Real Estate and Technological Disruption

Bob O'Brien

In the latest episode of the NAREIT Podcast, Bob O’Brien, partner and U.S. real estate services leader with Deloitte, analyzed the impact of technological disruption on the real estate industry.

Deloitte published a report in October on the long-term outlook for real estate that focused on evolving technologies. O’Brien said Deloitte took that approach in light of high-profile ventures such as Airbnb and Uber. O’Brien noted that some of those disruptions are now surfacing in the real estate business.

“There’s no question technology is changing how tenants use space,” O’Brien said. “We thought it was important to look at how some of these macro trends could really impact real estate, not only in 2016, but what it would look like in 2025.”

The growth of information sharing and connectivity could change leasing and brokerage process, according to O’Brien. For example, REITs and tenants could have access to similar information regarding available space and pricing.

“We think that there are opportunities for REITs to more closely connect with their lessees, improve the customer-tenant experience and ultimately improve tenant retention,” O’Brien said.

Furthermore, the ability to capture more data will enhance customization for tenants and anticipate tenants’ needs, O’Brien said.

Another major change is the influx of tech-savvy consumers and employees, O’Brien said. That’s causing real estate companies to re-think how they design their properties.

“Whether it is facilitating collaborative work environments or using retail as both a showroom and, in effect, a distribution center, we’re seeing more and more of that,” O’Brien said.

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