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Back to School: 6 Tech You Should Know About To Not Be Held Back

Technology & Innovation

It’s that time of year again—the time when people of all ages head back to school to discover important content and critical thinking skills that may give them an edge as they progress through life, both personally and professionally.

With this in mind, let us as commercial real estate professionals prepare to go “back to school” as we, too, have some homework to do! It’s essential that we each recognize the unprecedented technological advances that are rapidly disrupting the status quo of the business world—and across our very own CRE industry.

Here’s a short primer on what you need to know to maintain professional relevance and perhaps even lead the charge into the future:

  1. Artificial Intelligence [AI]: AI is software-guided machine learning that's powered by enhanced network connectivity, rapidly advancing exponential computing power and improving data throughput (see 5G). It's the single greatest threat to virtually every business topic and business operator in the world, as it's often said that those who control AI will control the world.
  2. 5G [5th Generation]: This wireless infrastructure is being rolled out worldwide, and will likely become the primary form of data management by 2020 at speeds that are 10x-100x what we have now. 5G infrastructure is localized (note: it’s also a real estate opportunity to be monetized) so it will support enormous data-processing at the precise location where the data is being generated and consumed, ushering in a new era of automation intelligence capabilities. Check out my Tech Corner in the upcoming SIOR Report, where I go further into this new and exciting technology (it’ll be published and available at the end of this month!)
  3. Satellites: While you already know what they are, you may want to brush up on how they support GPS applications as these apps are on the verge of going to whole new levels—with AI and 5G as the drivers.
  4. Minerals Science: Are your batteries holding you back? Battery technology has been stubborningly linear, while computing power and related applications have gone exponential. It’s purely a matter of minerals science. Understanding the progression and opportunities in this field are essential as it is overdue for a game-changing breakthrough.
  5. Internet of Things [IoT]: Proclaimed to be “bigger than the internet itself,” IoT is proving to be worth the hype. We have 50 billion IoT devices already deployed, many of them networked together, generating troves of data. With AI and 5G added to the mix, IoT is set to explode everywhere.
  6. Blockchain: Also hyped, but not yet living up to its promise, blockchain(s) will soon become the status quo for all financial transaction (yes, that includes real estate deals) while also driving digital currencies everywhere. Here’s your chance to get ahead of the curve.

No matter where you are in your career, learning new skills and concepts now will help position you for success in the face of daunting and disruptive change. Maybe Walt Disney had it right when he once said: “Always be in the state of becoming.”

Likewise, Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, summed it up perfectly when he said: “You need to get to the future, ahead of your clients, and be there to greet them when they arrive.”

Self-study strongly recommended, pop quizzes optional.