In the bustling heart of New York City, last week’s CRETech event brought together a dynamic crowd of nearly 3,000 commercial real estate professionals, innovation leaders, and technology vendors. Not surprisingly, climate & sustainability dominated the topic of conversation, with smart locks/property access and affordable housing following closely behind as key areas of interest. And of course, conversations surrounding AI were inevitable. Blooma set out to hear these conversations and learn the synergies we might be able to bring to the industry’s leading innovators in commercial real estate technology.
Whether you couldn’t make it to the event, or missed out on attending the sessions, consider this your backstage pass to the latest trends and insights that are shaping our industry. And, of course, we’ll share how all this ties into the urgency of adopting innovative solutions in the coming year.
Here are a few key themes and takeaways from the event:
Harnessing the Power of AI
One of the standout sessions was the “AI in the Enterprise” panel featuring Scott Dunphy, Portfolio Manager at MetLife, and Roger Smith from TermSheet. They underscored the growing desire for AI-driven solutions in the industry. Here are the main highlights:
Seeking Information Efficiency and The Data Dilemma
- Chat Interfaces: Attendees expressed a strong desire for chat interfaces to streamline information retrieval across their portfolios, an area where AI can be a game-changer.
But, this is contingent upon the next key talking point: The Data Dilemma.
AI and Machine learning’s effectiveness hinges on high-quality, organized data. While everybody has desires and intents to take full advantage of the technological prowess of AI, the data behind this technology is key for its success. This sentiment echoes Blooma’s emphasis on data integrity as a prerequisite for automation. Additionally, the industry’s interest in using AI to structure unstructured data mirrors the need to transform raw data into actionable insights.
AI for Trust and Efficiency
The panel discussed some of the challenges and concerns that come with implementing AI in their businesses, such as:
- Data & Privacy Concerns: Privacy and data security emerged as paramount concerns for institutional investors exploring AI solutions. Ensuring data privacy and accuracy is crucial for building trust.
- Business Intelligence Dashboards: While AI adoption is on the rise, the adoption of business intelligence dashboards can be slow. This underscores the importance of user-friendly interfaces with intuitive design and features that promote easy adoption.
- Answering Complex Questions: AI’s potential to answer complex questions about leases, valuations, and property data was highlighted. Scott Dunphy’s vision emphasized automated underwriting and advanced valuation models (ahem, Blooma ;-)).
We, too, see these challenges posed in both conversations with our customers and other industry players. Part of our goals at Blooma is to solve for these challenges.
Build vs. Buy vs. Partner: Determining the right strategy
The ever-so-common question of “build vs. buy” was brought up, and the panel was particularly pro-buy, emphasizing collective wisdom and the changing landscape that allows for the continuous stacking of useful technologies:
- Collective Wisdom: The panelists stressed the value of “buying with influence.” Purchasing an AI solution grants access to the collective wisdom of industry players, facilitating knowledge sharing and rapid innovation.
- Building on Top: When you buy, you can build on top of the system, creating tailored solutions that align with your specific needs, a strategy that complements Blooma’s flexible approach.
Accelerating Adoption and Innovation
Another compelling session on “Accelerating Adoption,” featured insights from Niraj Patel of Greystone, Jim Whalen from BXP, and Robert Entin from Vornado. For those interested in selling and/or implementing CRE technology, this session was a highlight. Here’s what they had to say:
- Find Your Champions: Identifying and actively engaging champions within your organization can drive successful tech adoption.
- Structural Support: Monthly R&D meetings and roadmap reviews are essential for providing structure to innovation efforts, promoting transparency, and aligning tech initiatives with business goals.
Overcoming Integration Hurdles
- Data Management: Greystone highlighted the importance of getting data right, making it usable, and speeding its flow throughout the organization. This echoes what the AI panel had to say and was a common topic amongst other CRE tech professionals at the event.
- Intelligent Data Usage: Using technology for tasks like lease audits and data analysis can add significant value to your operations.
- Client-Centric Focus: Scaling proptech solutions involves understanding client needs.
- Cybersecurity Awareness: In an age of digital transformation, maintaining robust cybersecurity measures is vital.
- Structured Stakeholder Engagement: Adding structure to engage stakeholders is critical for successful scaling.
It is clear that the panelists have had success in implementing new technologies, which fuels Blooma’s optimism for the appetite for digital transformation in the commercial real estate industry. With the efforts of real estate operators, lenders, technology and data companies, and more, the industry is bound for continued progress.
Conclusion: The Blooma Advantage
CRETech 2023 highlighted the commercial real estate industry’s growing appetite for innovation and AI-driven solutions. The insights shared during the event underscored the urgency for businesses to embrace automation, streamline data management, and engage stakeholders effectively. Blooma’s automated CRE underwriting software is uniquely positioned to address these challenges, offering the potential for automated underwriting, data transformation, and enhanced decision-making.
As we navigate the complex terrain of the commercial real estate market, Blooma remains committed to empowering businesses with the tools they need to thrive in the face of evolving market headwinds. Whether you’re seeking automated underwriting, improved data management, or a partner in your journey toward innovation, Blooma is here to support your success in the coming year and beyond.
Rachel Gammons started her career as an underwriting analyst at Greystone, eventually taking the lead as an Underwriter for their agency lending platform. Today, she is a Client Engagement Director at Blooma and helps users solve for business challenges in real time.