How real estate is raising its data game

CRE professionals are facing a data deluge that requires robust tech strategies

May 30, 2023

Corporate real estate professionals grappling with a raft of complex challenges are increasingly turning to technology for solutions.

But it’s new ground for many of them, who are having to quickly get to grips with proptech solutions that can help manage buildings, drive sustainability and improve workplace experiences.

One particular area of focus has become the dreaded “d” word: data.

On the one hand, real estate professionals are drowning in a sea of data sourced from operational, financial and supplier systems, building sensors, workplace apps and employee surveys. On the flip side, key data black holes often hamper decision making, with only 13% of companies having access to up-to-date business intelligence and real-time analytics.

“The future of corporate real estate relies on better data,” agrees Yao Morin, Chief Technology Officer, JLL. “Yet the sheer amount of broad data that needs to be analyzed is vast, unstructured, and international, requiring careful processing to turn it into a valuable resource.”

The volume of data is only set to increase. By 2025, JLL found 78% of companies plan to incorporate over 10 of 15 technologies identified as anchors for hybrid work transformation, adding to the reams of data being collected.

This means greater collaboration between stakeholders is required to successfully implement the right technologies and move the needle, explained JLL’s UK CEO, Stephanie Hyde, at the recent real estate innovation and sustainability conference, CREtech, in the UK. 

She added that bridging the transparency gap between landlord and occupier data is particularly key in helping understand the big picture.

But with everything from plans, contracts, leases, and regulations, often in different languages across global portfolios, that can be easier said than done.

The discussion at CREtech showed there has been a shift in buyer maturity with wider understanding that there is no silver bullet.

“Instead of jumping to invest in shiny solutions in the hope of a quick fix, it’s vital to properly evaluate root causes, understand desired outcomes and then invest time, effort and patience in proper integration,” says Alister Langdon, JLL’s UK Head of Integrated Sustainability Data.

No longer niche

The CREtech conference was still dominated by start-ups and technologists. But this year there was a marked increase in the number of traditional real estate attendees, eager to learn how technology can give them the data they need to transform the built environment, says Sam Lavers, Principal Growth and Alliances Partner, JLLT, who attended the event.

“It’s indicative of the increasing importance of proptech as an enabler in commercial real estate,” Lavers says.

Sustainability remains a key driver says Richard Hellinga, General Manager, Buildings, Turntide Technologies, producers of smart, next generation motors. “The growing pressure to reduce energy costs and provide transparent sustainability data means we’ve had significant increase in adoption over the past two years as companies look for compelling investment business cases.”

What’s more, the approach seems to have matured with an understanding that proptech is now intrinsic to real estate and should not be viewed as separate.

“This event felt like a progress marker in how the conversation has elevated to address the real need for collaboration across stakeholder groups looking to drive better outcomes,” says Langdon.

Integrated solutions

It’s not just landlords and tenants – or even teams within companies – who are working more closely together. 

The various proptech vendors are waking up to the fact that by partnering they can remove some of the barriers previously faced by potential customers looking to stitch together a rich tapestry of tech tools and data sources.

This was reflected by increased levels of collaboration and alliance between the ecosystem of proptech partners at CREtech, many of whom could be found sharing exhibition booths for the first time.

Hellinga explains that stakeholders looking for faster implementation and rapid results, are now open to sharing asset data, so that tech partners can work together to deploy transformative solutions more effectively.

“There is no ‘one technology to rule them all’, so interoperability is key to advancing the adoption of various technologies and platforms across the built environment for greater data transparency,” concludes Lavers.

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