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Do commercial real estate innovations actually exist?

Do innovations even exist?

Scanning a few posts last week and ran across some interesting comments that dealt with innovation. Innovation and commercial real estate. 

Should those two things even be in the same sentence? 

Let’s be honest, the two together do not exactly bring visions of business on the cutting edge. Well, maybe they should.

Areas of innovation

Property Marketing- Come on people can we stop the 57 e-mails I get each day with a Google map and an arrow pointing to a piece of dirt?  That’s it, that’s the best you can do?  Is there nothing else of use online or in your marketing department to “push” the message out?  How about stacking, geo-fencing, augmented reality, video, audio, 3-D integration, just to name a few.

Data- Three words, Realtors Property Resource (RPR).  Data sourced for every building in the country. Yes, that includes commercial buildings.  I said every building. Reggie I am still waiting for my call.  Still waiting.

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Building Standards or Leed– This will change the values and perception of every property.  Not completely sold?  Tenants and users are starting to sue owners and developers who promised green and did not maintain the standards.

Mobile- The mobile environment is not kids with cool toys.  It puts the power of all data in the consumer’s hands in real time and place.  Commercial real estate equals data and space.

Broker ratings– Oh no! You and your personal brand will be on view for everyone to see.  Building owners will rate your services and put it online for everyone to see.  Don’t go online?  Hide!  No one will find you and no one will use or trust you.

The Building Itself– Every thing as in everything will start at the building.  Data, leasing stats, maintenance management, valuation, marketing, historical data, tenant history and comments, energy ratings, and on and on.

A little scenario

You’re sitting at home in front of your 3-D flat screen and decide to pull up Google TV. You remember a building downtown your buddy said he put under contract. You type in the address and click on the link.  There you find the exact location available via a 3-D map and a separate animation of the building itself.  Clicking on the building animation allows you to separate each individual floor and look at the tenants who occupy the actual space.  Clicking on separate floors you get a glimpse of the tenant mix and type of user in the building.  Hey, you can even read some comments from actual users and their experiences.  

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Further browsing allows you to see the complete historical data on the building itself.  The developer, contractor, management company, maintenance and facilities contractors and also their comments about the building, its use and their experiences.  You can see who bid on those services and your buddy the HVAC contractor can bid online in real time also.  Oh and there is your broker buddy’s info also with stats on him his firm and what they have done to market  and service the building. Sound too far fetched?

Can it happen?

These are a few areas and examples of needed innovation in commercial real estate.  What other possible areas or examples can you come up with?  I’ve said it many times. “There are a ton of smart people in the commercial real estate business.”  Where are you?

CC Licensed image courtesy of mojodenbow photo studio via

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Written By

Broker/Owner in Lafayette, IN, whose passion is Commercial Real Estate with focus on Technology, Social Media, and Networking.



  1. Steven Ladin

    June 1, 2010 at 6:14 pm


    Below is your answer to the Commercial Real Estate Theory of Relativity:

    Brick & Mortar + Innovation =

    #CrushIt ; )

  2. Judy Grundstrom

    June 1, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    I can’t believe this article doesn’t mention architects. What is a “3-D map”? Architects call it BIM (Building Information Modeling) and are the innovators of this technology and the users driving it.

    Commercial real estate brokers, contractors, owners, and architects will have to work together now and in the future to really bring about innovation in the industry.

    Judy Grundstrom, AIA

    • Duke Long

      June 2, 2010 at 7:55 am

      Your comment: I’m ready let’s go!!!!
      “Commercial real estate brokers, contractors, owners, and architects will have to work together now and in the future to really bring about innovation in the industry.”
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Jason Sandquist

    June 1, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    isn’t LEED just a scam, err I mean marketing ploy brought on by developers/builders 😉

    • Duke Long

      June 2, 2010 at 7:53 am

      I somewhat agree with your comment about LEED. Is it just a political/money making scam targeted at building owners or a standard worth pursuing? HMMM interesting!

  4. Dave Lewand

    June 2, 2010 at 1:21 am

    Good stuff, Duke. As you know, sometimes commercial real estate industry veterans are not the best candidates for early adoption of creative property-specific marketing strategies. Often times, expectations have been forged between players on all sides of a piece of property as to how that property is properly presented. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s not possible for at least one of those players to develop a new set of expectations when something truly impressive emerges!

    What makes this CRE market downturn more interesting than previous (this is not by my recollection but from talking to veterans) is that impressive – AND COST-EFFECTIVE – marketing/research technologies can be utilized at very little cost when compared to similar investments of past downturns.

    So why aren’t these less costly and more sophisticated marketing/research technologies in the hands of CRE professionals? I carry your same frustrations in this regard, Duke! There are whole networks of developers and designers that other industries are finding. The residential real estate industry has fared better in its communication with technology leaders. Like you, I’d like to see CRE mirror some of these moves and unleash the best technology currently available. Like the residential market, it won’t cure market conditions but it will equip players to best survive and eventually overcome!

  5. Marc Knight

    June 2, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Great post and interesting ideas. Not sure if it will be followed though…

  6. Jim Garrett

    June 2, 2010 at 9:22 am


    Great stuff. With over 27 years of CRE experience, I’m still amazed at how excited my colleagues get over a new brochure. In my opinion, the only improvements in 27 years to marketing brochures have been the addition of colors, better graphics and, if we email them, links to other static material.

    In a recent study done by industry expert Chris Lee, PhD, the average age of a commercial real estate agent is 46.2 years old. The average age of a principal or owner of a commercial real estate brokerage firm is closer to 55.

    I’m not saying that my peers lack the ability to innovate, but maybe the motivation. The real drive for change will come from the consumer side. The end user is changing the way in which they process information and as a result will force our industry to change the ways in which we deliver the information.

    Keep up the great work.

    Jim Garrett, MCR
    EVP of Network Operations
    NAI Global

    • Duke Long

      June 3, 2010 at 7:03 pm

      Agreed and thanks for the comments and opinions!

  7. Robert Hahn

    June 2, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Good stuff Duke 🙂

    I’d like to see the Shiva Ranks for most of these innovations, however. What does any of them destroy? Who do they put out of business? 🙂


  8. creGROW

    June 4, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    RT @BarbiReuter Commercial Real Estate Innovations? @dukelong's latest post on Agent Genius #CRE #innovation

  9. Ben Shoemate

    June 4, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    RT @creGROW:RT @BarbiReuter Commercial Real Estate Innovations? @dukelong's latest post on Agent Genius #CRE #inn…

  10. Steven Ladin

    June 8, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    @KellyGroehler Very cool but… See @JasonSandquist 's take in the comment section on this: #CRE

  11. Ken Ashley

    June 16, 2010 at 1:34 am

    @dukelong like the blog post: #cre #innovation

  12. Michael

    June 16, 2010 at 4:26 am

    RT @kenashley: @dukelong like the blog post: #cre #innovation

  13. Innovation Junkies

    June 16, 2010 at 4:59 am

    RT @kenashley: @dukelong like the blog post: #cre #innovation

  14. RefiCap

    June 19, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    @agentgenius Do commercial real estate innovations actually exist?

    YES, it's called

  15. CREOpoint

    July 24, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Do #CRE innovations actually exist? from CREOpoint member Duke Long

  16. antonyslumbers

    July 24, 2010 at 9:09 am

    RT @CREOPoint: Do #CRE innovations actually exist? from CREOpoint member Duke Long

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