San Francisco TechTools: Technologies Serving CRE Transactions

On September 13th, 2018, five experts discussed the Future of CRE Tech Tools at the 3rd Annual DisruptCRE San Francisco summit.

The panelists included:

  • Moderator: Mariel Ebrahimi, Co-Founder & CEO – DisruptCRE
  • Matt Kinkaid, Director – Brandcast
  • Erina Malarkey, Partner – VMO Partners
  • Mike Sample, Managing Director – NGKF
  • Matt Staublin, Technical Principal – HOK

How is technology helping you harness, evaluate and visualize data to deliver projects more efficiently?

Staublin explains how you can use sensors to capture how people move through a building, stadium or airport. From a developers standpoint you can compare what is going to be the most efficient development, and tenant experience. From a visualization standpoint that has changed so much.

How can data inform marketing strategies for CRE professionals?

Erina Malarkey, Co-Founder of VMO Partners explains a really common scenario that they have is clients who say “I’ve got this asset, I’m treading water at 75% and I don’t know what’s wrong. I think I’m priced competitively, I think my on-site team is good and I’m hemorrhaging money and watching my occupancy drop.”

She goes on to explain that the old model isn’t working so we need to approach this differently.

“In those instances we can look into the data for the last 12 months and to identify where the problem is in the sales cycle. The question becomes how can you look at the data and in turn make marketing really serve as a core lever of your asset strategy versus just an expense line?”

How is technology elevating the expectations for CRE marketing executives?

Matt Kinkaid, Director with Brandcast addresses the notion that internally, the more data you collect the more you want to act on it. He says, “Once upon a time we used to be okay with just sending an email on a new property, but the touchpoints on this customer journey are so essential and every piece of data that we learn from each one plays into how we can get them down the funnel to where we want them to be.

Expectations are changing on both sides Kinkaid explains. Both internally for the professionals producing those marketing materials and then for the end customer themselves.

“The end customer does expect everything to be online, at their fingertips on every device at any moment and we are an industry that previously loved PDFs. Those don’t exactly do all the wonderful, data-driven, exceptional things that we want when you’re ingesting it or when you’re trying to see if 10,000 people actually looking at this, did they click on it? Do I want them to click on this? It’s really about refreshing end-to-end and understanding how to drive every piece of your funnel which is a lot to accomplish.”

What is Virtual Design and Construction and what are the benefits?

Staublin details how the virtual design and construction works and is making an impact within the industry.

“Once the design team finishes their BIM model, they hand it off to the contractor team who enhance all the data with a higher level of detail. Contractors of today are much more savvy with taking the data and using it to build the building. It’s a tool that we use to go from design, construction, and ultimately the goal is to hand off that model to the owner or FM team to keep an eye on running the building post development. From a performance standpoint, that is a technology that pays dividends to the developer.”

How is technology elevating the way CRE professionals can collaborate on projects?

Mike Sample begins by asking the audience “Who has worked with a commercial or residential broker?”

He goes on to say, you get a different level of experience or service based on the different people you work with. On the commercial side, it’s taken commercial brokerage a lot longer to adapt to new technology, collaboration and tools within their own practice. On the residential side you have Zillow and Redfin where you can see and understand the comps in the neighborhood and other data that helps inform your decision.

Sample explains how drone footage has been tremendous for internal collaboration. He goes on to give an example of his CFO being able to sit at his desk in San Francisco to view an office in Atlanta and give the thumbs up or thumbs down on it with his local boots on the ground. The other thing to think about too is CRE is so much of a physical asset but there are ppl around the country who have made decisions about this building from the architect to marketing.