5G technology, in combination with IoT and artificial intelligence, will be key to meet the expectations of commercial real estate (CRE) occupiers in a post-pandemic scenario, Eddy Wagoner, CIO, Digital at JLL Technologies, told In-Building Tech.
“Business leaders will need insights derived from a building’s IoT devices in near real time. Employees will demand a better employee experience, including quicker response times to IT and facilities requests, streamlining desk and meeting room reservations, and supporting dynamic mobile applications for the workplace. With the number of IoT devices needed to manage flexibility and optimize real estate portfolios, coupled with the need for speed when delivering real-time experience in the workplace, the expectations of CRE occupiers cannot be met without the speed of 5G,” Wagoner said.
The executive also highlighted that artificial intelligence will play a key role in the CRE secto,r as this technology will create strategic advantages by enabling faster decisions using more data in a better way. “Let’s say an aspect of a building needs maintenance. The facilities manager can use an AI-based tool to source insights from data, including how much it should cost, the average lifespan of the repair, and whether it should be completed now or later. Based on these learnings, the facilities manager can make better decisions, faster,” he said.
Wagoner said that the pandemic has changed the role of the office and technology is helping employees work effectively, regardless of location. “When they are in the office, cellular technologies, IoT and AI are ensuring employee health and safety, which is paramount. Sustainability is also a priority, and IoT and AI can help buildings and those that occupy them lessen their environmental impact,” he said.
“Pre-pandemic, many viewed these technology benefits as a “nice to have.” But they are becoming table stakes to attract and retain occupiers as their people demand flexibility; a better, healthier workplace experience; and increased sustainability,” Wagoner added.
“Technologies including 5G, IoT and AI are great piecemeal, but the building owners who gain competitive advantage will be those who implement 5G, IoT and AI holistically. For instance, IoT and AI can pair together to deliver insights that businesses need to operate intelligently and efficiently. Add in 5G, and everything works at near real-time speeds. The tenant experience becomes that much better,” Wagoner said.
He also said that IoT, combined with AI, can provide a safety net in buildings to ensure that sanitation protocols are being followed. “If employees use a meeting room, IoT sensors with the support of AI can alert maintenance when the room is empty and verify once cleaning is complete.”
“The return to office is top of mind for building and business decision-makers. The start of the pandemic served as a real-time pilot for how technology could support the transition to working remotely. CRE leaders see the value in technology, and it’s now going to be a key factor in bringing their teams back to the office post-pandemic,” Wagoner said.
Enterprise IoT Insights recently published an editorial report in which select industry leaders talk about how digital systems – including 5G, AI, IoT, and edge, plus other key technologies – are transforming the CRE industry.