The Top 10 CRE Tech Stories Of 2017
Once deemed slow in its tech adoption, the commercial real estate industry has become quite technologically sophisticated, with investors and venture capitalists pouring billions into the next wave of property technology.
Here are some of the most noteworthy CRE tech stories of the year.
CoStar and Xceligent duked it out in the courts and public opinion in 2017. Bisnow broke several stories detailing the battle for dominance between the two data providers, including recent news that Xceligent shut down operations and filed for Chapter 7 liquidation. CoStar is now going after Xceligent owner DMGT, and CoStar CEO Andy Florance had much to say about the company's suit against Xceligent and its place in the industry.
Artificial Intelligence Transforming CRE
Artificial intelligence technology is improving efficiency, security and the overall customer experience in the commercial real estate industry. From platforms that enhance and personalize building security like BioConnect, to solutions like 1aim that track, monitor and analyze how businesses use their real estate, AI will continue to transform the industry.
Amazon's Patented Drone Beehive Warehouses
Amazon filed for a patent to build multi-level beehive-shaped towers for drone distribution and fulfillment. The towers would support the distribution of products in densely populated cities by unmanned aerial vehicles, and would be filled with robots to restock the drones before they fly to deliveries.
Security Robots Like Steve
First it was Knightscope security robot Steve, which became a viral sensation in July after veering off its predetermined path and plunging into the fountain in the center of Washington Harbour in D.C. Many deemed it a suicide. Then a Knightscope security robot in San Francisco was canned earlier this month. It was hired to help decrease car break-ins and crime in the area surrounding a homeless shelter, but instead left the homeless population in the area feeling victimized. Though humorous, these stories speak to a growing trend in the industry to use robots to fulfill roles traditionally filled by humans.
Compass' $450M Investment
Commercial and residential tech brokerage Compass received a $450M investment from Japanese telecom giant Softbank, the company that dropped more than $4B in WeWork to help the co-working giant expand into Asian markets.
Alexa For Businesses
Amazon recently announced plans to roll out an "Alexa for Business" platform designed specifically for office use. The voice-activated virtual office assistant will provide services such as assisting with teleconference connections, adding data to sales programs or booking conference rooms. WeWork is partnering with Alexa for Business to beta test the platform at its Chelsea, New York, headquarters.
Smart Tech Improves Office Efficiency, Employee Comfort
The global market for smart building technology is expected to grow to almost $24.7B by 2021. With the growing use of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, biometrics tech and sensors, experts project the future of office real estate lies in facial recognition, easy workspace wayfinding and lights and temperature that adjust according to employees' moods or alertness.
Ten-X's $1B Acquisition
Online marketplace Ten-X announced the sale of a majority stake to private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners for $1B. The deal signaled a shift in the type of real estate tech companies that are getting strong investment activity. Formerly known as Auction.com, Ten-X allows users to buy and sell commercial and residential properties online. The Irvine, California-based company also recently partnered with tech-enabled lender Money360 to pre-arrange loans for qualifying properties for sale through its platform.
Using Tech To Track Customer Data
Mall owners are increasingly dialed in to customer shopping preferences and habits, using technology and data analytics to track how customers shop and why. By using beacons or geofencing tech, which uses GPS signals to track when mobile devices enter and exit a certain area, landlords can study how and when consumers enter stores and adjust their centers accordingly.
Major Consolidation Ahead For PropTech
Commercial real estate tech experts told Bisnow that merger and acquisition activity within the CRE tech landscape is just barely scratching the surface. Everything from private equity firms to traditional brokerage services firms are seeing value in the sector and shelling out cash to enhance their operations or become part-owner of the next unicorn. This listicle provides several examples.