“Latest and Greatest” Technology Can you afford not to have it?

Posted on 10 August 2010 at 9:27 pm in Great Software.

We are quick to believe that new perimeter-weighted graphite/boron/titanium equipment harnessing the latest technologies will miraculously improve our games. Almost every golfer has stood on that first tee of the season wielding a new driver believing that this year’s technology is going to cure his/her slice. Year in and year out, we want to believe it’s the equipment not the player.

Consider the fact that your opponent might already have the “latest and greatest technology.” Getting the newest equipment every year neutralizes your opponent’s advantage. The fear that your opponent’s new tennis racquet might provide some unseen benefit weighs on each competitor’s mind. So, to improve our games, to get every advantage, we look to technology as our savior.

New York’s real estate market is far more competitive than the average tennis match or golf round. More and more buildings are utilizing the latest technologies to their advantage. Similar, to the “radical” conversion in the early nineties from wooden woods to metal woods, eventually all buildings will have online services in their bag. Two years ago less than 5% of commercial buildings used online services for building operations. In 2003, with the advent of energy management programs, lease administration software, work-order systems, online building directories and notification systems, the number of buildings using software for some pat of building operations has climbed to more than 15%.

When was the last time you played tennis against someone using a wooden or even an aluminum racquet? With the benefits of online services, building owners/managers can offer potential tenants better run facilities and more efficient services. The buildings not taking advantage of putting their building services online are stepping onto the court with less than the “best” opportunity to win over the next tenant.

In some areas of real estate, technology is critical. In a survey taken last year more than 75% of all real estate transactions involved the use of online services like CoStar. The ability to retrieve and analyze leasing data makes the use of CoStar very compelling. Ultimately, almost all brokerage firms interested in remaining competitive use online services for acquiring and retaining tenants. Like metal woods or graphite racquets, any real estate firm that desires to remain competitive will use an online service.

Expanding this metaphor further, no one stops at trying to gain the advantage of technology with one club. First it’s the woods, next it’s the perimeter-weighted irons, then it’s the putter and finally the search for the perfect golf ball begins. The reliance that many firms put on online services for leasing is truly only the beginning. Eventually, all building owners and managers will seek to get the “latest and greatest” advantage, or at least neutralize the opponent’s advantage by adopting programs and systems for lease administration, energy management and building operations.

There is a sensible order to technology adoption that focuses on impact. With metal in the club head and a graphite shaft, new metal woods dramatically improved driving distance. Lighter stronger graphite caused a dramatic difference in power and control in tennis racquets. Within ten years of these improvements being introduced, the widespread adoption is apparent. We are only two to three years into the dynamic shift from off-line building management to either server based or web-based building management. In a few more years there will be a similar widespread adoption of online services for building operation, and incoming tenants will expect these services. Right now, in this highly competitive market, can you afford to still be playing with a wooden racquet?