Showcasing Smart Buildings: Where Technology Meets Real Estate

The official description of this past week's Realcomm conference [held June 21-24] is heavy on industry jargon. It purports to be about "the intersection of technology, innovation and real estate operations."

But Lisa Woods added juice to the jargon, snapping it into perspective.

"We have over 40 billion square feet represented at this conference," Realcomm's vice president of strategy and business development said as a tech-charmed crowd floated around her at the San Jose Convention Center.

"We have attendees from Australia and South Africa, from Europe and the Middle East, and our job is to show how these guys -- who represent millions and millions of square footage -- how they can run those buildings more intelligently so that technologies can talk to one another, so systems can talk to one another, and so they can save energy and millions of dollars in energy bills."

There's a revolution in the commercial real estate universe, where the "internet of things" has come home to roost. Facilities managers have no choice but to get out of the boiler room and confront the new reality of connectivity, which is why Carlsbad-based Realcomm is hosting the conference through Friday at the convention center.

The hot topics?

"Energy is hot," said Woods. "Cybersecurity is hot -- it's becoming a more and more critical part of running these buildings. All these systems are coming together."

Technically, there are two side-by-side conferences, which have attracted about 1,600 attendees who wander the convention center with their iPads, checking out displays featuring security robots and explaining data-driven leasing.

One conference is dubbed Realcomm and is focused on technological solutions for budgeting, managing documents and mortgage arrangements, as well as HR functions -- the nuts and bolts of commerce, from which the "comm" in Realcomm is derived. The other is called IBcon and is about exploring the world...

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