Almost nine years ago, I joined Cisco in its corporate real estate department. The team I joined was tasked to look at innovative ways to reduce the need and improve the utilization of slightly less than 20 million sq.ft of corporate real estate. I’d like to believe that this is where the Cisco Smart + Connected Real Estate practice was born. Now, almost nine years later and after several departmental and international job-role changes, I am still close to the transformation of the real estate industry.
My role has since expanded, but I am still passionate about the opportunities in front of us to help the construction and real estate industry embrace technology and innovation as it looks to improve productivity and efficiency in what is still a conventional industry.
I’d like to believe that we have taken the transformation to a whole new level in the Canadian marketplace, where I ended up settling after a few international stints.
One of the proof points for Canada’s success in real estate transformation, I believe, is the fact that the flight I am on from Toronto to Las Vegas is full of Canadians from the construction and real estate industry, and from the IT sector that supports the industry’s transformation. We are on our way to Realcomm.
For nearly 10 years, Cisco has been a supporter of Realcomm. Realcomm is a series of industry events that facilitates leadership and connections, and fosters learning and dialogue at the intersection of ICT and the construction and real estate sector. Jim Young, founder and producer of Realcomm, has been a long-time advocate of the transformation of the industry. His steadfast dedication to this cause seems the be bearing fruit. The event this year is proving to be bigger than ever, and attendees from all over the world will be attending the movement that Jim so passionately started 10-or-so years ago. Almost 100 Canadians are embarking on Las Vegas to participate in the conversation.
Some of the highlights of this year’s Realcomm include the Tuesday Bootcamp. During a Smart Building crash course, the Smart Building newbees have the chance to learn from the Smart Building veterans. The pre-conference Bootcamps are a great opportunity to “onboard” the next wave of converts as we move individuals, companies, and the industry forward.
The plenary sessions on Wednesday include a keynote of Geoffrey Moore. Geoffrey is a long-time friend for Cisco as he has guided us through our many inflection points (telephony, video, data center, and now the Internet of Everything). Now, with the Internet of Things, Geoffrey will speak to what it means to be an innovator and how to collectively move industries through the Chasm.
The following plenary panel also will proof to be exciting. Some of the largest IT powerhouses will take the stage to debate how the real estate industry can partner with, and learn from some of the 800-pound IT gorillas. Cisco, Google, Microsoft (all three speakers were with Cisco’s corporate real estate department with whom I started my Smart Building journey nearly 9 years ago), and Intel (with whom Cisco has a very exciting “Internet of Things” partnership) will undoubtedly instill some urgency with the mainly real estate audience.
The premise is that “everything” and “all things” will be connected to the Internet (not “if” but “when” – and don’t ponder it to long, it’s happening right now). It is up to the industries to unleash the power of all the data that is currently locked in so many silo-ed and proprietary systems. Cloud, data analytics, and the Internet-of-Everything will change the real estate landscape as we know it, forever.
Reacomm will be filled with great break-out sessions (Cisco is participating in three of them) and great vendors and manufacturers on the Exhibit floor. The Canadians will celebrate the transformation of its industry during a Realcomm 2014 Canada-Night after party on Wednesday – a party hosted by Cisco Canada and EllisDon.
Now, I can’t wait for this plane to arrive, so the fun can begin.