Technology, combined with creative thinking, has allowed for a host of new innovations that are either currently shaking up commercial real estate or have the potential to do so in the near future. Some of these innovations have caused an extended arc of changes within the industry that still hasn’t reached its conclusion. Here’s a look at five of these innovation areas and how they stand to revolutionize the industry.

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  • Transportation—From the sharing economy’s ride services like Uber and Lyft to driverless cars (which, we have been promised, are coming to a neighborhood near you soon), transportation innovation is changing the way we look at everything from the economy to how we design buildings and outside space. The more these innovations are adopted, the less we need surface parking lots and parking garages in or near the buildings people use, which means space that otherwise would be used for parking can now be used more efficiently, in the form of additional building space or as public gathering areas.
  • Collaborative space—In fact, property searches for gathering areas in spaces such as offices, residential communities, retail settings and hotels are growing more popular and more necessary. These are often Wi-Fi enabled to allow for working, communicating, entertaining and even marketing. As silos come down in all areas of our lives and people crave more interaction (think social media) and instant information, collaborative space will likely grow more appealing and sophisticated.
  • Repurposing—With construction costs rising, affordable housing solutions are being sought even more fervently. From developers creating livable homes out of train containers to the conversion of blighted motels to housing for homeless and special-needs residents, affordable-developers are coming up with innovative solutions to this growing problem.
  • E-commerce 2.0—Online shopping has been around for a while, but this, too, is growing more sophisticated. Customers can subscribe to Internet buying clubs and monthly or weekly delivery services of all kinds, from meal kits to clothing to razors to essential oils. The more regularly you buy, the more you save. So, what effect is this innovation having on retailers like grocery and apparel stores? Find out here. The drive toward customer service, convenience and value will likely become stronger at the brick-and-mortar level as consumers have even more choices in how they get their goods.
  • Drones—And speaking of how they get their goods, drones may be the next new method of delivery for goods of all kinds. This innovation has the potential to disrupt where manufacturing and distribution facilities are located and the cost of supply-chain management. If you’re a manufacturer whose trucking and shipping costs are diminishing due to the use of drones, how will this affect your bottom line? Will there be new line items, or will you reduce your price and become more competitive? All of these issues could affect the type, size, location, and capabilities of industrial buildings.

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