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MIT Tech Tracker Charts the Future of Proptech

“What is the future of technology and innovation for real estate?” It’s a question that gave rise to an educational workshop conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and JLL, which in turn culminated in the launch of a webtool called the Tech Tracker. The MIT Tech Tracker—reportedly an industry first—scouts, analyzes and predicts the future of technology within the built environment.  

“We wanted to break through the noise and hype to analyze the path of technologies—from when they’re a kernel of an idea in an inventor’s brain to when they’re commonplace in the real estate marketplace,” said Dr. Andrea Chegut, director of MIT’s Real Estate Innovation Lab.  

“The Tech Tracker does that and more by replacing gut feelings about what’s ‘hot’ with actual data and machine-learning algorithms,” she continued. “It takes the mystery out of change and simplifies the ever-changing world of technology within the built environment.” 

Within that ever-changing world, a whole host of proptech innovations has risen—and the Tech Tracker offers profiles on thousands of these innovations, from augmented reality to Martian concrete. Users can search or view the top 25 real estate-related technologies currently gaining momentum, along with details about related technologies, when the technology was first born and how soon it could be a mainstay of the built environment.   

“Real estate assets, investments and leases tend to have a long lifespan,” said Ben Breslau, JLL’s global chief research officer. “With the pace of innovation, it’s critical to understand what technologies will be coming and their potential impact in the future. For the first time ever, there’s a single place where we can research and understand the pipeline of technologies from inception to the market.” 

He added, “This tool allows us to think through the implications on our ability to meet net-zero carbon targets, create dynamic hybrid workplaces and improve the resilience of our buildings. We are honored to have been a part of this unique collaboration that combines the brightest minds in academia with our forward-thinking, real-world experience.” 

The Tech Tracker’s top 10 technologies as of September 2021 include: 

  • 5G 
  • Virtual Reality 
  • Internet of Things (IoT) 
  • Graphene 
  • Augmented Reality 
  • Photogrammetry 
  • Connected Home 
  • Aramid Fibers 
  • Exoskeleton 
  • Carbon Nanotube 

“Closing the knowledge gap between the built environment and technology is one of JLL’s top priorities and will allow us to help our clients embrace more sustainable, healthy and innovative solutions,” said Breslau. “This is our way of helping to shape the future of real estate for a better world.” 


Inside The Story

JLL’s Breslau

About Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny serves as Senior Content Director for Connect Commercial Real Estate, a role to which he brings 13-plus years’ experience covering the commercial real estate industry and 30-plus years in business-to-business journalism. In this capacity, he oversees daily operations while also reporting on both local/regional markets and national trends, covering individual transactions across all property types, as well as delving into broader subject matter. He produces 15-20 daily news stories per day and works with the Connect team and clients to develop longer-form content, ranging from Q&As to thought-leadership pieces. Prior to joining Connect, Paul was Managing Editor for both Real Estate Forum and at American Lawyer Media, where he oversaw operations at both publications while also producing daily news and feature-length articles. His tenure in B2B publishing stretches back into the print era, and he has served as Editor in Chief on four national trade publications. Since 1999, Paul has volunteered as the newsletter editor of passenger rail advocacy groups (one national, one local).

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