Internet of Things

Building Smart Tech into CRE

Your car pings your smartphone to let you know it’s due for an oil change. Your tablet recognizes that you just walked into LAX and tells you the wait at security is currently 25 minutes. An embedded chip on your shirt alerts you before you drop it into the washing machine that it is, in fact, dry clean only.

These hypothetical objects and their seamless connection to the endless expanse of cyberspace characterize the Internet of Things (IoT).

The list of potential applications for the Internet of Things is vast and almost indeterminable, but there is no question it will have a significant impact on many aspects of the commercial real estate industry. Buildings will no longer be static, but communicate with personal devices like smartphones or smartwatches. In Seoul, Korea, The Grand Ambassador Hotel has already made use of this technology by integrating Samsung’s Hospitality Management Solution into their guest rooms. Customers use the in-room smart TV to control the room temperature, close the drapes, communicate with housekeeping, and turn lights on and off. Cleaning staff are notified of guest requests via personal smartphones, and motion sensors cue the system to switch the room to energy-saving mode when guests depart.

Sung-Hyuk Son, the hotel’s marketing manager, asserts the ability to tailor each guest’s experience keeps them ahead of the competition and reduces their overhead: “We’ve seen an immediate impact. In a 6-month period, the hotel can save 30% on energy costs.” Indeed, a study by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that advanced sensors and controls in buildings have the potential to reduce that by 20 to 30 percent.

Marketing properties has also changed as people make use of new online tools like Zillow and Redfin to search for real estate. Next on the horizon are beacons, small Bluetooth-enabled devices that can be mounted anywhere and transmit data about the environment (a property’s features, listing price, square footage) to nearby mobile devices (say, potential investors or buyers). Buildings already equipped with smart technologies may also be more appealing.

IoT will also impact the way properties are managed, as buildings are able to measure how tenants utilize the building and translate that into better tenant experience, sustainability and building flow. Managers will be able to resolve issues more quickly and increase staff efficiency. Innovative security features like facial recognition, intrusion alerts, and real-time incident updates also provide a safer environment for tenants.

As technology and the Internet of Things continue their evolution, savvy CRE leaders must find ways to adopt these tools to stay competitive in the industry. Read more about the Internet of Things and the latest in CRE research in the NAIOP Research Foundation newsletter.

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