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Future Real Estate Tech...Today

written by
Clifton Harness

A great question by Cameron Pawelek at a ULI event, "What does the future of real estate technology look like?" and I did not have a great answer. My work on TestFit (instant multifamily planning) over the past year has blurred out everything else. But what I do have is a list of around 100 companies I have bookmarked. Here are the top ten companies or ideas I have come across:

  1. Floored - This company can take a 3d scan and turn it into 3d marketing and test fits for office spaces. This is them at Tech Crunch in 2013. They have since been acquired by CBRE
  2. FLUX - This company started out analyzing the real world and selling 3d models of maximum building envelopes--when that got too complicated (I guess?) they pivoted to data exchange for design software. Incredibly, with their plugin you can design a building in Excel and push it to Sketchup or Rhino. Here is how it works.
  3. Sidewalk Labs - (owned by Google) Internet of things applied to the built environment. Their idea is to make things like parking spaces smarter. Imagine typing into google maps a location downtown and it automatically routes you to the nearest parking space. Toronto is the lucky winner for all of that Google money!
  4. Abvent - Their product, Twinmotion, is incredible for real-time visualization of BIM models. Just watch this. This might be the most impressive display of technology on this list. Owners and Architects can easily see design with the best method we have: photo-realistic renderings.
  5. Archilogic - Send them a floor plan, and they send you back a 3d world for you to populate with furniture and other assets. Check it out. This company is related to Floored, but with a focus on other building types.
  6. StreetMix - Easily create and share street sections. This is not a company, but an open source effort. Try it for yourself. This tool allows new-urbanist ideas to be shared easily.
  7. WhyHotel - This is an outstanding idea. During lease-up, if you have a large number of vacancies, turn your building into a hotel. This might help your IRR a smidgen (or a lot?). They have a great video explaining it. I am not sure of the economics behind it, but if they figure it out, AirBNB might have found some competition.
  8. Pair - Want to see how that massive couch will fit in your tiny living room? Go no further. Pair 3d has an app for that. This is a great consumer-focused application that gives 3d modeling to anyone with a smartphone.
  9. City Form Lab - This group of geniuses at MIT solve city-related problems. I recommend watching this video on Urban Network Analysis. This helps give scientific tools to analyze the connectivity of a city or region.
  10. Automated Parking Garages - These are typically steel-framed structures, meaning they will be easily disassembled in a future where there is no parking garages (right?) and they are extremely efficient with their land use.

Does anyone else have an impressive tech company or idea centered on Real Estate I should know about?If you are interested in instant multifamily site planning, feel free to try TestFit today.

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