November 13, 2017 | Bart Waldeck

Disruption - CoreNet Global Summit Recap

CoreNet was different this year. You could literally see the conflicting emotions in everyone’s eyes. Fear on one side and opportunity on the other.

 

Fear of not understanding, fear of being left behind, fear of the unknown.

 

I think John F. Kennedy summed it up well when he said, “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger--but recognize the opportunity.”

 

Transformation, disruption, untapped potential, a new way of doing things.

 

That’s not to suggest that corporate real estate is in a crisis per se. But things are going to change, and quicker than most think.

 

Based on the title and content of this year’s Global Summit, CoreNet gets it. It was branded - Blurring The Lines | Transcending Boundaries – and the main theme of the conference agenda was unmistakable. Below is a list of nine different sessions relating to disruptive technologies, and this was only day 1!

  • Will Robots or Millennials Rule the Future of the Workplace?
  • AI & Machines: A Curse or Blessing for Corporate Real Estate?
  • IoT, Big Data & Analytics: Opportunities and Challenges
  • Exploring the Possibilities of Blockchain.
  • Unlock Digital Transformation through Mobile-First Experiences
  • Technology of the Future, Now: AI on Your Devices
  • Data Meets Neuroscience: Key Tools to Design Future Workplaces
  • How Corporate Real Estate Tech Start-Ups & Investors are Betting On the Evolving Needs of Occupiers
  • Emerging Technologies - A Blockchain Discussion

The Day One Keynote set the tone for the rest of the show. Dr. Peter H. Diamandis - an international pioneer in the fields of innovation, incentive competitions and commercial space who was named one of "The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders" by Fortune Magazine in 2014 - mesmerized the crowd with his presentation, Exponential Technology: Innovation and Disruption on the Road Ahead.

 

Diamandis walked everyone through the rapid acceleration of exponential technologies – Infinite Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, 3D Printing, Sensors, Networks and Synthetic Biology – and how they will reshape every aspect of our life, including how and where we work. For example, in the not so distant future, our commute to work will be fundamentally different as most people will trade in owning a car for an autonomous ride sharing car service, an airborne taxi, or a 500-km commute via HyperLoop One in under 20 minutes.

 

It became clear while attending the sessions and talking to service providers and corporate real estate executives that the majority are trying to educate themselves about these emerging technologies, and those at the forefront of applying them are doing so in small measured experiments to understand their applicability and potential before committing substantial resources.

 

This approach is consistent with the reactive nature of corporate real estate and its reputation as a laggard when it comes to the adoption of emerging technologies, all of which makes the space ripe for disruption from the outside.

 

A recent McKinsey Global Institute Report - What’s Now and Next in Analytics, AI and Automation – reinforces this notion in its categorization of real estate across these dimensions.

 

According to McKinsey, real estate has experienced relatively low digitization.

 

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It’s also “in the middle” with respect to automation potential.

 

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Technology focused startups are beginning to exploit the inefficient and fractured nature of real estate transactions and the ongoing management of facilities. According to the CRE//Tech’s 2017 Mid-Year Report, more than $2 billion of early stage venture capital has been invested into real estate technology start-ups since 2013.

 

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What does all this mean?

 

For the owners and occupiers of real estate, it’s a wakeup call. Exponential technology’s impact on the way we live, work and shop is not a question of “if”, but rather “when”. Given that transforming our physical footprint in the form of real estate is a long process, owners and occupiers need to start planning for this future reality now.

 

For real estate and facilities technology providers like Tango, the message is also clear. Underlying technologies are shifting rapidly, and those who embrace change and seek out its opportunities will thrive and those who do not will cease to exist. I’m glad I work for a technology company that excels at the former.

 

A perfect example of this is Tango’s innovative approach to reinventing Lease Accounting and Administration. Check out our eBook, Lease Administration – The Time for Change is Now, or the longer-form webinar.