Austin Real Estate Experts Deliver Key Insights and Predictions
Since our founding in 2009, Integrate Agency has helped numerous real estate companies in Houston, Austin, and across Texas grow their businesses. We’ve strengthened their brand awareness, created buzz about new developments, repositioned historic developments and more. So, it made perfect sense for the Real Estate Council of Austin (RECA) to invite our Director of Sales, Emily Cisek, to moderate a panel on the Austin real estate industry’s technology boom at their annual Exchange Conference.
As one of the event’s “Hot Topic Breakout Sessions,” Ms. Cisek sat down with four expert panelists:
- Tristan Garner, Senior Director of Virtual Construction at Ryan Companies
- Danny Harrington, Vice President of Project Management at Colliers International and President of Skyview Imagery
- Ben Montgomery, President of Premium Parking
- John Orfield, Principal of BOKA Powell
The resulting talk crackled with energy, as the participants discussed the latest tech that’s making commercial development and construction easier and more efficient than ever. They also addressed many of the crucial consumer concerns about data, privacy and user experience that could stem from how this technology is implemented.
Adapting the Latest Innovations in Technology for Real Estate and Construction
These experts were very excited to talk about the present and future of the wider real estate industry, specifically in regard to how their plans to implement cutting-edge technology at their companies.
For Ben Montgomery, the future of public parking is mobile and gate-less. Mobile payment itself isn’t new, but Austin is definitely heading in the direction of mobile payment for parking garages. In essence, you can’t get stuck in a parking garage at an inconvenient hour if the gate is gone! But with all of these mobile transactions and more processes being handled by AI and smart tech, Montgomery fully recognized that companies operating garages with this technology must have a concrete plan for data collection and storage.
For John Orfield, the possibilities of augmented reality in the design process are endless. With 3D design at their fingertips, designers and architects can make decisions faster, clients can be more engaged, and the process immediately becomes 10 times more collaborative.
Cameras and drones will lead the way in the construction process of the future, according to both Tristan Garner and Danny Harrington. Through camera technology, Garner stated that project managers and general contractors can know anything from when a wall has been poured, an item or worker onsite has fallen, or when contractors have arrived for onsite meetings. Using drone management, Harrington boasted of the ability to eliminate the hard-to-schedule site visits and inspections. Instead of negotiating the calendars of multiple stakeholders, mapping, inspections, and site visits can instead be accomplished through meticulous footage and thermal recordings.
The Challenges to Overcome
These futuristic uses of technology in real estate and commercial developments sound incredible, so why isn’t this already our reality? Cisek dug deeper into the setbacks and natural challenges that come with the real estate industry in general and Austin in particular.
For starters, the introduction of drones and camera technology brings up important questions about privacy, property lines, and public spaces that are on everyone’s mind. To whit – What WILL the neighbors think?
For Garner and Harrington, learning how to educate contractors, subcontractors, and neighbors on the benefits and purpose of these cameras within the scope of a project has been the major learning curve. Building effective coordination, communication, and cooperation remains the ultimate goal for these efforts.
Similarly, Montgomery touched on tech adoption as a struggle, but for different reasons. With parking garages, you work with different types of customers every day: mobile-friendly, visiting for a few days, scheduled parking, a quick drop off and more. Whether someone interacts with your garage once a day or only once in their lifetime, adopting a single mobile payment method may not be the most convenient touchpoint for everyone who interacts with your technology.
Both of these challenges dredge up the two biggest concerns regularly voiced by the public: Where is all of this data stored – and are you selling it to someone else?
Leveraging Marketing & Public Relations
After discussing the bright future of real technology trends and the accompanying challenges, we discussed the solutions and arguments our experts have developed when leveraging marketing and public relations.
Drones and augmented reality are beloved by the tech-savvy of Austin, so they have easily translated by Harrington and Orfield’s companies. Their marketing efforts have captured content across the city and used it to demonstrate their feasibility in commercial development projects. Having a polished product a client can see right away – whether a project is finished or not – can create a strong and trusting brand-identity. Orfield also noted that it didn’t hurt in the recruitment process for new talent, either!
The nature of commercial real estate in Austin moves faster than the speed of light, so even the speed of technology has to keep up. Garner touched on the benefits of camera-enhanced renderings for the sales process. By using these renderings for senior living, multifamily condos, and related facilities, customers could pick and choose everything from bathroom tiles and kitchen countertops to interior décor. These interactive and customizable sales experiences resulted in properties fully leasing out before they were even built.
Montgomery mentioned how mobile apps and experiences have created valuable touchpoints for Premium Parking. These enhancements include refined and clear messaging of payment methods and even mobile reminders of the floor where you parked your car. And haven’t we all been there?
The session ended with a buzzing Q&A of eager industry folks ready to take the next step in innovating and marketing their businesses. As we walked out of the room, we overheard conversations ranging from logical implementation and privacy politics to basic strategies on how to compete in their rapidly growing industry.
Integrate Agency Wants to Help Your Commercial Development
Is your business ready to grow, say something, or improve its online presence? Whether you’re a real estate firm, mortgage broker, or construction company, Integrate stands ready to help you find fresh success. Specializing in public relations and digital marketing for commercial real estate companies, our experts can tailor solutions that solve your problems and help you compete in a crowded market. We’ve helped new commercial developments establish themselves and older facilities reposition themselves to attract new tech companies.
Set yourself apart from the pack! Talk to Integrate today.