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Deals & Dealmakers

Real estate industry playing catch-up in the technological revolution

After years in the shadow of new technology, the real estate industry is playing catch up, according to experts convened during the New York Real Estate Tech Week

Speaking at the Industrial and Office Real Estate Brokers Association of the New York Metropolitan Area (IOREBA) Fall Kick-Off Event, Aaron Block, co-founder and president of MetaProp-NYC, a new investment business that focuses on investing in new technology-driven real estate businesses, said, “Technology has dramatically disrupted every major industry for the past 20 years except the commercial real estate industry, and the industry is lagging years behind the rest of the world when it comes to technological innovation.

“New technologies arejust beginning to truly impact and influence the way brokers, owners, managers,investors and tenants make decisions and how financing, venture capital,design and construction is being re-defined.”

RobDiLeo, 2015-2016 president of IOREBA and principal of NAI DiLeo-Bram & Co., lead the discussion on the effects of emerging technologies on the commercial real estate industry.

Panelists Justin Lee, co-founder of “thesquarefoot”; Alec LeFort, business development manager at VTS; and Jason Green, co-founder of “Eden Works;” described how technology is beginning to change every aspect of the industry.

“It is a changing process that is going to take a lot of effort from business leaders, we are nottrying to disrupt your business, what we are really aiming to do is help youwaste less time,” said LeFort.

“Our business — a commercial real estate management platform — is helping industry professionalsmake real-time data-driven decisions that can help them save a lot of time andmoney.”

Lee described the new focus on data analytics and how it is helping tenants,landlords and brokers alike.

“Before, tenants didn’t always know what properties were out there and what spaces were available to lease — there was essentially no hub with a slick user interface,” he explained.

Tech companies, like Justin’s, are now creating these platforms where tenants, brokers and landlords can search for spaces, making the leasing process easier and much more streamlined.

Another aspect of technology being witnessed in the commercial real estate industry is space optimization and the monetization of underutilized assets, as in the instances of smart farms, where Jason Green’s company, Eden Works, is creatings mart farms on flat roofs.

“Competition is so stiff in New York City and we are helping buildingowners optimize their properties,” said Green.  “Two years ago rooftop farming was just a trend, but today rooftop farmers are a viable commercial tenant and they are here to stay,” he added.

The large scale and competitive nature of the commercial real estate industry has created the need for more technology — technology that supports the on-demand,instant need for data and the need for industry professionals to have access to data when they are on the road — and all of this technology is helpingprofessionals operate smarter and more effectively.”

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