Transforming the Landscape: How the Internet of Things is Revolutionizing Commercial Real Estate

Ronald Monte | May 18, 2018

The Internet has revolutionized everyday life since its inception some thirty years ago, giving us access to resources that we never even dreamed possible before “www” became a part of everyday vernacular. And yet, as technology progresses, it becomes apparent that the Internet is just the start of the technological revolution. It is a stepping stone, not the end goal.

How IoT Will Impact Real Estate 

The real estate industry is not as tangible as a smartphone or tablet, for example, but mobile devices will grow in real estate. One impact of the Internet of Things on real estate is that cold, hard cash will never exchange hands; rather, payments will be handled on smartphones and computers. The handling of payments on a mobile device, rather than placing cash into the hands of a landlord, will allow renters to pay their rent whether near or far. 

What about buyers who are interested in viewing real estate properties? In the future, many buyers looking for a home will be able to view a given property or collection of properties by way of virtual and augmented reality while living states away. Virtual reality headsets, already present in mobile tech, will be used to tour properties without interested buyers calling a real estate agent to “show them the grounds.” Consumers will be able to tour a property while at the beach without compromising their getaway plans. 

Touring properties will become as easy as using an app on a smartphone; a tap of an icon on-screen will unlock the physical door — no key necessary. Artificial intelligence (AI) will come to light, as real estate participants ask questions of the AI that would traditionally mandate a response from a human representative. 

When it comes to rental properties and property owners will benefit, too. For example, landlords are responsible for fixing properties when water leaks, floods, electric, and other problems occur. Real estate properties of the future will report water leaks and power outages without renters filing over-the-phone or online maintenance requests. 

IoT will adjust the air conditioner or heater to fit the needs of customers while saving on electricity expenses in the long run. In cases of inclement weather, IoT systems will warn homeowners and renters in advance, making them prepared for the worst while expecting the best. 

Office space, as with homes and apartments, will see some impact. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics show that freelancers will comprise 50% of the American workforce by 2020. With the need to have work space, office space owners/renters will look for better accommodations for their work needs. IoT can show real estate owners what purposes are most common for work/office spaces, and help real estate owners provide ideal office designs. 

Even driving into the parking lot of an office space can change due to IoT: your building, internet-connected, can know when you enter the parking lot and turn on your office lights, computer, printer, and air conditioner or heater.

IoT companies transforming the landscape  

There are lots of potential uses for IoT in the real estate industry, but some companies are on the front lines of the effort. 

Washington, D.C.-based Aquicore is using IoT for Bill-Back Anomaly Detection, a feature that double-checks the tenant bill to ensure its accuracy. This will maintain customer satisfaction and landlord or property owner reputation. 

Utah-based Homie uses automation to help homeowners file paperwork and sell homes efficiently. Started in 2015, Homie has saved its customers over $22 million in realtor and sales costs


The Internet of Things in real estate can improve furniture, make payments and touring flexible without human realtors, and can ensure customer satisfaction, but the major win for IoT in the real estate industry is financial savings. “Especially in large sites, such as industrial zones, office parks, shopping malls, airports or seaports, IoT can help reduce the cost of energy, spatial management, and building maintenance by up to 30 percent,” says Gartner Research Vice President Bettina Tratz-Ryan. When it comes to IoT’s ability to pre-detect or pre-diagnose problems, 70% of surveyors in a Johnson Controls study believe that cost-consciousness could make it a game-changer. 

Technology requires cost, but savings make it worthwhile. In real estate as with any other industry, one can never save too much.

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