You’ve heard of home assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, of smart buildings where everything from the lights to the heating can be controlled at the touch of a button and of virtual reality headsets that can help you design a space before actually purchasing any materials, but what is the next technology trend for commercial real estate?

According to a recent report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the automisation and digitisation of the global real estate sector is fast becoming a reality.

The Crossing the Threshold report reveals that the digitisation of real estate, which refers to the application of digital technologies to bricks and mortar, will require the property industry to be aware, address any potential risks and adapt to ensure longevity.  

So, what does artificial intelligence look like within the property industry? Think smarter, more efficient, digital buildings that feature real-time data that will control energy, water usage, humidity, air quality, noise control and more. 

On a larger scale this means the creation of smart cities, where technology is used as a means of managing an entire city’s assets, from the transport systems to the office buildings within them. For an office environment, and for the commercial property industry as a whole, it is going to change the way buildings are not only operated but also constructed. 

According to the report, building owners will soon be able to oversee entire real estate portfolios from voice-controlled centralised dashboards, much like you can your own home. Air conditioning, lighting, security and car parking will be able to be operated at the touch of a button. Businesses will be able to become more efficient and sustainable through their energy and water usage, with maintenance costs reduced and less reliance on human error in general. 

Data from digital programs will also be used to adapt and create connected workspace environments that modify to tenant needs and preferences. 

For example, Canberra startup, Ecospectral, has been recognised by the Australian Government for its unique BRIM system – sensor technology that tracks and analyses noise, temperature, motion and light to learn more about the behaviour patterns of people within a building. This allows property and business owners to utilise underused space, restructure their office and even boost the productivity of their employees. 

Virtual reality will also play a big role moving forward in the commercial real estate industry. Whole developments and buildings can be fitted ahead of tenants moving in through the use of virtual reality, allowing future occupants to visualise what their space will look like, saving time and money in the design or fitting out process. 

Each of these aspects will need to be considered moving forward by tenants and landlords. With the world moving further towards the creation of smart cities, technology will need to be embraced by the commercial real estate industry to ensure we remain at the front foot of the latest trends and continue to adapt to create workspace environments that meet the evolving needs of tenants and employees alike.