The first event in a groundbreaking new real estate technology educational series, CRE.tech LIVE, kicked-off yesterday morning and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Our goal in organizing these events, in partnership with MetaProp NYC, is to provide education to the commercial and corporate real estate community about the constantly changing technology options available to them. We think as technology advances, the pace of innovation will inevitably increase. Staying up with and adopting the latest technologies will be what sets top performers apart from the rest of their field. We want to create a valuable resource for every CRE vertical that will also help change the face of the industry that we love.

Yesterday’s event was held at REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York) headquarters at 570 Lexington in Midtown Manhattan. This inspiring venue was one of the original iconic New York City skyscrapers. Fitting, we thought, for an event meant to educate facilities managers, a position created by the invention of these modern wonders. We want to thank REBNY for all their support and look forward to working with them in the future.

The morning began with a warm welcome from cre.tech founder Travis Barrington who explained that facilities managers are increasingly expected to play a leadership role in the modernization of our buildings and workplaces. Real-time data and analytics are transforming the way we manage the built environment and boosting FM’s strategic value in a data-driven business culture. Every building system is being transformed by digital innovation — lighting, connectivity, climate control, vertical transportation, and more. Seamlessly integrating these systems will be a critical FM priority in 2017 and beyond.

Next, Brian Schwagerl, a cutting edge facilities professional and global real estate executive, delivered a keynote talk. Among Schwagerl’s many accomplishments are the development of the Hearst tower and NBC studios. He laid out a vision for what the future of planning and running a building will look like. Seamless cloud file sharing will effortlessly follow us around to anywhere we want to work. Video conferencing and smart white boards will be commonplace. Augmented reality headsets will allow us to peel back layers of the building like x-ray vision. All while autonomous robots identify and fix common problems like spills and window stains. These are not predictions of the distant future, says Schwagerl, but successful applications of technologies that already exist today. The cost savings, increased user satisfaction and data collection will make buildings that successfully adopt these technologies even more valuable than they are today.

MetaProp NYC's Aaron Block (left) and cre.tech's Travis Barrington welcome real estate professionals to the first ever commercial real estate educational event series.

MetaProp NYC’s Aaron Block (left) and cre.tech’s Travis Barrington welcome a crowd of real estate professionals to CRE.tech LIVE, the first ever commercial real estate technology educational event series.

After the keynote, two seminars were presented concurrently. One, presented by Matt Pocock of Captivate was on communication strategies for buildings. The way society communicates has changed greatly from technology like email and social media. Younger generations expect dialogue between themselves and their surroundings. Buildings are now starting to harness communication techniques to help them better understand tenants and provide valuable, current information via mobile apps and video monitors. The added benefit is that a building is now able to have a unique voice, a paramount characteristic of brand building.

The other seminar was presented by Allison Whalen of Managed by Q. She informed the audience about a growing number of new on-demand management services at a building manager’s disposal. As corporations look for cost reductions and efficiencies, technology will be an important solution to managing both scheduled and on-demand services, from catering and food services to events management and health and wellness options. Already booming in the consumer sector, technology-enabled services for commercial real estate have the potential to reduce operating costs, streamline access to new and innovative office services, and enhance workplace satisfaction.

After a quick coffee and networking break, the vibrant crowd got back to the learning with two more educational sessions. Macs Rehberger from Matterport led a presentation about 3-D modeling’s implications for BIM (building information modeling). Rehberger wowed the crowd with his demonstration of his 3-D capturing camera and headset. He helped us understand some of the uses and advances in the much talked about VR/AR space.

Concurrently, Jonathan Schultz from Onyx Equites presented an educational session about technology’s impact on workplace culture. Schultz provided a fascinating look at some of the ways the space we work in can help or hinder our productivity. Modern offices are being designed around sophisticated insight about the psychology of productivity. Granting tenants more freedom to work how, when and where they want is important in increasing employee engagement. Modern facilities managers are just as worried about tenant productivity as they are about mechanical systems.

Captivate

Matt Pocock of Captivate presents an educational session about communication strategies for buildings, one of four in-depth sessions delivered yesterday morning at CRE.tech LIVE.

Finally, we hosted a fascinating discussion panel moderated by Russell Olson, President of ROI Consulting and a professor at Pratt Institute where he teaches course in facilities and construction management technology. Olson’s overarching knowledge of issues facing facilities managers really helped put the panelists comments in perspective. Panel participants included Dennis Sherry of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank; Adam Edrington of Compass; Alison Kwiatkowski of JLL; and Ron Jerman of The Durst Organization.

Between the five of them they were able to cover topics like sensor technology, data collection and safety initiatives from almost every angle. They shared real world examples of successes they all had from implementing new technology in their vast collective portfolio of properties.

Videos of the talks, seminars and panels will be hosted on our website for the unfortunate folks that were not able to attend in person. These videos, which will be posted after each monthly CRE.tech LIVE event, will further our mission as the go-to resource for anyone who wants to learn about the growing PropTech revolution. We also want to thank the whole crew at MetaProp NYC, who’s connections in New York City and the CRE community at large were critical to our success. Plus, we think that they are smart, hardworking individuals who have made it their priority to become the nexus of real estate technology, with their accelerator program, advisory and investment arm.

We are thrilled with the end result of the first CRE.tech LIVE. We learned a lot about facility management technology and —- like the gluttons of tech information that we are — we want more. So, we will be patiently waiting for our next event exploring the professional vertical of property management, being held in Manhattan on February 23rd. Tickets are on sale now at https://events.cre.tech/. We hope to see you all there!