CRE tenant experience.

“The community that you are working with in your buildings, the people that come to your buildings and use them for their work, they’re taking the connection to your building home with them, they’re taking them to every store they go to, their commute,” Thompson said. “So, now your community engagement goes way beyond just your building. You’re able to engage with them no matter where they are. So, when you’re thinking about what amenities to provide your tenants or what might attract tenants to your buildings, what you’re really trying to do is attract them to the community that you are offering them.” 

“Some version of hybrid work is definitely here to stay.” – Jeff Thompson, Building Engines 

Technology can help CRE owners and operators learn more about tenants and what offerings they would like to see at your buildings. Technology adoption at properties means tenants and property teams can now openly communicate. At the same time, property teams can collect real-time data and insights from the app. It’s a top way for teams to lean into tech to help support a tenant-centric approach. 

Building out the best proptech stack 

It’s clear technology adoption in commercial real estate is the only way forward. However, the proptech landscape is cluttered. It can be difficult to know where to start or how to build out the best solution offerings for your building 

“If you want to gain information meaningfully, you must integrate all these different proptech solutions with your stack. Instead of doing one-off integrations that people used to do, you really must create more of a ‘Hub and Spoke’ strategy with your operations programs so your interchangeable peripheral systems can plug in,” Thompson said.  

“You need to use one app that is going to sit at the centerpiece for your tenants to be able to interact with you and with your building operations team and with your vendors that service the tenants in your building,” he added.  

Thompson also suggested when building the tech stack, property teams should avoid point-to-point integrations with no central, single truth around the portfolio. It’s important to create a tech stack that will centralize your building data and improve efficiency. Too many tech solutions can cause data confusion and require too many integrations. Look for a tech solution that, as Thompson said, will, “sit at the centerpiece.” 

The rising need for the chief technology officer in commercial real estate

The rising need for the chief technology officer in commercial real estate

With an explosion in tech solutions for the industry also comes a need for the chief technology officer in commercial real estate. You must first understand the problems to appreciate why a CTO is needed now more than ever before.

Technology adoption in commercial real estate 

During his RETCON 2023 session, Thompson hit home just how much the CRE industry is evolving and how it will continue to do so. Thompson encouraged the audience to think about their current tech efforts and reflect on how they can improve the way they utilize and build out technology solutions at their properties.  

The overall goal is to encourage property teams to follow an approach that supports using one, centralized software system. Using a software solution that centralizes your tech and property data will make it that much easier for property teams to boost efficiency. 

To learn more about technology adoption in commercial real estate, reach out to one of our experts today.