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The CRE Sector Needs A Digital Transformation: Don't Get Left Behind


The commercial real estate digital revolution is here, but there are still too many businesses in the sector resisting it. This is the message from remote access control provider Brivo’s channel and digital marketing executive, Kerstin Demko. Those who don’t create their technological road map now will soon be left behind.

“The CRE sector always has one foot in the future while one foot remains in the present,” she said. “People think everything will be fine if they stay where they are. But the businesses of the future are leaning into change. They embrace technology now because they know it will pay off in the future, even though there is immediate economic turmoil.”

Demko said that many other industries already have technology at their core. Marketing and finance, for example, operate using digital tools that automate processes and provide simple user systems. While the technology exists for CRE to do the same, few are implementing the tools they need to remain competitive.

Embracing technology can be daunting. There is smart building technology, integrated building management systems, tenant management apps — the list goes on. For a property owner not yet fully immersed in technology, planning for digital transformation can seem like a mammoth task.

“Facilities managers and property owners need to consider everything, from the Internet of Things to remote access control to how the HVAC is managed,” Demko said. “But importantly, they don’t need to embrace everything all at once. What you need is a strategy.”

To help property managers and owners understand what they need to do to pursue their digital transformation, Brivo has created an explainer on cloud-based technology: Enterprise Solution Guide. The guide details how using a cloud platform brings systems together to create an integrated platform.

“Our Enterprise Solution Guide gives a step-by-step strategy to creating a digital building,” Demko said. “You don’t have to have everything right now, but if you have a plan for adoption, this will set you up for future success. You can adapt that plan as the economy changes.”

Following a detailed plan for digital transformation is particularly important for owners with multiple properties, Demko said. Working with vendors at scale provides the ability to save on costs, as well as map out potential costs for any future property.

“Facilities managers and property owners thinking about technology portfolio-wide will be ahead of the game,” she said. “If you work with one vendor across buildings, such as Brivo, you can understand what you need to budget for in terms of capex and opex.”

As a property owner or manager moves through the digital transformation, one thing to consider is how different solutions will integrate, Demko said. It is too easy to create a disjointed technology system by selecting providers that can't work together.

“Technology decisions can have long-term implications for who is in the integration pool,” she said. “There’s no one vendor for all technology solutions, but integrations that mean certain tools work in harmony. It helps to have a plan and to build relationships with providers you want to work with.”

Brivo’s related guide, Digital Transformation in Physical Security, provides information on how cloud technology has enabled many systems to work together effectively. If data is stored in one place, it can be leveraged to provide insights into other areas of a business. For example, a remote access control system can ascertain when a door is propped open, which can integrate with insights about its effect on energy use.

Overall, pursuing a digital transformation is all about embracing the most suitable tools in a planned, coherent way, Demko said. This is the way to be ready for change when it comes.

“One day, no one will have a brass key to open their door,” she said. “We’re not there now, but we’ll get there one day. Now is the time to plan that change and think about what it means for the rest of your building.”

This article was produced in collaboration between Brivo and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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