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3 Ways Technology, Data And Digital Disruption Will Transform Real Estate

How will technology impact commercial real estate in the next 15 years or so? Bisnow talked with JLL head of EMEA corporate research Tom Carroll and commercial director at REM, which owns The Shard, Andrew Sell to find out what the future holds.



There has been a clear change in how people work, Tom tells us. Different types of occupiers require different things from workspace, so new ranges of office types are being developed—and that trend is likely to continue. A headquarters where a company can project its brand will never become obsolete, but smaller project spaces could be useful as companies seek flexibility. As the surprise election of Donald Trump in the USA showed us, nobody can predict the political landscape, and that uncertainty is driving a greater need to build agility and flexibility within real estate portfolios. Demand for super-dynamic spaces catering primarily to startups that are flexible, modular and built to suit fluctuating business cycles is only going to increase as freelancers and startups proliferate.

The Internet of Things 


JLL worked with Central Working to understand how that company used the IoT to manage its space. With so many people using wearables today, it is a perfect segue into using badges to help track employees through the building. The devices help the owner understand the flow of data, personalise work experiences, engineer meetings and adapt design to the way people really work, Tom tells us. By tracking employees, owners can see what parts of the space are underutilised, and where there is latent vacancy.  

The question of privacy must be handled sensitively, Tom says, and must benefit the user. He notes that many apps we use through the day already have location data. In the context of real estate, the user will benefit from increased personalisation and enrichment. Additionally, the user should have a choice, always, about whether or not to participate in the IoT.

Relatedly, connectivity is going to be become a key driver of location choices for businesses. By 2025, at least 80% of the world’s adults will own a smartphone. The rise in devices, integrated in the workplace, will come with the roll out of 5G speed networks that could run over WiFi. 

Super Luxury

The Shard, London

Tom tells us new types of “platinum prime” spaces will emerge. These will be scarce Grade-A buildings in top-tier locations, designed to suit the behemoths of the business world. One such building is The Shard. Real estate manager Andrew Sell tells us the first thing potential occupiers ask about is connectivity. (Quality of asset and location round out the top three drivers attracting new tenants.) He praises WiredScore for creating some clarity both for landlords and occupiers about connectivity.

Andrew tells us the back of The Shard’s marketing package has a copy of the building’s WiredScore Platinum certificate. “We’re very proud of it,” Andrew says.

The Shard itself is a powerful statement of branding, Andrew says. It is a recruitment tool for the companies officed there, and a building that works for the people who occupy it.