Technology Trends in Real Estate

By Staff October 1, 2006

The National Assn. of Building Owners and Managers, in conjunction with RealComm, asked more than 7,000 BOMA members in June how new technologies and business solutions are affecting the way they manage and operate their commercial properties. The results are enlightening.

Broken down into two main categories of questions—solutions for company/business and for buildings—the Realcomm/BOMA Technology Survey findings regarding indispensable building technologies included the following:

As one might expect, 86% reported having Internet connectivity of T1 or higher, supporting the increased dependency on high-speed broadband over the last five to 10 years. One surprising statistic, however, was that 52% of respondents said their building does not have a web site. In other building technology, only 16% said they have interactive touch-screen directories, and a mere 4% have digital signage.

The implementation of technologies for buildings seemed to lag behind internal technologies for business, but 41% of respondents listed “don’t know what solutions are available,” and 26% listed “don’t understand the solutions that are available” as key challenges in implementing new technologies for their buildings.

But lack of knowledge and time constraints weren’t the only hurdles. In fact, 72% listed “funding constraints” as the biggest challenge in implementing new technologies. While technology is supposed to help decrease operating expenses and increase productivity, sometimes that initial investment is still getting bumped off the budget. Well-defined ROI models and successful case studies of technology improvements within the commercial real estate industry are needed to overcome the apparent financial obstacles.

An interesting revelation regarding budgeting and purchasing was that the chief information officer or chief technology officer was the second highest response in terms of who is responsible for making decisions on purchasing new technologies, at 20%.