Photo courtesy of ULI

As a council member for ULI, I regularly attend their spring and fall national meetings. I belong to the Responsible Property Investment Council (RPIC), and as tradition, at this year’s fall meeting our council had a number of interesting speakers. One of them, John Picard, spoke of the top five technological innovations affecting real estate, and I thought it would be of interest to others to check a few of them out:

  • View Glass: We’re currently considering this glass for two of our Boston-area projects. Picard described it as “like sunglasses for buildings,” reducing the energy load on the building and eliminating the need for blinds and shades. This “intelligent” glass can change tint or color based on electricity that runs through it and can be controlled from an app on your mobile device. We’re considering it because it helps alleviate waste in buildings that would otherwise have a greater heating/cooling load.
  • Lumenetix: Picard spoke about how we are only just beginning to know how natural light heals and affects mood. Lumenetix has made progress in this area with a circadian rhythm monitor/adjuster. This simple, tiny device produces full spectrum light similar to that found in nature. “It’s transformative technology,” said Picard. “You put it overhead and it changes circadian rhythms to adjust for jet lag, replicating a continuous wide spectrum of natural light.”
  • Disney MagicBand: At Disney Parks, you can use their own technology, which resembles a wrist watch or body monitor, as an all access card for all things Disney. With the swipe of your wrist you can enter the parks, unlock your Disney Resort hotel room and buy food and merchandise. You can even jump to the head of the line for your favorite ride!
  • Enlighted: While originally designed to dim lights, this company’s product has a sensor that enables a heat map view of all the people in a given area of a building. This is particularly helpful for fire safety, providing a view of every floor that has the device mounted on overhead lights. Also, the sensors can talk to a smart carpet.

While all of these innovations were fascinating, the most significant takeaway from Picard’s presentation was his reminder that the built world today should be thought of as full of “waste fuel” to be mined. Here at Arrowstreet, we’ve certainly been looking at bringing new life to old buildings, particularly with our new project at Congress Square, and we look forward to seeing what else we can achieve with these new technologies.

Topics: Urban Design, Technology, Sustainability