February 15, 2022
Prop-Tech Check-In: Trends for 2022

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Each and every day commercial and residential real estate companies are working to stay in front of competition. Recently, this competition has centered around the property technology industry, which has allowed for advancement in home and building quality and new investment and activity in the market. Below are four key trends for 2022 to follow in the proptech sector. 

Digital Twins 

While digital twins have been a trendy proptech advancement for a little while now, there is still room for further improvement. Digital twins essentially allow for data collection, analysis of how a space is being used, as well as allowing for remote access and more efficient and sustainable updates to infrastructure and building systems. 

Specifically for owners of high-end commercial real estate developments and large portfolios, the use of digital twins can assist in understanding driving market trends, and allows for a host of optimization opportunities and enhancements. For instance, this tech can streamline repairs and maintenance in buildings and infrastructure, contribute added cybersecurity and touch-free access and extend the life of properties through detailed data on sustainable and green-goals. This tech can be integrated into a full stack of building systems and are an effective tool for asset managers to create improved experiences. These improvements can have beneficial results, such as higher price per square foot, increased occupancy levels, better indoor air quality, as well as automation of cleaning and maintenance schedules. 

As the commercial real estate industry moves more and more into the digital space, owners and operators should adopt digital twins in order to stay competitive in a constantly advancing  marketplace. 

Metaverse 

The next evolution of digital twin and cyberspace technology in the real estate industry lives in the metaverse. This evolution has been propelled by the pandemic and its exacerbation of pre-2020 trends including the use of video calling and conferencing. Now, 81 percent of Americans report having used one of these tools, though the experience may still be lacking in terms of representing true office and work dynamics. 

Owners, operators and real estate agents will have to understand how the metaverse can be integrated into business plans and portfolios moving forward, especially as the industry thrives. In Q4 2021, there was $330 million in trading volume for metaverse property assets, signaling that tenants are already interested in this technology. Designers, developers and leasing agents who are able to offer a cohesive real estate portfolio, one that is complete with a physical property and a digital representation of it in the metaverse, will excel as this market continues to rapidly expand and advance. 

Interactive Spaces 

The aforementioned trends fit into the new age of interactive work and office spaces, and through the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud-computing software, operators are maximizing their properties no matter the location of employees or tenants. And this is vital, as many workers continue to operate out of hybrid roles or are working from home. In turn, tenants are more than ever in need of offices that are adapted to the new needs of the workforce and streamline the ability to collaborate and communicate. 

This added communication efficiency will be fueled by virtual offices, AI technology, wearable tech and increased cybersecurity. Specifically, as office spaces become more interactive and service employees from a number of physical and virtual locations, secure communication as well as data analysis and collection should be top of mind for owners and operators. 

In addition, part of the new interactive workspace trend is the increased flexibility offered to tenants and employees. By promoting health and wellness, as well as ensuring proper natural lighting and air flow and locating offices near outdoor spaces and transportation, owners can more easily attract tenants and continue to maintain a modern workplace. 

Smart Buildings 

These interactive spaces, more specifically, are built on smart building technology. These advancements are predicated on consistent monitoring, and fall under a couple of distinct categories. 

First, as workers return to office, expectations for proper indoor climate conditions and IAQ will be more important to meet than ever. Owners and landlords may consider the installation of smart system technology that can track multiple environmental variables, such as temperature, humidity, lighting, sound quality as well as use multi-purpose data to make better use of floor space and maintain sanitation and cleaning of spaces. 

Second, smart building tech can drastically increase collaboration between workers, in turn incentivizing owners to create as flexible a workspace as possible. Sensors and digital twins, among a host of other smart building technologies, can allow for reconfiguration of office spaces to best suit tenants, including the optimal mix of open, cooperative and individual zones for employees. Finally, smart building tech has the potential for tremendous effectiveness due to its ability to be incorporated into an entire portfolio’s digital stack and across all asset types. 

What’s clear is that proptech trends are set to continue rapidly advancing in the commercial real estate market, and rehabilitation of existing buildings with new infrastructure systems will be vital for owners and developers even as they build the next generation of smart buildings.