The biggest uncovered business story of the year

July 6, 2016 admin

Too often as business professionals we focus on the here and now, and sometimes we miss other important macro events that will have the most long-term effect on our lives, both professionally and personally. One of these macro events that hasn’t received much coverage was an announcement in fall 2015 by Alphabet, Inc., parent company of Google, stating searches on mobile devices surpassed those on traditional laptop and desktop computers for the first time. This announcement was handled more like an “aside” than the monumental shift that it really is. Along with so many other shifts in human behavior, this particular change shows how much we’re moving into a new dynamic in terms of culture and demographics.

Just let this settle in for a moment. What does it mean that we’re no longer tethered to a machine fixed to a table or even our own lap? What does this say about a newfound mobility where one no longer needs a “static” location to work and live? We don’t need to discuss the applications that come with mobile devices as they’re a result of this mobility. In other words, apps such as Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, etc. can only thrive on a piece of equipment that moves with its owner.

Bringing it back to our own business reality, the implications for real estate are huge, and those who look at the long-term horizon are going to understand that this poses both threats and opportunities — as is the case with most paradigm shifts in human behavior. It’s not beyond hyperbole to compare this change with the invention of the wheel, the carriage, the automobile and the airplane. Each one of these new modes of transport has pushed us toward the worldwide diaspora that we know today as Planet Earth. Every time one of these new “devices” took hold with the masses, this newfound mobility expanded our reach.

Does this mean the “sharing” economy is here to stay? Probably, but it won’t look like we think it will look, and probably will last only 10 years in its current shape, if that long. Does it mean that the “millennial” way of life is the new normal? Again, probably not, if you consider the countercultural movements of the late 1960s and how the baby-boomer generation eventually settled down into more conventional lifestyles, including taking on the financial burdens of mortgages and car payments.

There are a few concepts to consider with this kind of change, and those include looking at how people are living through their relationship with work and overall living experiences. If we are no longer mandated to sit in one place, it’s most likely that much of how we will live will resemble much of the multimedia world we’re becoming accustomed to. Which means those with foresight will see opportunities in finding ways of breaking through, and that means finding ways to make real estate investment decisions that incorporate all these channels of work and lifestyle.

Those who don’t see this recent announcement by Alphabet as a harbinger of change might find themselves living in a very micro world.

Jonathan_Schein-NEWThe views, statements and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Institutional Real Estate, Inc.

Not a subscriber to IREI Insights blog? Sign up to receive alerts on new blog posts.

Jonathan Schein is the senior vice president and managing director of business development of Institutional Real Estate, Inc.

Previous Article
Micro-unit apartments: a win-win
Micro-unit apartments: a win-win

What is a micro-unit apartment? Micro-unit apartments were examined in a report by the Urban Land Institute...

Next Article
More signs of a Bay Area tech bubble
More signs of a Bay Area tech bubble

Signs of a technology bubble in the San Francisco Bay Area are increasing. This past January, Institutional...