There is a big window of opportunity for Corporate Real Estate Managers who are able to grasp the potential of Smart Building technologies in 2019. However, it may be complicated to oversee the entire spectrum of change in the sector. When planning for 2019 and beyond, a primary Smart Building use case should be to utilize space more efficiently and deliver tangible business value with a solid ROI. Beyond high-level planning, there are quite a few trends and challenges that should be taken into consideration in any Smart Building initiative. Read below to discover the key factors that will have a direct impact in 2019.
1. Business opportunities supported by IoT Tech have ignited the vendor landscape
A wide array of new and evolving vendors in this space offer solutions such as building automation systems (BAses), connected lighting systems, building data and analytics platforms, and specialized point solutions addressing specific building management and infrastructure components. Not to forget, the incredibly vast landscape of sensor technology vendors. The pace at which sensor technologies are mushrooming is unrivaled. This highlights the importance of selecting a future proof solution, keeping in mind that there is not one technology to “rule” all use cases. A sound Smart Building strategy focuses on real business outcome, and uses the principles in this strategy to separate the (vendor) buzz from the noise. With best practices also lacking, the best way forward appears to be adopting a sensor agnostic one.
2. Adapt to a changing stakeholder landscape and mindset
One of many interesting changes Corporate Real Estate Managers are facing is their changing stakeholder landscape. In recent years, we have seen a fair amount of new roles being created within larger corporates. ‘Digital Workplace Strategists’ or ‘Customer Experience Managers’, are just two of the many new positions that demonstrate the sector’s attempts to understand and shape what is happening in their buildings. Using a Growth Hackers’ mindset might come in handy when debating with strategists about future offices #datalevelsallarguments.
3. Changing role of Corporate Real Estate Managers
The shift in mindset towards understanding customer needs is interesting. Emerging technologies require a skill- and knowledge set that Real Estate Managers traditionally didn’t need to develop and typically lack. With the abundance of technology options on the table, Real Estate Managers should consider their advisors thoroughly. Acquiring SaaS solutions might be new to some of them, and perhaps the same goes for working with occupancy data output. Corporate Real Estate teams are growing their teams with Data Analysts, tasked to adopt new data sets and turn these into actionable insights. These profiles are scarce though and CRE analysts need to be ramped up too. Hence, teaming up with smart building technology partners that understand the industry, and who can define what processes and data are useful for your business cases. This is essential to achieve quick success and ROI, as well as long term success.
4. Become Data-Driven – A shift in mindset
Using technology to materialize strategic smart building initiatives is a great first step to achieving real business value. Making sure this initiative truly becomes successful, will require working with new data sources. Interpreting these data sources correctly, applying them, and embedding them in advanced reports, will be vital in any Corporate Real Estate Managers’ attempt to create a successful Smart Building initiative.
5. Data privacy – Will GDPR become the global Standard for privacy
The past year, a lot has been written and said about data and the role of (big) tech companies. The introduction of GDPR in Europe means that virtually all data pertaining to individuals residing in the European Union will be protected by the GDPR. As a consequence, large corporations are now starting to see the GDPR as their international standard, as their European offices have to be compliant with the regulation. The key question ‘Are we compliant and taking care of employee privacy?’ is one that will be heard in Corporate Real Estate Managers’ offices frequently in 2019. This means any provider that cannot guarantee to be GDPR-ready and proactively works with its clients on this topic, will have a mountain to climb and may face the risk to become obsolete in due time.
Corporate Real Estate Managers should aim to use these trends in their advantage. They offer an opportunity to deliver significant returns on investments, when the right steps are taken, with precaution. The first step to a Smart Building strategy should always be to build strong business case, focusing on ROI and taking into consideration what resources are available within the companies’ existing building and technology landscape, in order to achieve long term success.