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Portland Business Journal: 4 technology takeaways from PSU's annual real estate showcase
Author: Jon Bell, Portland Business Journal
Posted: May 20, 2016

Read the original article in the Portland Business Journal.

According to Brendan Wallace, co-founder of Grey Wolf, a venture capital fund focused on real estate technology, most industries in the U.S. spend about 3 percent of their overall budget on IT. But in commercial real estate, it's just 0.03 percent.

"Real estate is still, in essence, using Excel and paper ledgers," he said. "It's improved, but there's still a long way to go."

Given real estate's technological lag, it made smart sense for the Portland State University Center for Real Estate's 11th annual Real Estate Conference to focus on innovation and technology this year. Held at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront this morning, the event drew more than 900 real estate professionals for a range of presentations and a panel discussion moderated by PSU president Wim Wiewel (right).

Here are a few highlights from the speakers:

Darlene Pope, senior vice president of energy and sustainability services for JLL Americas, who talked about the increasing importance of having smart buildings to attract top talent, especially in the tech arena."Right now, our buildings are really, really stupid. They are dumb. They're bricks and mortar and on and off switches. What we're seeing is this huge trend toward smarter buildings, buildings that are fully automated, that have your coffee ready for you when you get into the office. You can't attract a high-tech tenant if you have a low-tech building."

Brendan Wallace, co-founder of Grey Wolf, on how more and more these days, major real estate and office decisions are being made by younger executives who are heading up multimillion-dollar companies:"There are times when you are working with guys who are 27, who are four years out of school, and they are making decisions about where 400 people are going to go."

Hans Nordby, managing director at CoStar, talking lightly about where we are in the current real estate cycle and when it might ease up. "Right now, the economy is mostly not stupid like it was 10 years ago, which is good. If I was going to put money on (when it might slow down), I would say probably November 11th of next year right around 10 a.m. But it won't be as bad as the last recession."

Chad Yoshinobu, principal of Gensler Architects in Seattle,on how all the new employees that come to cities like Portland to work in tech need dynamic workspaces to help them connect with coworkers and make new friends."Tech wants to be social and tech needs amenities to do that. The ability to connect with other people is super important to all those new employees who are coming to these cities without family or friends around. They want to meet people, they want to get out, they want to collaborate, they want to sleep, they want all kinds of things in their workplace. The merging of what we like and where we work are all coming together now."