I recently saw an article online (from a friend of mine (Glenn Blumenfeld) who runs a similar independent property advisory practice in Philadelphia) talking about the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the property markets – pointing out that the uptake of AI will replace many of the traditional processing/research roles in professional services firms (legal/accounting) – who have been the largest occupiers of CBD office space in the past.
The article coincided with me attending the Institute of Directors’ conference last month in Auckland – where AI was a hot topic of discussion – and where NZ firms like Soul Machines are leading the way in creating new AI based solutions. This technology is already here and will have a dramatic impact across a range of industries – and as Glenn points out – will change how work is done by many businesses who have been traditionally large occupiers of space. Like a lot of technology it is often hard to understand the practical application at the outset but like the ‘internet of things’ it creeps up on you – and AI will be no different. This quote in Glenn’s article sums up what the future may look like for some businesses!
"The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man, and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment. " - Warren G. Bennis
For those of us still coming to grips with the future, Glenn does point out that new jobs will obviously be created via AI and the development of these new solutions will require people and no doubt office or space of some type. The question is whether these new industries will require the same number of staff as traditional industries and what that space might look like.
While some skills will be supplanted by automation and innovation, AI will enhance many others. Business leaders are beginning are understand the opportunities of listening, measuring and analysing how their teams collaborate and work, and how they can use this information to drive change.
A recent article on WorkDesign highlights how we will start to see more Building Technology Officers and Community Managers as organisations start to understand the huge effect environment plays in workplace satisfaction and success, and how smart-offices that can measure and understand how teams work can drive increased productivity.
Apart from the AI connection, the article also touches on my earlier blog The Commercial Real Estate Revolution – how Co-Working is Disrupting the Market,about the changing nature of the property markets. How disruptive technology and new businesses models are reducing business cycles and requiring occupiers to be more flexible – potentially driving the need for short term leases and more premises solutions that provide ‘space as a service’ – flexible, scalable etc.
As independent commercial property advisers and workplace strategists, both TwentyTwo and Glenn’s business Tactix, are well placed to provide impartial advice about what is the best option for occupiers moving forward. This is less about the property markets - and more about understanding each client’s future business model, how they will attract and retain talent, workplace analysis and how their premises/property portfolio can be best commercially-structured to cope with the changes ahead.
We might not be at the stage Warren G. Bennis talks about above, but we can expect dramatic change in the way many businesses work in the future.