Is your workplace conference going all ‘PropTech’?

How workplace conference agendas are changing tells us a lot about the future of corporate real estate.

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Marcus Bowen
September 2019

If asked, I still say I work in corporate real estate (CRE). But after 25 years, much has changed, and I now see my own CRE world as either laying bets on future demand or plotting a ones-and-zeros pathway to AI-assisted dynamic resource management. To see this change being played out, just look at the CRE conference offerings:  When I first attended CRE conferences the format was simple; brokerage-heavy networking events with a side show of service providers and developer/landlords. CRE events are now very much formatted with the occupier in mind and work around the now familiar ‘workplace’ agenda.

Over the last 10 years, the best proponent of this change is the CoreNet Global Summit programme, from Asia, Europe, and America. But nothing stands still of course; the North America summit in Anaheim, California (October 20-22) now takes this one step further and includes content that would not be out of place at a Proptech event. Of course, I’m delighted!  By way of example, here are three sessions that really caught my eye:

Cisco delivers a return on Experience with Workplace Transformation.

This is a collaboration between Cisco and iometrics with Anita Kamouri Ph.D., drawing on the results of a 10-year initiative, to show how employee experience data is used to build CRE credibility, drive change and create business value.  To quote Ms. Kamouri, “A key part of the session is how to integrate experience data into the CRE / Business Intelligence strategy, apply experience data for workplace transformation, and quantify the ‘Return on Experience’ using metrics such as attraction, retention, and productivity”.

For those interested in learning more, Ms. Kamouri will also be facilitating a ‘Part 2’ session (Getting The Most From Your User Experience Data) to discuss how to build an employee experience data program.

It’s Personal: How Employee Experience & IoT Push the Workplace Forward

In this session Mark Peterson, CEO, iOFFICE, Inc. will, by citing Kate Lister’s newest research on workplace/workforce ROI and drawing from case-studies from Vertex (high growth pharma), McKesson, and Sodexo, to show how technology is shaping the personalized Employee Experience.

Workplace Management 2.0, Fuelled by Human Experience and Technology

SAP’s Matthias Grimm, Global Head of Corporate Real Estate, and Tom Anderson, Solution Director, will share how CRE contributes to workspace optimization, and through case study examples give insight into what they have learnt so far and how those learnings can be translated into measurable and innovative utilization concepts.

There are plenty more with intriguing titles, such as: Unlocking Agile: Data-Driven Design for Data-Driven People and CRM 2.0: Emerging Practices to Advance Strategic Business Engagement.

Case Studies

What attracts me to these sessions is not just the subject matter, per se. It’s the case study format that provides a view into the challenges at an operational level. After all, it’s one thing to talk about it and quite another to ‘operationalise’ and sustain.

Tom Anderson of SAP makes the point in the SAP session outline. He states: “We will talk about the opportunities and challenges that SAP’s CRE organization faces internally and demonstrate how others can benefit from SAP‘s internal learnings through technology“.

Future Tech

Lastly, I suspect that there is an underlying message here: the traditional IWMS is only a start point; the future of workplace tech is seamless IoT and AI collaborations, with sensors and BI tools that predict needs. Here lies the cross-over with PropTech that I will be exploring in the Technology section of the upcoming Work&Place Annual Review to be published at the end of this year – see you then.

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