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The Age of Acceleration: Navigating Global CRE Technology & Innovation

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Every year, we evaluate the state of our industry and its future direction as we decide on the Realcomm | IBcon conference theme. We review the last 12 months and do a bit of prognosticating as to what path the year ahead might take for Commercial & Corporate Real Estate, Technology, Automation and Innovation. This has been our tradition for the last 20 years and looking back, these assessments were pretty good representations of the time at hand.

In 2001 during the dot.com era, we called for a New Digital Economy, only to be Looking Beyond dot.com in 2002 as the bubble had burst. In 2005 we prepared for Commercial Real Estate @ the Speed of Light and after the financial crash of 2008 when budgets were tight, Show Me the ROI was the sentiment of the day. By 2011, relevant growth meant moving Beyond ROI with more of a focus on innovation as the theme. This trajectory was also very much in sync with the massive financial investment in CRE Tech, which began after the crash. The years 2012 through 2015 continued to promote accelerated adoption of technology in our industry. And 2016 was a major year as it introduced us to yet another new generation of general technology that included AI, Blockchain, Augmented Reality, Autonomous Vehicles and more.

This brings us to 2018, our 20th year focused on the intersection of Commercial and Corporate Real Estate, Technology, Automation and Innovation. It has been an incredible journey, one that included many ups and downs, travels, conversations, debates and ideas from around the world, as well as a slow but steady rise in the adoption of new innovative ideas powered by technology. These powerful trends are not only changing business processes, they are fundamentally changing how we use real estate.

During these 20 years we have seen an incredible organization of market data; an increased sophistication in enterprise solutions; the ability to fly around the world and see a building; powerful computers in the hands of everyone; a standard, easy to access global network; smart connected buildings; and now, a new set of technologies that are truly industry-changing.

As we contemplated our theme for 2018, one word kept coming to mind… speed. While the technological change in the last few years has been fast, what we see ahead is a pace never before experienced. Technologies that have been around for many years in the labs are now making their way to the street and are positioned to create fundamental changes: (1) AI will predict market changes but may also eliminate a number of jobs; (2) autonomous vehicles will be on the road in the next three to five years but are also in a position to impact the workforce; (3) virtual reality tours of space will provide lifelike real experiences; (4) the IoT and a world of sensors will gather data in unprecedented ways; (5) smart assistants will be everywhere; and (6) the theme of 'smaller and smarter' spaces will challenge the traditional commercial and corporate real estate model.

So, this year's theme, The Age of Acceleration: Navigating Global CRE Technology & Innovation, will focus on what it will take to keep up, understand all the new technology, change organizations, rethink strategies, predict the future, take bigger risks and work at a speed never experienced in modern history. Again, these are not just tactical, incremental changes to operating models, but may result in wholesale changes to the purpose of real estate and how we operate it. We are already seeing this in the retail sector, which is influencing the industrial segment as well. We are also in the early stages of the 'Space as a Service' model, which is poised to continually challenge the commercial and corporate real estate assumptions of yesterday.

We are at a point now where everyone in a real estate organization should be thinking about how technology, automation and innovation is changing our industry. From the receptionist to the CEO, everyone should be aware that the current operating models are in play. We believe that to survive and thrive in this age of acceleration, we need to discuss, debate, collaborate, test, fail and be truly open to transformative change.

We invite you to watch our theme video for 2018 and join us on June 5-7 at the Cosmopolitan Hotel of Las Vegas as we explore The Age of Acceleration and together collaborate on how we can Navigate the Global CRE Technology and Innovation landscape.

Jim Young, Co-Founder & CEO, Realcomm
Founder of Realcomm Conference Group, an education organization that produces Realcomm, IBcon and CoRE Tech, the world's leading conferences on technology, automated business solutions, intelligent buildings and energy efficiency for the commercial and corporate real estate industry. As CEO, Jim interacts with the largest companies globally pertaining to some of the most advanced and progressive next generation real estate projects under development.

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