The thickness of the program guide for the Outlook Conference is one indicator of the health of commercial real estate in Southwest Florida.
This year’s event on Jan. 22 in Bonita Springs, organized annually by the CCIM commercial real estate group, featured a program guide thick with 34 advertisements. Let’s just say this year’s tome was prime real estate for anyone involved in Southwest Florida’s office buildings, warehouses and retail centers.
While there were lots of new faces, the first speaker was familiar to all: Lee Arnold, the veteran commercial real estate leader who has guided his Colliers International firms through the wild swings that move the market in the Sunshine State. When Arnold speaks, everyone takes note.
Arnold never disappoints with his presentations and this time was no exception. No droning on about vacancy rates or square feet of absorption. Instead, Arnold warned his audience about the impact of artificial intelligence, big data and technology such as driverless cars on real estate.
A few examples of just-around-the-corner technology: augmented reality identifying restaurants on a street you’re traveling on, virtual reality to create model homes and using big data to determine the best sites for shops. “Everything we know about real estate is changing,” Arnold counseled.
This was a warning to commercial real estate brokers who still use outdated methods to help clients with site selection. Big data is here and commercial real estate professionals need to use it to help their clients find promising locations or be left out. “You’re going to have to deal with big data,” Arnold warned.