Inside CRE Tech • Episode 7.2

The Challenges: Why Aren’t All Offices “Smart?”

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Top CRE executives discuss the “Smart Office.”

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Video Transcript:

Tama Huang, Chief Innovation Officer, CohnReznick

Why aren't all officers smart? Because it's damn expensive.

Gabrielle Rubin Deveaux, Global Real Estate & Facilities, Buzzfeed

I guess it all depends on how you define the word smart. To me and to our company I believe that being flexible is being smart.

Tama Huang, Chief Innovation Officer, CohnReznick

I think that there are two components to making buildings smart and one is to make them connected. And so there's hardware that needs to go in to connect the sensors that need to be placed and connected. The next thing is to be able to do something with that data that we collect and that is a software challenge. I

Hussain Ali-Khan, Global Alliance Director, CBRE

I think that there are a lot of people in the corporate real estate industry who may not see the value of some of these networks and systems and sensors to be able to take advantage of the Internet of Things and the artificial intelligence and other types of technologies that we've been talking about today.

Adam Stoltz, National Director, Consulting Services - Transwestern

There are a lot of buildings with parts and pieces but not a lot of buildings that have put all of those parts and pieces together at the same time.

Jack Sibley, Technology & Innovation Strategies, TH Real Estate

In terms of why every office isn't smart. I really think that's again a question mark comes back to the alignment of the stakeholders. Every tenants is different every landlord is different. I think where tenants have control of both the physical real estate as well as being an owner occupier for example was a great instance…

Hussain Ali-Khan, Global Alliance Director, CBRE

One is the the investment required to make them smart. I think that retrofitting buildings to make them for smart can be very expensive and may not have the same payoff as perhaps automating buildings upfront. You know the sensor arrays that are required to collect the data to be able to automate some of these functions to conduct the machine learning can be very expensive. Now, having said that, those are becoming cheaper and easier to install and I think how that data is used and how the utility of the insights that it creates may still be a little bit fuzzy to people.

Jack Sibley, Technology & Innovation Strategies, TH Real Estate

There's some very strong case studies of really smart offices but in a world where you've got a very large multitalented buildings with landlords interests, property manager, interests and tenants interests there's too many times and that doesn't lined up and the potential of creating a smart workplace ultimately for the end users isn't met.

Gabrielle Rubin Deveaux, Global Real Estate & Facilities, Buzzfeed

You can certainly have a lot of technology or you can do things a little bit more analog. Our wayfindings are not in your phone because we don't want you to be looking at your phone, we want you to be looking at other people. So our wayfindings for example is not via an app, it's on the floor and on the walls because if I happen to be looking up I'll probably see you and say hey what's going on. And we want there to be more interaction than people being immersed in their technology.


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