Key Highlights

  • 21C real estate translates into feelings of security and safety, not location
  • Newly valuable technologies now emerging to deliver healthier environments and flexibility in terms of size and function

Safety and security may be replacing real estate’s long-running mantra of “location, location, location.” Now that the umbilical from home to work has been lengthened if not severed by the COVID pandemic and the ability to work and learn remotely is more than real, buyers and renters want peace of mind.

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Newly valuable technologies have and are continuing to emerge that serve static residential structures that make them more flexible inside and out, more healthy and even improve workaday housing markets. What are some of these products that may have long-term uses once the COVID pandemic is past tense?

Transformed and Even Robotic Furniture

 The folding Murphy bed has saved space in cramped studio apartments for more than a century. Today, we’re looking at a robotic furniture company, Ori (short for origami) that launched a pocket office in 2015 to do the same. With just the touch to an app, a 7-foot tall sliding desk expands from a 30-inch cabinet to a full-sized desk with storage and library shelves. Another robotic furniture company, Bumblebee Spaces, creates “cloud” beds and furniture that can be suspended from the ceiling with heavy straps to maximize floor space. With more people spending more time at home, ideas and products such as these could have long shelf lives, particularly in multi-unit developments.

Healthier, Cleaner Buildings

 Peace of mind translates into sanitized surfaces and better air circulation to ward off/diffuse viruses. The problem, however, is that existing homes and older buildings (20 years and up) cannot support higher filtration standards, particularly in tight spaces like elevators, mail distribution areas and storage rooms.

Don’t be surprised to see electrostatic sprayers and foggers that charge particles of a liquid disinfectant to coat surfaces evenly plus a combination of ultraviolet light and hydrogen peroxide to neutralize viruses and bacteria. And don’t be surprised to see more touch-less tech like key fobs and smartphones to lock/unlock doors, call elevators and adjust thermostats.

Housing advocates are asking city and state governments to underwrite the cost of Wi-Fi in public housing renovations and new affordable housing units.

Apps and Data to Replace Face-to-Face & Paper-and-Pen Communications

 As we discuss in “Post COVID Part III – Your New Team Member – Robots,” data, bots and apps can and will be increasingly used to pay rent, talk with property managers, book and register the number of people using the on-site gym or child-care area and can help predict (80% accuracy rate) whether tenants will renew their leases.

Another program called “computer vision”(still under development) can “see” whether or not people are wearing masks, keeping socially distanced and/or are not complying with stated rules and restrictions. The problem with this technology is privacy violation. Certainly facial and biometric identification technology is available…the question is whether or not this tech ought to be used.


Thanks to The New York Times.

Also read: Ric Elias: A new perspective after near-death experience, Malls Becoming Homes for Older, Upscale Americans, What Does “Luxury” Mean in COVID Real Estate Market?

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