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The High Costs of Poor Infrastructure for E-commerce

Posted on March 23, 2018

By Marie Ruff

Every click of an e-commerce order kicks off a series of actions that lead to the delivery of your package from a warehouse to your house – and the final stretch of that process is the most expensive part. “People expect to order anything, anytime, and have it delivered anywhere they want it. It’s a challenge for our infrastructure,” said Gregory Healy, Colliers International executive managing director, supply chain and logistics, during his keynote address at NAIOP’s CRE.insights: The Last Mile conference this week.

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The Rise of Smart Buildings As-a-Service

Posted on February 28, 2018

A recent Memoori report, Occupancy Analytics & In-Building Location Based Services 2017 to 2022, finds “value-added services such as space utilization, indoor positioning, connected lighting and asset tracking are helping to drive the adoption of As-a-Service business models.”

Smart Building As-a-Service refers to third-party companies working with building owners to deploy technology to maximize efficiency and use data-driven analytics to understand better how people operate within the building. For example, if building owners and managers subscribed to a sensing-as-a-service firm, the firm would be responsible for not only installing the equipment but also managing, analyzing and reporting the data the sensors collect.

Mecklenburg County Hopes to Have POSSE System Back Online This Week

Posted on December 18, 2017

In the wake of last week’s cybercrime attack, Mecklenburg County is continuing to make progress on restoring permitting systems to full functionality. LUESA is running tests on the POSSE system today, and pending those results, is hoping to have it back up and running by tomorrow or Thursday.

LUESA director Ebenezer Gujjarlapudi told REBIC today he is confident that no plans or review comments were lost during the hack, so the department should be able to pick up where they left off once everything is back online.

Code Enforcement has been averaging about 1,000 inspections a week since the system collapsed, so they don’t expect there will be much (if any) of a backup once the system returns to normal. In addition, the County says they’ve had a number of on-schedule reviews completed this week using the paper process, and once the system is back up, they’ll contact all customers in the queue to let them know how they’ll be proceeding with their scheduled reviews. Again, they seem to expect a minimal disruption.

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Self-Driving Carts Put to Work in Warehouses

Posted on December 1, 2017

Boxed Wholesale believes self-driving carts can be used to navigate through warehouses and pick products, according to an article in DigitalCommerce360.com. Boxed, a web-only merchant that sells primarily household goods, initially plans to use fully automated carts to shuttle goods between picking and packing human warehouse workers. “Long term, we’re aiming to expand the functionality of the vehicles to complete other warehouse tasks that can be made more efficient,” says Will Fong, the retailer’s chief technology officer. “For example, rather than sending a human to restock a picking zone with paper towels, the vehicle could soon be able to recognize the need to replenish the product and complete the task, all without humans needing to get involved.” A Boxed in-house team of two engineers developed the autonomous cart in 90 days. Boxed first added the carts to its warehouse in Union, New Jersey, and plans to add them to fulfillment centers in Dallas, Las Vegas and Atlanta.

How Data is Tranforming CRE

Posted on November 20, 2017

Tapping into financial and property data can allow commercial real estate companies to save both time and money; using real-time performance analytics, for example, can help optimize operating expenses. As the volume of data across the globe increases at a staggering rate, meanwhile, the data center industry faces critical questions about cybersecurity and data management.

  • Next Wave of CRE Tech: Harnessing Data to Unlock Value 
    Commercial real estate is coming to terms with the critical need for data-driven organizations, teams and results, reports Waypoint. The current tech landscape enables financial data to be aggregated into a single, company-wide system of record rather than compiling disparate data from separate, siloed systems. How organizations leverage and analyze the data is what will ultimately provide the competitive edge they need to rise above the rest.
  • Four Ways the Cloud is Forever Changing Data Center Real Estate
    The future of data center real estate is looking more global and automated, according to JLL research, helping the data center industry become more efficient and keep up with the surging amount of data being generated by corporations, entertainment companies, and personal devices. Combined with the growth of cloud computing, these trends mean that the industry is facing important questions about cybersecurity, data sovereignty, and digital content consumption.

Deloitte: Can Real Estate Firms Keep Up?

Posted on November 15, 2017

The U.S. commercial real estate industry ecosystem is changing at a rapid rate due to new forms of technology (e.g., artificial intelligence, smart cities, mobility improvements, sensors) and demographic changes in the workforce, according to Deloitte’s Commercial Real Estate Outlook 2018. The report urges the real estate industry to embrace these changes even though they might represent uncertainty.

The key, according to the report, is to close the gap between technological changes and business productivity over the next 12-18 months by prioritizing the following themes:

  • Accelerate business: Unlock the value for REITs by examining their corporate governance and communication strategies, optimizing property portfolios and reassessing public status.
  • Avail alternative capital options: Traditional commercial real estate companies can engage with fintech startups for sharable solutions, diversified funding sources and investment purposes.
  • Augment productivity: Companies should embrace robotics and cognitive automation to improve productivity in data collection, management and analysis.
  • Advance talent and culture: The commercial real estate industry is facing a talent shortage and must be agile, innovative and collaborative to attract new employees.

Digital Tools Are Modernizing Today's Investment Sales Cycle

Posted on November 14, 2017

Written by Champaign Williams

Technology is transforming the investment sales process. 

Ten-X Commercial Division Managing Director Yan Khamish said though technology can never replace brokers in the investment sales process, it can cast a wider net and help investment brokers, buyers and sellers close more deals faster. 

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Venture Capital Increasingly Attracted to Real Estate Startups

Posted on October 6, 2017

According to a recent TechCrunch article, “VC Doors are Wide Open for Real Estate Startups,” seed and early-stage investment in real estate technology have increased by $100 million over the past 12 months. Cultural and demographic shifts along with rising property and rental prices account for the rising interest in startups.

“Real estate and its adjacent industries are broadly behind in technology adoption, so many investors look at the space as low-hanging fruit,” says Constance Freedman, managing partner at real estate-focused venture capitalist (VC) firm Moderne Ventures.

The article identifies several companies that are experiencing early-stage funding:

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Using Tech Tools to Solve Construction Challenges

Posted on October 4, 2017

By: Todd Burns

Between rising costs, dwindling talent pools and looming uncertainty, today’s construction leaders are grappling with some seriously disruptive forces. But a closer look at each of these “disruptions” reveals some serious opportunities, too, as the sector begins to ramp up its technology strategy.

Though still in the early stages of change, the sector’s movement toward tech innovation represents a meaningful cultural shift, considering that it’s traditionally been slower to embrace technology than other industries.

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New Safety Standards for Driverless Cars

Posted on September 11, 2017

A group calling itself the Coalition for Future Mobility – representing automakers, suppliers, smart transportation leaders and people with disabilities – is asking Congress to tell the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it’s time to change auto safety standards so they reflect the coming of self-driving cars. The measure has passed a House of Representatives committee.

“Unfortunately, the rulemaking process is not a short one, not a cheap one and is nothing short of labor intensive,” Elliot Katz, a partner at the law firm McGuireWoods, tells Bloomberg. “The basic problem here is one we’ve seen in a lot of industries: the technology moves a lot quicker than the regulation.” The coalition wants Congress to act as soon as possible.

Bloomberg reports that more than 30 current regulations seem to require a human driver be at the wheel. Such regulations could pose a problem for autonomous vehicles, which are being developed by both tech companies such as Google and carmakers such as Volvo and Ford.

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Crewless Cargo Ship to Set Sail in 2018

Posted on August 24, 2017

Written by Brielle Scott

You’ve heard of sailing a ship with a “skeleton crew,” but what about no crew at all?

The ghost ships from tall tales of pirates and buried treasure are no longer the stuff of fiction: A Norwegian company is developing a fully autonomous container ship that will eventually troll the high seas with no crew aboard.

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The STEM Gender Gap by State

Posted on August 21, 2017

By: Hazel Garcia

STEM careers, also known as careers involving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, are some of the best paying jobs available. Requiring only a Bachelor’s degree for most for most of them, they are one of the better education bargains as well. The high pay that comes with these jobs combined with the smaller amount of education required helps minimize student loan debt as well, which leads to a better quality of life.

In the past couple of decades, more women are entering STEM programs to get the education required for these high-paying positions. While the number of women entering STEM programs has grown considerably, it’s still a male-dominated industry. Depending on which state you live in, there might as many as 4.5 times more men working in STEM than women.

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Renewable Energy Delivers at Record Level in March

Posted on July 20, 2017

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports more than 10 percent of the country’s electricity was generated by wind or solar in March, the most recent month for which information is available. It’s the first time these renewable energy sources have provided that much power.

The administration notes that wind and solar combined to provide 7 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2016. It predicts that, “based on seasonal patterns in recent years, electricity generation from wind and solar will probably exceed 10 percent of total U.S. generation again in April 2017, then fall to less than 10 percent in the summer months.” Wind and solar tend to produce more electricity in the spring and fall than in the summer or winter.

The organization adds that, “about half of all utility-scale solar power plants in the United States use some form of sun-tracking technology to improve their seasonal output.”

Six Ways Tech Continues to Impact CRE

Posted on July 17, 2017

During the most recent Industry Trends Task Force meeting, held during the National Forums Symposium in April, NAIOP Foundation Governors and invited guests participated in a session focusing on technological innovations impacting the CRE industry.

Topics discussed include:

  • Legal documents can be produced and executed more easily today than they could years ago – one simple example of how technology has facilitated leasing and sales transactions.
  • There are a tremendous number of regulatory barriers that prevent zoning technology from advancing. Parking ratios required by zoning laws are too high in some instances and too low in others. Sensors enable the collection of reliable data about when and where cars are parked but correcting the imbalance will require a change in local zoning, a feat that historically has been difficult to achieve.
  • Drones have become more sophisticated and can be used for surveying, inspection of roofs, and many other aspects of either pre- or post-construction. Drones could begin to replace people, including site crews and inspectors.
  • With aerial photography and Google, it’s now possible to look at a site and conduct market analytics, enabling a retailer, for example, to select an optimal location.
  • The brokerage industry may become like the travel industry; in the future, real estate brokers (both commercial and residential) may provide guidance rather than carry out transactions. Building management software now tracks work orders. A tenant can submit a problem and the building engineer can change a setting from an iPad without having to travel to the site.
  • A key problem is the pace at which change is occurring today. There is an inherent disconnect between technology that changes rapidly and physical, fixed, tangible real estate products that take a long time to build and modify. To address this, the industry must begin to think about how to build flexibility into real estate assets.

The session was moderated by NAIOP Distinguished Fellows Mark Stapp, Executive Director, Master of Real Estate Development, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University; and Chris Redfearn, Director, Dollinger Masters of Real Estate Development program, Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California.

CRE’s Technology Generation Gap

Posted May 23, 2017

Not surprisingly, what people think about technology seems to depend on when they were born.

Coldwell Banker Commercial surveyed CRE professionals and broke the results down into two groups: those 45 and younger, and those older than 45. In those groups, 65 percent of younger workers think the CRE industry is lagging behind other businesses in its use of technology. Some 68 percent of the older professionals say technology adoption is keeping pace with other industries.

When it comes to ease of use, 80 percent of the younger workers say they’re comfortable with technology, while only 58 percent of older workers say they are. Older workers are more likely to think personal relationship skills are more important than technology.

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