November 3, 2023
Gelyn de Castro

Real Estate Reimagined: Highlights from CREtech NY 2023 

CREtech’s significance in the global arena is underscored by its unparalleled ability to draw participants from every nook and cranny of the industry. With a turnout that included the most prominent Occupiers, CIOs, C-Suite Executives, and investors, CREtech New York 2023 provided an unparalleled platform for dialogue, discovery, and forward-thinking. 

This significant event took place at the Javits Center from September 19th to 20th. The two-day gathering not only showcased the latest advancements in real estate technology but also set the tone for trends and innovations set to redefine the sector in the coming years. 

This year, among the number of exhibitors showcasing cutting-edge solutions, Smart Capital stood out, offering a glimpse into the future of AI-driven underwriting, deal-making and portfolio management.  

Let’s unpack the broader discussions that dominated the event. 

In the rapidly evolving landscape of real estate technology, a standout discussion at CREtech New York 2023 was the transformative future of the workplace. Beyond just bricks and mortar, modern workplaces are fusing technology and functionality to cater to a new generation’s distinct aspirations. 

Adding depth to these discussions was the growing interest in building seamless workplaces. In this post-pandemic era, investors should take note of a surge in demand for spaces that support flexibility, fluid collaboration, and advanced technological integrations. The profitable offices of tomorrow aren’t just buildings – they’re dynamic ecosystems designed for productivity, well-being, and game-changing innovation. 

Key executive from a leading cloud-based smart building firm, deepened this perspective by pointing out the desires of the rising digitally native workforce – the millennials and Gen Z. By the imminent years, these cohorts will make up a significant 60% of the global workforce. For them, the workplace isn’t just a location but an experience. They expect environments that harmoniously meld digital and physical realms, facilitating effortless transitions between in-person and remote collaborations. 

Investors, take note: for this new generation, technology isn’t a mere luxury; it’s woven into their professional DNA. 

These insights send a clear message to businesses: to captivate and maintain this vibrant workforce segment, a revolution in workspace design is essential. The avant-garde office should echo the tech-savvy nature of its inhabitants, presenting them with intuitive digital tools that elevate their efficiency and overall experience. 

Highlighting this shift in workspace dynamics, One Vanderbilt, the towering marvel in Midtown Manhattan, serves as a prime example. Andrew Mathias, President of SL Green Realty, revealed their innovative mantra, stating, “The whole building is run by an app. This isn’t a mere trend; it’s a clear indication of where workplace tech integration is headed.”

Forget the old-fashioned security badges at One Vanderbilt. Access control is fluidly managed via their app. Beyond security, this digital tool amplifies the daily work experience, allowing inhabitants to order meals from in-house eateries and tap into exclusive offers from adjacent businesses. It’s a holistic vision where tech isn’t just facilitating entry but enriching the overall workplace journey. 

For savvy investors eyeing future real estate opportunities, it’s evident: the direction is towards workspaces that not only accommodate but amplify the tech-driven heartbeat of their modern occupants. The evolving office narrative is more than just about square footage; it’s about crafting spaces that resonate with the technological and experiential demands of the 21st-century professional. 

Merging Minds and Machines: AI Needs Data, and Data Needs AI

The corridors of CREtech New York 2023 buzzed with a shared enthusiasm for the confluence of AI and data. Most panelists, exhibitors, and attendees gave testament to an industry on the cusp of a digital transformation, driven significantly by the synergy between these two pillars. 

It’s becoming increasingly clear that AI and data aren’t just complementary; they’re symbiotic.  

Without data, AI is like a ship without a compass, directionless and ineffective. Betsy Reed, SVP of Starwood Capital Group, captured this sentiment succinctly when she said, “Data is the key, right? You can’t do AI without data.” 

This importance of data was not just a conceptual topic; it was rooted in real-world challenges faced by industry leaders. A good example came from JLL’s Yao Morin, a trailblazer holding the title of the brokerage industry’s first Chief Technology Officer with a specific focus on AI. Despite her background being purely technological with no prior CRE experience, JLL’s leadership approached her with a clear challenge. They recognized they had vast amounts of data but lacked an efficient system to organize and glean actionable insights from it. Yao’s hiring was a clear acknowledgment of the pivotal role technology, particularly AI, will play in shaping the future of real estate. 

The real power of AI, as emphasized by speakers at the event, lies not just in handling vast amounts of data but in deciphering and deriving meaningful insights from it. 

However, this potential is accompanied by its own set of challenges. As AI tools and applications continue to advance, industry professionals face the task of discerning the most effective strategies to harness their capabilities. 

While the potential of is undeniable, Doug Pearce, Executive Vice President of Waterton, urged caution. Referring specifically to the excitement around chatbot implementations, he noted, “AI is cool, but you try to boil it down to how you’ll use it, and that’s where I think a lot of us are struggling.” 

This sentiment was echoed throughout the event, with many professionals expressing a fear of missing out on the potential of AI, yet unsure of how best to harness it. 

Enter AI-powered platforms like Smart Capital Center. As the real estate sector increasingly embraces technology, Smart Capital Center distinguishes itself with its adept integration of data and AI. 

Smart Capital Center ingests data from rent rolls, financials, budgets, and projections. It aggregates external data in its data lake and leverages this information to provide instant, meaningful insights for properties, mortgages, and portfolios. 

This allows Smart Capital Center to provide foresight into areas of growth and potential market declines, offering actionable insights to its users. By harnessing this symbiotic relationship between data and AI, Smart Capital Center delivers solutions that aren’t just cutting-edge but are firmly anchored in tangible real-world applications. This trajectory signifies where the industry is moving, emphasizing that grasping and maximizing this bond will be key to future success. 

Balancing Act of Innovation:  Open-Source Integration vs. Security  

In an era where technology is steadily reshaping the real estate industry, there’s an obvious need for more open and integrated systems. However, some technology experts point out, that this integration should not come at the cost of security. 

The necessity of technology integration emphasizing that a cohesive tech framework is essential in overcoming industry barriers. 

The sentiment around integration was clear: the real estate industry needs to shift its strategies, moving beyond traditional data siloes and isolated technological platforms. 

This shift towards an open-API-forward approach, which essentially allows diverse systems to communicate seamlessly, is vital for the industry’s growth. Such an approach is not just about improving efficiency or enabling better solutions; it’s about breaking down longstanding barriers that have often hindered progress. 

Lending weight to this perspective, Murray highlighted the increasing solidarity within the industry, noting, “The industry is on the same team in a way that I think is more pronounced than it has ever been.” 

This sentiment was fervently echoed by Mary Anne Gilmartin of Mag Partners, who issued a rallying cry for change. “We cannot keep doing things the way that our grandfathers did in the built environment,” Gilmartin exclaimed, emphasizing the urgency to embrace technology, particularly AI. She further stressed the importance of data sharing, noting, “If we don’t start sharing our data, then I don’t think you can create this open AI system that allows us to aggregate it, compile it, analyze it, and push out solutions.” 

Yet, the march towards open-source and greater integration isn’t devoid of challenges. The most pressing concern? Data security. 

As the industry pivots towards a more connected and integrated future, safeguarding sensitive data becomes paramount. Introducing technology into real estate brings with it the potential pitfalls of data breaches and privacy concerns. As the dialogue at CREtech explained, “When you bring in tech, understanding the security aspects of data privacy is going to be critical for adoption.” 

In essence, the pathway forward is one of balance: integrating open-source approaches that encourage collaboration and innovation while ensuring data security protocols are in place. Companies like Smart Capital Center are leading the way in this regard, prioritizing data protection measures. It’s not merely about getting ready for the future; it’s about securing it, too, and Smart Capital Center remains committed to this dual imperative. 

Tech-Driven Sustainability: Addressing the Environmental Impacts of the Built World 

In recent years, the drumbeat for sustainability has grown louder across industries, and the real estate sector is no exception. A pronounced theme at CRETech New York 2023 was the emphasis on leveraging technology to champion sustainable practices, especially considering the built environment’s significant contribution to global emissions. 

The data is indeed sobering. The built environment is responsible for a staggering 37% of global emissions, presenting a clear and urgent call to action for industry leaders. Within this statistic, major culprits like HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems and lighting stand out, consuming vast amounts of energy and thereby exacerbating the carbon footprint of buildings.  

For companies and stakeholders aiming to make a change, it’s clear that the way forward is grounded in data. As emphasized by Ilene Goldfine from Hines, a global real estate investment firm, collecting and analyzing data can drive effective sustainability strategies. When armed with accurate and comprehensive data, decision-makers can initiate actionable changes, tweaking building operations to minimize environmental impact. 

As Goldfine insightfully commented, possessing the right data allows stakeholders to “pull levers” and see tangible changes in building operations, especially from an ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) perspective. 

Echoing these sentiments, Scott Rechler, Chairman and CEO of RXR, emphasized the pivotal role of technology in sustainability. According to him, technology not only empowers people to comprehend their energy consumption patterns but also paves the way for a sustainable future.  

He affirmed, “Sustainability is going to be a big thing that’s going to be impacted by technology, and it’s going to be crucial to empowering people to understand how much energy they’re using.” 

The discussions at CREtech underscored the crucial relationship between sustainability in real estate and technology. The built environment is the source of nearly 40% of global CO2 emissions. As such, technological integration in this sector is not an option but a necessity. 

Evidence abounds on technology’s transformative role in this arena: Building Information Modeling (BIM) can result in more sustainable designs and materials; IoT-integrated smart building systems lead to average energy savings of 30-500%; and advances in solar tech have made it more efficient and cost-effective, with solar panel costs dropping by over 80% in the past decade. 

Embracing these tech-driven solutions not only combats the built environment’s environmental challenges but also charts a path toward a more sustainable future for all. 

The Power of AI-powered Platforms: Data-Driven Investment Decisions 

In the bustling ecosystem of CREtech New York 2023, Smart Capital Center stood out as a leader of AI-powered Underwriting, Portfolio Insight, and Debt Management Platform. 

From our discussions on the significance of data and AI in the real estate industry, it becomes evident that the future is defined by the intelligent use of these technologies. Smart Capital Center has internalized this vision already. SCC’s capabilities lie in a steadfast commitment to harnessing the potential of data and AI. By doing so, SCC empowers investors with ultrafast underwriting and deeper portfolio insights. This not only ensures that real estate investment decisions are more informed but also cuts transaction costs as routine tasks are shifted to machines. 

With Smart Capital Center, your investment and asset management teams will: 

  • Significantly speed up deal underwriting: In the fast-paced world of CRE, time is often equivalent to money. Smart Capital significantly expedites the deal underwriting process, enabling businesses to assess and finalize deals with unparalleled speed and precision. 
  • Cut transaction costs: In the traditional CRE landscape, manual processes often inflate transaction costs, both in terms of time and resources. Smart Capital Center addresses this by shifting from manual workflows to automated, AI-driven processes. By streamlining these operations and leveraging data-driven insights, the platform not only reduces unnecessary transaction expenses but also ensures that deals progress efficiently, making them both swift and cost-effective. 
  • Get real-time deep property and portfolio insight: Smart Capital Center aggregates vast amounts of data to provide real-time, in-depth insights into property, loans or portfolios. This data-driven approach allows investors to make informed decisions, anticipate market trends, and strategically allocate resources. 

Tech, Trends, and Tomorrow 

Reflecting on CREtech New York 2023, the transformative power of technology in the real estate realm comes sharply into focus. The future is not merely anchored in the tangible constructs of bricks and mortar. Instead, it hinges on the symbiotic relationship between tech-driven innovation and age-old real estate traditions. 

Discover how Smart Capital Center can drive speed, enhance insight, and cut costs for any real estate transaction. 🚀🚀🚀

or contact us at or call (866) 725 – 0555

Smart Capital is the world’s first real-time valuation and mortgage platform. It empowers real estate investors with institutional-grade insight, unbiased investment analysis, ultra-fast property valuation & deal underwriting, low-cost transaction support, free portfolio monitoring, and capital to enable smart investment decisions and fast dealmaking.

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