7 essential real estate tech terms your team expects you to know

There’s little doubt that technology will continue to blaze new, innovative, and disruptive paths across corporate real estate (CRE) and facilities management (FM). This pace of advancement is both an advantage for achieving organizational objectives and a source of added pressure for CRE and FM professionals.

What’s the best way to keep pace with the new technologies, especially when you’re asked about them by co-workers or supervisors?

Start by learning the essential tech terms already driving today’s CRE conversations and trends.

Here are seven, must-know technology terms—straight from our FM subject matter experts—to broaden your tech knowledge and raise your awareness of where our industry is heading.

1. Building access control system – a.k.a. commercial access control system, physical access control system

This technology restricts access to a property (or certain areas at of a property) and prevents unauthorized entry or access to resources. These systems can be physical, digital, biometric, or some combination of all three.

Building access control systems also offer automated security features to reduce the cost of hiring security personnel and offer extra layers of authentication for real peace of mind.

2. Commercial property management software – a.k.a. commercial property software, commercial real estate property management software

This software simplifies and automates time-consuming processes like lease calculations, rent processing and vendor procurement. The software also helps property managers streamline accounting, reporting, communications, and maintenance requests, all with the goal of shortening lease lifecycles and reducing costs.

Commercial property management software saves time, money and human resources. Smaller staffs can manage more properties because time-consuming tasks are now handled by the software.

3. Computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) – a.k.a. work-order software, work-order-management software

A CMMS is a centralized software platform for facilities management. It manages work orders, preventative and routine maintenance, assets, logs, work histories, parts inventories, and reporting. Additional functionalities may include internal technician and vendor management, including payment and invoice handling.

The software brings order and automation to previously paper-driven, inefficient processes. A CMMS also saves time and money because the software streamlines communications, work order management and warranty coverage.

4. Corporate real estate (CRE) business intelligence (BI) platform – a.k.a. CRE BI software

A CRE BI platform is software built by and for CRE experts to tackle the specific data integration, visualization, and analysis challenges of organizations that occupy space. It takes data from an organization’s enterprise software, business processes, infrastructure, facilities, portfolio, HR, and other relevant areas and integrates it, ensures data quality, and generates dashboards, alerts, and CRE market-based benchmark comparisons that are clear and actionable.

CRE BI platforms reduce the frustration, time and expense of tracking data from multiple datasets from disparate, siloed sources. CRE professionals enjoy greater confidence in data collected from every CRE data repository in an organization.

5. Digital twin technology – a.k.a. digital twin software

Digital twin technology is simulation software that uses a mathematical model to create a replica (twin) of a physical object—a space, equipment, asset, etc. These virtual models allow users to simulate changes, disruptions, and failures and responses to them—all without affecting anything in the physical world.

The ability to simulate otherwise unpredictable conditions offers unparalleled insights to CRE and FM professionals about disaster recovery, thereby making property stakeholders feel more secure about dealing with unexpected events.

6. Integrated workplace management system (IWMS)

An IWMS is a single platform that improves processes across six key areas: real estate and lease management, space management, facilities management (FM), sustainability, capital project management, and employee experience. Most IWMS can be deployed with only one module, the full enterprise suite, or anything in between.

The software pulls together data from these areas, providing an integrated overview for facilities management and corporate real estate teams that act as a single source of truth for stakeholders. These systems raise the performance and confidence of CRE and FM professionals about identifying insights and scaling solutions across asset portfolio.

7. Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate (OSCRE)™ Industry Data Model (IDM)

The IDM from OSCRE is a template for data collection, standardization, and governance that’s critical to successfully implementing new technology, improving performance, and increasing efficiency in the CRE industry. The IDM includes more than 140 use cases developed in collaboration with OSCRE member organizations around the world—owners, occupiers, and investors in real estate as well as service providers, software firms, and consultancies that work with them.

Technologies developed using OSCRE IDM standards permit greater confidence in and reliance upon product-performance claims and resulting data, insights and trends.

Familiarizing yourself with the above terms will broaden your understanding of important CRE and FM technologies and position you and your team to take advantage of the opportunities they present.

To discover more information about these innovative technologies and learn additional tech terms, download our Technology Glossary for Corporate Real Estate.