What will happen is that people will get used to 5G speed outside the office and be
frustrated when they can’t get it in the office. Barendrecht suggested that landlords
begin preparing for a future with 5G.
SOME PROGRESS TOWARD ACCEPTANCE
At PropTech NYC, there was general agreement that acceptance of technology by
the commercial real estate sector is finally being seen after years of resistance. Speaking on a panel that focused on property and asset management, Riggs Kubiak, CEO
and co-founder of Honest Buildings, pointed out that an estimated 5 to 10 times as
many dollars are being invested in real estate technology today than five years ago,
which reflects a willingness to accept technology. John Sarokhan, PGIM Real Estate’s global investment risk director, reinforced this, noting that there is a “fear of
being left out” and that the amount of capital being invested can be seen as a proxy
The result is lots of creative solutions. But as Rechler cautioned, it’s sometimes less
about what the proptech companies are doing and more about whether the companies
will be around. “You don’t want to introduce a product or service if the company goes
out of business,” he cautioned. That having been said, it was agreed that, for those who
ask about technology’s return on investment, it can be difficult if not impossible to measure. Ultimately, it’s about staying up to date or being left to die. Or, as Chris Marlin,
Phillips also spoke about a primary
role of real estate being “to partner with
the tenant to attract and retain talent.”
Noting that payroll is the number one expense for most companies, it often drives
corporate decisions, said Arie Barendrecht, CEO and founder of WiredScore.
Real estate speaks to the issue of where a
company’s people will work and how the
workplace can attract and keep talent.
As one of the speakers noted, “Free beer
may be fun,” but it takes a lot more to
keep talent, like a healthy and comfortable workplace and workspaces that both
foster collaboration and provide for quiet, head-down work.
Something else employees want: connectivity. The baseline experience is access without hassle. This means minimal
risk of outages and cellphones that function everywhere throughout a building so
that work can be extended into all of its
spaces. In older buildings especially, this
can be a challenge. Looking ahead, 5G
technology is being seen as the future of
connectivity. According to Barendrecht,
5G will be 100 times faster, but it probably won’t work well in office buildings.
PHOTO © ALEJANDRO ESCAMILLA