Jack Eimer, president of the Central Region of Transwestern, a privately held full service real estate firm, talked recently about the future impact of technology on the users of office space with Marc Allen, Transwestern property manager.
The discussion was part of Transwestern’s Ask the Expert series. In this particular issue, Eimer asks Allen to speak to the technology changes that will impact those users of office space who are signing 10-year leases today.
Allen responds by saying, “Imagine what it would be like if employees commuted to work in automated cars. After arriving at work, the employee’s car would drive back home – alone. At the end of the workday, it would come back to pick up its owner, or perhaps even carpool participants. The cars will probably be electric so all the extra transit would not cost a fortune in gas. Additionally, the commute time could be productive rather than stress-inducing. It may sound like science fiction, but driverless vehicles are already being used successfully by Google, mining/minerals firm Rio Tinto and others.”
I would follow up to ask what impact that technology has on the building of massive parking garages as part of those new office buildings of the future. I would also ask whether not having the massive garages will lower future rent rates?
Eimer asks Marc about the “work anywhere thinking” and how it will impact the design of the new office workstations. Allen replies, “Technology is accessible that will completely transform our concept of a work station. Bionym is pre-selling a wristband device with heartbeat identification that could make assigned desks a thing of the past since it addresses employee concerns of not having 'their own space.' As an employee approaches a generic workspace, he is granted access to all of the technology tools, as well as his professional and personal data.” The impact of that technology on the construction industry can also help solve some of the jobsite security issues that many owners, contractors, subcontractors and property managers are facing today.
Bottom line is that whether you are a developer, contractor, subcontractor or tenant, you had best be taking a hard look at these emerging technologies and their impact on tenant office space, building design, construction and long term use.