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The last word on Corporate Real Estate

After almost two years of work-from-home and a hybrid model of work, how is the CRE segment gearing up for a return to normalcy and growth? By betting big on technology and digitalisation, says Sathish Rajendran, Executive Director & Head, Facilities & Asset Management Services, Knight Frank (India) Pvt Ltd.

In CRE, management of space and infrastructure with high productivity and profitability has been the key objective. To achieve this objective, CRE operations should be lean, efficient and agile with enhanced experience. A few challenges this industry faces are:

  • Increased workforce cost resulting in higher operating expenses
  • Dearth of required skill amongst workforce
  • Skill development program yielding limited outcome due to attrition
  • Increased demands on cost optimisation

Under these circumstances, the industry needs to think big and explore various opportunities in Prop Tech to optimize manpower and enhance efficiency in operations. Here are some of the key Prop Tech trends that can be game changers for the CRE industry:

Big Data: Use of big data in real estate has observed an exponential growth in the past few years. It has enabled companies and individuals to take informed decisions with respect to investing, managing and operating based on data.

Blockchain: Blockchain use can potentially revolutionise rental property payments by removing middlemen and reducing transaction cost. It can facilitate cost effectiveness and better decision-making in leasing processes with the use of a shared database.

Building Information Modelling (BIM): This is a smart 3D model-based process that enables architects, engineers, and construction professionals to plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructures efficiently. The information can be used throughout the life cycle of the property. This technology transforms a hand drawn sketch of a floor plan to a 3D BIM within seconds.

Construction Technology: Proceeding from an economically necessary view of the entire property life cycle, ConTech has the potential to automatically become the focus of interest. These technological advancements will not only make the industry cost-effective but also sustainable.

Geolocations: Geolocation technology transforms simple maps into full sets of critical data about real estate and properties. It can not only pinpoint where buyers are in the traditional sales cycle by utilising predictive analytic technologies but can also pinpoint their physical location. It enables real estate developers to make far more accurate valuations based on economic strategies.

Internet of Things (IoT): In simple terms, IoT can be described as items and structures equipped with sensors that internet applications can read and can translate into usable digital data. IoT can improve both the real estate industry and individuals’ everyday lives by its varied application, from predictive maintenance to accelerated decision making to increased energy efficiency.

Sharing Economy: Interchangeably used with the term ‘Collaborative Consumption’, it represents an economic revolution built around an economic philosophy that space and capital goods are better shared. In the real estate industry, it has its application in nearly all domains including residential, hospitality, retail, storage and office spaces.

Sustainability and GreenTech: The increasing concern for climate change and sustainable living is not alien to the real estate sector anymore. Efforts are made to incorporate technology that makes living more energy efficient and sustainable. It will provide completely transparent windows, which generate data by sensing the environment and simultaneously convert sunlight into electricity.

Use of touch-free cleaning and Integrated dashboards will become a norm with central monitoring. In addition, green chemicals have made a great headway into our markets.

Sathish Rajendran


Tech will aid recovery

During the recovery stage post Covid, the above-mentioned trends in Proptech will certainly add value in terms of product and services that will have the maximum adaptability and flexibility to stand a good chance of succeeding in the coming years. This phase of recovery is still in its nascent stage and people are still apprehensive of a relapse and are unsure of how the economy will rebound. However, in such phases, we look out for options that can be tailored to our client’s requirement to bring productivity and at the optimised cost.

We have seen this emerging technology at work in most places, and for sure there will be a greater demand for products and services in our country. This will surely change over the next few years/ months, especially in the field of technology, as IoT will become more affordable and cost effective.

Low-touch, no-touch cleaning

Use of touch-free cleaning and Integrated dashboards will become a norm with central monitoring. Given the pandemic and post-pandemic recovery, the focus will always be on minimal touch, yet thorough sanitising. In addition, green chemicals have made a great headway into our markets. The same will continue to grow and people will look for chemicals that are adept at eliminating microorganisms without causing damage to humans.

We have had great learnings from the pandemic and are poised to leverage the good work done by SMEs in all facets of facilities & asset management. May it be the Covid protocols, creating SOPs for safe workplaces or implementing the same, we have ensured that as an organisation, Knight Frank led the ‘back to office’ movement by demonstrating robust procedures for self and client organisations.

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