IOT (Internet of Things)’s Future Impact on Real Estate

Tim Milazzo
October 25, 2017

For this week’s blog we caught up with Jenny Fielding, Managing Director of top start-up accelerator Techstars, long-time early stage company investor, and leader in the IoT (Internet of Things) industry. Jenny was an early backer of StackSource through Techstars, along with nearly 20 other early fintech investments. Prior to becoming an investor, Jenny was a successful founder and CEO.

You’ve written wide-read blogs and articles about the new face of retail, the future of housing, and the evolution of construction. Where do you think the IoT will have the biggest impact on the real estate industry?

We are starting to see signs of IoT’s impact on several areas of the real estate industry and we’ve only just scratched the surface. Take building maintenance, for example, an area that is currently benefiting from IoT infrastructure. Simply installing a few sensors provides the necessary data and analytics to help improve everything from elevator, HVAC, and security system reliability. This type of automation can have a huge impact on efficiency and maintenance costs.

What’s the biggest misconception about the IoT among those not closely following the space?

Changing behavior is often a barrier for new technologies. There’s a misconception that the amount of time and energy needed to implement IoT solutions is always significant. However, a few sensors and a dashboard can be easy to install and transformative even in very antiquated properties.

There’s been no shortage of debate about the future of retail and the effect of ecommerce on retail real estate. If you could deliver only one message to a head of a retail brand about how to set up their organization to survive the next decade, what would it be?

The only way to maintain an edge in retail is to think ahead — 10 years at least! Every brand should have a skunk works team that is developing and testing new technologies and methodologies. And just about everyone across the organization should think that this innovation team is absolutely nuts. Only then will a brand have a shot at staying ahead.

If I own a large portfolio of commercial properties, but I’m not well informed about the Internet of Things, what’s a good first step to getting connected?

IoT is big business for many of the large corporates. If you are already working with PwC, SAP, Bosch and others on other initiatives, they can plug you into their IoT teams and solutions. If not, sign up for my blog!

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