Mark Raffman and Ben Hittman from Goodwin Law joined us on the podcast to discuss how 5G will be impact real estate.
Mark Raffman concentrates his practice on complex product liability and consumer products litigation and advice (including silica, building products, and wired technologies in the consumer products, real estate, and other industries). He advises on regulatory compliance audits and legislation, as well as transactions posing product liability and other risks associated with the merging of wired technology and the physical world and the Covid-19 pandemic. He has 30 years of experience defending complex litigation matters in state and federal courts nationwide, is a member of the Defense Research Institute, and has lectured and published on a broad range of topics including autonomous vehicles and smart cities.
Ben Hittman is an associate in the firm’s Business Law Department and a member of its Real Estate Industry group. Mr. Hittman represents real estate investment funds, REITs, institutional investors, developers and other owners and operators of real estate in complex transactions involving commercial, industrial, office, hospitality and multifamily assets, including acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures, development agreements, and financings. Prior to joining Goodwin in 2016, Mr. Hittman was an associate with Paul Hastings LLP in New York.
Learn more about Goodwin + the intersection of real estate and technology by clicking here.
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All opinions expressed by Adam, Tyler, and podcast guests are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinion of RealCrowd. This podcast is for informational purposes only. It should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. To gain a better understanding of the risks associated with commercial real estate investing, please consult your advisors.
Adam Hooper (00:36):
Welcome back to another episode of the Goodwin PropTech podcast series. Today, we’re joined by Ben Hittman and Mark Rothman, both members of Goodwin’s PropTech practice group focusing on the intersection of real estate and technology. Today, we talk about the basics of 5G technology and its potential impacts on how we interact and use the space around us. We discussed everything from the early implementations of 5G, how that may change the nature of our interactions with the built environment, and also some of the key risks to consider when looking at implementing these solutions.
Adam Hooper (01:09):
For more information and to stay up to date on future episodes, head to realcrowd.com/proptech. And as always, if you have any comments, feedback, or questions, please send us a note to podcast at realcrowd.com. Hope you enjoy the episode. Well, Mark and Ben, thank you both so much for joining us today. It’s crazy times, and we’re doing this podcast remote, but we appreciate you guys taking the time to come talk to us today.
Ben Hittman (01:41):
Of course, happy to be here. Thanks for having us.
Mark Raffman (01:43):
Yes, it’s our pleasure.
Adam Hooper (01:45):
So why don’t we… Before we jump into the topic of the day, 5G and what that means for the real estate space and some of the either investors or real estate managers that listen to the show, tell us a little bit about your backgrounds, what you do at Goodwin, and how you got involved even in what’s going on in the 5G landscape?
Ben Hittman (02:04):
Sure. So I am an attorney at Goodwin who practices in our real estate industry group. I work on the transactional side; acquisitions, dispositions, joint ventures, real estate development. As part of my practice, I’ve become… I’m a part of our PropTech initiative, our PropTech practice. And so, over the last couple of years, Goodwin has grown a practice in the proptech space, this too critical intersection of real estate and technology. I’ve grown my practice into that space delving into the different technologies, companies, transactions out there that are tech-related and that are going to be impacting real estate going forward. So that’s become a pretty critical piece of my practice.
Adam Hooper (03:01):
Perfect. And for listeners, that was Ben. And now Mark-
Adam Hooper (03:05):
We’ll hear Mark’s voice, and then everybody will know who we are going forward.
Mark Raffman (03:10):
Yeah. So this is Mark, and almost the mirror image of where Ben has been. I started out as a litigation lawyer, and I’ve spent the last 30 years of my career mostly trying to help companies deal with casualties and problems that had already happened mostly in the building products space, but also in insurance and other commercial disputes. So I have seen things from what can go wrong after they’ve already gone wrong. A couple of years back, as the internet of things came, you heard the phrase first, and then you began to see more connected devices entering the physical world.
Mark Raffman (04:10):
From my vantage point of what could possibly go wrong, I began to see a lot of things that could possibly go wrong when you marry the software culture of push and patch with the physical real world culture of things that can destroy your property or cause injury. So I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time developing thought leadership around product liability, risks, and litigation risks in the internet of things space. So this involves autonomous vehicles. It involves consumer devices, the smart home. It involves utilities.
Mark Raffman (04:55):
It involves the smart city, medical devices, any IoT devices, something I’ve been thinking about. Of course, with proptech, we are now marrying software and we’re marrying wired and wireless communication and technology to a physical real world real estate. And so I’ve been doing some thinking and working with our real estate folks like Ben to help our clients navigate and move into this new world in a way that it’s a beautiful new world, but we can mitigate the risks at the same time. That’s what I have been doing, and how I arrived here.
Adam Hooper (05:38):
Yeah. And that’s got to be a really interesting just change from your historical business of looking at how technology impacts these things. We learned that very early on in the fintech space. It has to work, and it has to work right, because you’re dealing with very real-world things. You’re dealing with personal information. You’re dealing with real dollars. You’re dealing with actual real world impacts.
Adam Hooper (06:04):
It’s not to minimize other technology, but an app or a game or something doesn’t have that same real world impact that something can have when you’re dealing with real property or someone’s safety or their personal data or finances. So I think it’s interesting to hear your take on how these unknown unknowns might unfold when you combine those two. The typical software mentality of move fast and break things, it doesn’t work so well when those things that you’re breaking are real world issues. So it’s going to be-
Mark Raffman (06:37):
It’s a pretty great way to put it. Yeah. It’s one thing when your computer screen freezes up and you go, Oh, snap, my computer screen just froze, but that’s not where we are.
Adam Hooper (06:50):
Yeah. So this leads us to the topic of the day, the piece that you guys recently put out about 5G. It’s something that we’ve been hearing about for a long time. People have talked about it for a long time. I don’t know that many people, myself included, necessarily understand the full breadth or depth of what it means or what its impacts can be, other than just my phone is going to work better. So why don’t you just start very high level. What is 5G? What’s a realistic timeline for seeing [inaudible 00:07:21] implemented, and then what does that actually mean for us either as users of space or landlords or investors? How can we apply some of that to our daily lives?
Ben Hittman (07:33):
That’s a great question, which is, what is 5G? It’s something that we all have been hearing about really for a long time. As time goes on, we’re hearing about it more and more. If 5G is the name, what we’re calling the fifth generation of mobile networks; So fifth generation of our cell phone networks, the network that our other wireless devices all work on separate from Wi-Fi of course. This is the fifth generation of cellular network. So if you’re in the US or you’re traveling internationally, you turn on your phone, these days, it’ll connect to 4G or LTE. Soon enough, it’ll start connecting to the 5G. In terms of where it is, it’s really growing.
Ben Hittman (08:19):
I think depending on the news source that you look at, it’s in as many as 190 national markets already. Different wireless providers are rolling it out at different speeds in different markets, but it’s full steam ahead. They’re excited about it. The second piece of that is really, when are we all going to have phones and other connected devices that are able to operate on 5G? That’s coming as well. That’s a little… It’s been a little bit slower on that front. But soon enough, Apple is going to be coming out with a new iPhone. The rumor is it’s going to have 5G. Again, just a rumor. But I think once Apple starts putting it into their phones, it’s going to be really a way of 5G, and everybody’s going to really start looking for it now that it’s literally in their hands.
Adam Hooper (09:17):
And what is the scope or the scale of improvement over 4G LTE that most of us are currently on today?
Ben Hittman (09:28):
For lack of a better word, it’s just better in every way. It’s going to be faster. It’s going to be more reliable. It’s going to have a wider bandwidth. So I’m in my house right now, and we have so many devices here that are on our wireless network. As we all get more and more wireless connected devices, the pressure on the wireless network increases. 5G is going to have a better bandwidth, a wider bandwidth than 4G.
Ben Hittman (10:00):
It’s going to be able to accept more devices than 4G is. Excuse me. It’s been 4G connectivity that’s really allowed us to become… Turn into this connected society, because 4G is great. It is fast, it is reliable. 5G is just going to go beyond that in efficiency, in reliability, and in speed. It’s not just going to be in cell phones, it’s going to be in a host of other tech-enabled devices, that some of which we already work with and some of which we really just can’t even imagine this.
Adam Hooper (10:39):
Yeah, and that’s… Sorry, go ahead, Mark.
Mark Raffman (10:42):
I was going to add this color. I’m an old guy that sometimes has trouble imagining what the difference in technology looks like. And so for me, the analogy is a pipe. And so I am old enough to remember the days of modem connection, which is [inaudible 00:11:02] sip a milkshake through a tiny little pinhole straw. Every time we have an improvement, this pipe gets larger, and larger than the amount of data that can flow through it is bigger and bigger. I haven’t quantified the difference. But my sense is that, once we’re at 5G, the stuff we think we have to wait for now, it’ll no longer be a factor. It’ll all be flowing through the pipe as fast as it can be.
Adam Hooper (11:41):
Ben Hittman (11:41):
I think I can-
Adam Hooper (11:42):
… speed and throughput, right? It’s the volume, the amount of information that you can move through that much larger pipe, not just the speed, but how much you can actually transmit through those channels as well, right?
Mark Raffman (11:55):
I think that’s right. Although if the water analogy holds, the circumference of the pipe will determine how fast the data can go through depending on how much pressure there is in the backside. But yes, I think that’s right, speed and volume will improve dramatically.
Ben Hittman (12:13):
When we talk about 5G, the industry that we really talk about the most is the entertainment industry. The idea being that we all are now downloading movies and TV shows, etc., to our mobile devices. We sit there, we find the movie, we press download, and we wait a few minutes for it to download. I was doing that just this morning for my kids.
Ben Hittman (12:37):
I think the best example of how 5G is going to change things in terms of speed is, at least from everything that I’ve read, it’s going to be instantaneous. It’s going to be two seconds, and you have a full movie. That’s going to be over a cellular network that is everywhere. And so again, that’s the industry the example that everybody really thinks of when they’re thinking about how going from 4G to 5G is really going to change things for us.
Adam Hooper (13:08):
Yeah, and that’s something… Again, you’d mentioned it before, this internet of things and connected devices and everything talking to one another is something that, again, we’ve talked about for a really long time. We’ve talked about your fridge being connected to the internet. Why anybody’s fridge needs to be connected the internet, I don’t really know. But the concept of all these different devices connecting, that’s really one of the biggest impacts of this new 5G network will unlock at scale that we haven’t really seen take on yet. Is that one of the biggest promises? Or where do you guys see the most exciting things outside of just downloading my latest Netflix streaming binge quicker? Where do you see the most promising aspects of this?
Ben Hittman (13:52):
Right. I should say that’s very exciting, being able to download that stuff really quickly. For me as a real estate person, I think that internet of things world is incredibly exciting. One of the things that I want to point out about 5G is that, there’s a lot of people who think that 5G to a certain extent is going to be, not replacing Wi-Fi, but we’re going to be relying on 5G more than we rely on Wi-Fi these days, because 5G is that fast. Now of course, Wi-Fi is going to get better over time as well.
Ben Hittman (14:26):
And so there’s going to be… We’re going to continue to have that tension, am I on cellular or am I on Wi-Fi? But there’s talk about for example, Comcast or Verizon [inaudible 00:14:39], companies that provide cable boxes to customers that those would eventually be wireless. They would just completely run on 5G. So it’s going to permeate things in ways that are going to be somewhat subtle, but are going to be important in our daily lives. Now, when it comes to the internet of things and smart building technology, again for me, that is the most exciting thing.
Ben Hittman (15:09):
Having different pieces in our homes, in our offices connected to the networks so that they can be controlled virtually and tailored to our preferences is really exciting. But again, I think 5G is going to be permeating really every industry. One of the examples that I’ve heard of or that I’ve read about is in the healthcare industry. Someone was telling me about the idea of creating augmented reality glasses connected to a 5G network that allows a doctor to operate remotely. Things like that are going to be really incredible developments in areas where we today just can’t really imagine it.
Adam Hooper (15:58):
Mark Raffman (16:01):
I’m going to put my vote in on the most revolutionary briefly and then we’ll come back to proptech. As a 60-year-old in very good health and imagining life as an 80-year-old, I think in 20 years, our transportation network will be entirely automated. 5G and technologies like that are going to make that possible by allowing vehicles on the roads to communicate with each other to such a degree that will be mostly a driverless society. For somebody who… Both my parents, my dad in particular became unable to drive. The quality of his life when he was no longer mobile was was really problematic.
Mark Raffman (16:48):
And so, I think for this generation of folks like myself who are easing into senior citizenship, the liberation that will come from having our vehicles do the work for us is extremely exciting. I think overall, it’s going to be a much safer transportation network and it’ll be really be really revolutionary about the way we all live our lives. I think it’s going to impact real estate too in terms of where people live when commutes no longer become a major issue in major metropolitan areas. I think how people live in their homes and in their offices will be revolutionized as well, as I think we’ll probably jump into there soon. But transportation is a very exciting business, and a lot of great work is being done in that area now.
Adam Hooper (17:45):
Yeah, and that’s one of the exciting things about a new technology that can be as revolutionary as this. If we’re talking speeds 10 or 20X faster than what we have today, letting your mind wander into what are those crazy applications that seem so far fetched that are realistic when enabled with this technology. I think that’s the fun part of letting the mind wander on some of these new technologies.
Adam Hooper (18:09):
So getting back to the real estate space, and we did an interview at the CREtech Conference in New York last fall with a company that’s making smart windows. And so they’re integrating sensors, and they’re putting security sensors in there, photovoltaic sensors and being able to tint the windows automatically. When we think about smart buildings or connected devices like that, what are some of the more maybe near term applications that we might see in the real estate space? And then, what are [inaudible 00:18:38] in maybe some of those little bit more outlandish things that you guys have seen on the radar?
Ben Hittman (18:43):
I think in the near term as 5G again comes to dominate, we’re going to see everyday things in our spaces become connected; light bulbs, thermostats. It’s already there. We really already have a lot of this technology in existence. What 5G is going to do is it’s going to make it seamless. It’s going to make it easy. It’s going to make the connection constant, and it’s going to be… It’s going to allow us to start putting these sensors, these things that make our light bulbs wireless, our thermostats wireless. It’s going to allow us to put those sensors in even more products, give us that much more control over our space. It’s exciting. It’s exciting not just as a real estate person who represents clients who own and develop and operate buildings, but as someone obviously who… We work in offices, we live in homes. It’s exciting to know that this is coming, this type of control over our space.
Adam Hooper (19:52):
And so, who do you see as the primary beneficiary of these? Is it efficiencies from the building ownership perspective? Is it a property management thing? Is it a tenant? Where does the main benefit of some of these technologies go, do you think, in that landscape?
Ben Hittman (20:07):
I wouldn’t say there’s one winner over all others. I think that everyone’s going to benefit a little bit. I think property managers, if you own a property and you’re able to outfit your building with this type of smart technology, it’s going to make your ability to manage that building that much easier. It’s going to be efficient. You’re going to be able to do it remotely. You’re going to be able to be more responsive to your tenants requests, their preferences. And then as a tenant, again, you’re going to have control over so much more than you do now.
Ben Hittman (20:42):
I think about the office that we’re in where we have a cooling system that depending on the day or the hour is working well or not working well. I think eventually as new buildings get developed and these centers get put into those types of systems, I’m going to be able to have control at a moment’s notice with all of the different types of preferences that I could want as to that system. So I don’t think anybody wins necessarily over any other. I think it’s going to be a really cool development to give both the owners and operators and managers of properties and the users of properties just more control over the space that they’re in.
Mark Raffman (21:32):
And I guess I would add, when you make a building safer, cleaner, more nimble, and more comfortable, everybody wins.
Adam Hooper (21:42):
Right. Yes, I agree. I think this is one of those creative technologies that everybody will benefit from. It’s not a zero sum thing. Hopefully, it’s going to make it better for all of us. I will take a minute to share an anecdote of what hopefully 5G will replace. We were at a meeting, gosh, this is probably five years ago or so in San Francisco at what may or may not now be a public company that enables text to API kind of technology. We were in a meeting in a conference room seven or eight of us in there, they’re like, it’s getting kind of hot in here. On the wall, there was, if you need the temperature changed, text this number and what the temperature is. And so, wow, this is a really cool thing.
Adam Hooper (22:25):
We can just text the temperature that we want the room to this number, and it’ll just happen. And so we did. We text the number. And then maybe three or four minutes later, a maintenance guy comes in and he pushes thermostat to get it to that number. So hopefully, 5G will be able to actually enable something like that happening, where if you have a connected system like that, you can just send a text to something. Or again, we just got a Nest thermostat in the house, which is pretty fun playing with that. Those are the kinds of things, that convenience and an efficiency like that will hopefully become more possible rather than just texting the guy to come push the buttons which we could have just walked up and pushed ourselves.
Ben Hittman (23:02):
I think that’s a great example. We have a wireless thermostat or a Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat in our house as well. It’s really cool to play with. I think one of the exciting things about 5G and this evolution of smart buildings is going to be having the sensors start to talk to one another. And so thinking about… This is all part of everything that’s changing in our world now more than ever. But thinking about a potential future where we are sharing offices with different people, well, what if when I walked into the building, the building recognized my face or a key card that I had in my pocket and automatically turn the office that I’m going to into… It turned on the HVAC preferences that I wanted, or the sunlight dimming preference that I wanted. With sensors talking to one another, the hope is that all of this becomes seamless in a way that we really just don’t have yet.
Adam Hooper (24:05):
And now, I guess Mark, this is back to your world. There’s a lot of data that’s going to be generated in this space, and it’s maybe a bit unclear just generally as to who owns, who controls, who has rights to, who has the ability to view that data. How do you see that landscape playing out, because that’s going to be a really big change with the amount of data that’s going to be generated and who controls that or what happens with that?
Mark Raffman (24:31):
Well, the data risk I think is the main risk. I say that as somebody that focuses more on actual physical property damage and human injury in my day-to-day life. So I’m not a data security guy, but who controls it? Look, who controls it? Look, the first question is not who owns it or who controls it, the first question is, is it being collected. It doesn’t necessarily have to be collected. You can have things operating in a certain way and not collecting the data, and it just goes along and it goes along.
Mark Raffman (25:15):
That’s going to be the first question that any person that’s operating, deploying, or manufacturing these devices are going to be to collect or not to collect. My advice is always, if you don’t need it for your business model, if you’re not going to use it, then don’t collect it, because data that you collect and don’t use is only a potential liability. It’s still there available to be hacked or stolen or misused, and that’s very serious consequences. So once it’s decided to be collected, then the question, it’s a commercial transaction.
Mark Raffman (25:54):
It’s one of whose business model cause for having the data and collecting it and using it and selling it, assuming the sale is illegal under the rules of whatever jurisdiction, whether it’s Europe or California or maybe someday we’ll have [inaudible 00:26:13], whenever it is. Who owns it is a commercial question in the first instance. It can become a political question. All right? Now there was a, it sort of become a famous case, development in Toronto, Canada, where a municipality contracted with one of the big tech companies to create what was going to be the first really truly smart city, smart neighborhood.
Adam Hooper (26:45):
Sidewalk Labs, yeah.
Mark Raffman (26:48):
And so public interest organizations, what you think of as the neighborhood association, they got wind of it. They said, “Wait a minute, you’re government. You’re selling our data to this private company to use however they want. This is not…” So it became a matter of political risk, and they actually ended up forcing the municipality to renegotiate the deal they had with the tech company. And so, there are political dimensions to the ownership of the data if you’re talking about a municipality. But among private entities, then it’s a commercial transaction [inaudible 00:27:33]. Owners can control and access to the data comes with… This is like Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. So all folks in all of these transactions need to bear that in mind.
Adam Hooper (27:51):
Yeah. I think that’s a really good point of being thoughtful about… I guess I’m taking a step back here. Real estate historically again, we’ve talked a lot on the show, and just generally understood is a relatively slow industry to adopt to technology. When it does happen, you were seeing more quote-unquote technologists in our space, like in everything that’s going on with proptech, in everything that’s going on with younger generation coming in that’s more in tune with the technology.
Adam Hooper (28:30):
We’re seeing a more nuanced or understanding approach to that. I think it’s really important that point that you just made of understanding where those liabilities are, understanding what you’re doing with that, understanding if you’re collecting that data, what those ramifications are rather than just jumping in the whole hog without really being as thoughtful as you might need to be, because this is such a different space now than just bricks and sticks of real estate operations. This is a very different landscape to consider when you look at these new technologies.
Mark Raffman (29:06):
I think that’s right.
Adam Hooper (29:06):
Mark Raffman (29:09):
But there’s a lot of… I’d say there’s a ton of opportunity for new generation of entrepreneurs and property managers and investors to harvest data that will make their business seen and open up opportunities that didn’t exist before. Yeah, bricks and sticks is the old way, but that’s not what we’re going to be in 10 years or five years even.
Adam Hooper (29:38):
Right. So how can property owners and developers and people out there start to either educate themselves other than listening to this fantastic podcast? How can they start to think about what these impacts are, or educate themselves? Or maybe do you guys have some other resources that they can start paying attention to to get ready for what’s coming?
Ben Hittman (30:00):
It’s a great question. I think one of the important parts of this, one of the important pieces of information to keep in mind if you’re an owner or operator, manager of real estate is that, this is not going to be a flip of a switch. As the mobile internet providers roll out this technology, it’s not as if you’re just going to be able to install this one thing in your building and boom, you have 5G everywhere. One of the problems with 5G like its predecessors is that, it’s not very good at getting through walls, a big problem if you own real estate. It’s not going to be as if, again, these guys can flip a switch and provide 5G connectivity to their tenants.
Ben Hittman (30:48):
Even in new buildings with low energy glass and eco-friendly building materials, there are problems getting these signals into the buildings to the end users. And so, one of the things that property owners should start thinking about is, how can I change my building? What do I need to do to change my building, new buildings and old buildings to get 5G to the end users that are going to be demanding it in the coming years? The way you do that is through distributed antenna systems, building those into your physical spaces which capture the 5G signal and then distribute it inside the walls.
Ben Hittman (31:33):
There’s going to be a cost to doing that. And so, one of the things that property owners and managers should be doing right now is thinking about how they’re going to be able to, number one, physically incorporate these distributed antenna systems into their buildings, but number two, pay for it. Again, this is not something that’s going to be a process that only owners of older buildings are going to have to go through. Even again newer buildings are going to have this problem. And so, that’s going to be a big hurdle. But at the same time, this is going to be something eventually that tenants are just demanding. And so, you have to start thinking about it now, how, number one, can I do it physically? And number two, how am I going to pay for it?
Adam Hooper (32:22):
And that’s again, like you said, are either retrofit or with new construction. I think that’s definitely-
Ben Hittman (32:31):
Adam Hooper (32:31):
Yes. What are maybe some of the longer term changes that you might see to the usage of real estate, again, whether it’s a retrofit or whether it’s new construction, anything that again investors listening to the podcast, how should they be thinking about this when they’re looking at potential investments? Is now the time to start thinking about that, or are we still maybe, I don’t know, 12, 18 months, two years more out from really having to consider that as it comes to an investment thesis?
Ben Hittman (33:00):
I think you got to start thinking about it now. Let’s say that Apple comes out with an iPhone in September or October that has 5G capability, everyone’s going to go out and buy it. Everyone who’s upgrading their iPhone is going to go out and get this phone that has this 5G capability, and they’re going to want to be able to use it no matter where they are. And so, that’s this fall. That could be this year where you start getting a ton of people who have this ability in their hand, in their phone, in their pocket but don’t have the ability to actually use it when they get into their building. And so now is the time to start thinking about this thing. One of the things you said, and I think it’s true, is that real estate as an industry, as a culture is pretty slow to change.
Ben Hittman (33:54):
It’s pretty slow to pick up new technologies. I do think it’s unquestionably the reality, the historical reality. I think that’s changing in a way though to the extent that I don’t think they want to be slow. I think everybody… I think owners and operators of real estate are starting to recognize their historical speed or lack thereof when it comes to new technologies, and they don’t want to be that way. So I do think that there’s going to be a movement among owners and operators to start thinking about this stuff early. There’s already been a movement among very traditional real estate players into the proptech space clearly seeing that their old ways of slow pickup should stay there, should stay in the past. So I think that there’s some things that these owners and operators of properties are going to want to do now, and I think they will.
Mark Raffman (34:59):
I had one short point to what Ben said which is that, COVID is an accelerator of all of this, because COVID is causing owners, operators, managers to react in real-time to rapidly changing on the ground conditions that will govern short term decisions and in longer term decisions about how these… Are people going to come to work? How are they going to come to work? How are we going to reopen? How are we going to do these things? This is not an environment in which you can be able to buy a thing. You’ve got to pay attention.
Mark Raffman (35:51):
And so we at Goodwin [inaudible 00:35:54] a lot of these inquiries from these… As you say, it’s in groups that have traditionally been slow moving that are now learning in this environment that you just can’t move slow. And so this experience that we’re all in the middle of now, I think it’s likely to have some lasting impacts about how real estate folks go about their business and technology too.
Ben Hittman (36:26):
I think, Mark, that’s a great point. It’s something I was trying to allude to earlier, that everything that we are all going through now is, like you said, going to accelerate all of this. One of the things that I’ve been thinking about as we’ve been working from home is our phones. If I were to bring one of our typical work phones home, because of the high speed that our network requires, I would have to physically plug it into my cable modem here at home.
Ben Hittman (37:04):
You can’t do that in every house. I’m thinking about ways to move this wall or punch through that wall so I can try and do it. Wouldn’t it be great if I can bring home one of those phones, it would turn it on and it’s automatically on our network via a 5G connection? Wouldn’t that be great? Again, it’s just an example of the different types of things that are going to change in our world, and that’s a really low level one. But it’s really going to start altering the ways that we work and live.
Adam Hooper (37:41):
Yeah. And I think this current time, this is a very, very, very large scale experiment we’re going through with remote work right now. I think we’re-
Ben Hittman (37:48):
It’s so true.
Adam Hooper (37:49):
… we’re stress testing a lot of these things that I don’t think we anticipated we would have to be stress testing for some time. So I think it’s definitely laying bare some of those shortfalls with technology, some of those technologies that are far more essential and crucial than we certainly would have expected. Again, we see this as 5G enabling more of this experiment to maybe stick long-term than being a more short-term experiment. I think to me, that’s what’s interesting is, what does the world look like coming out of this? And what can we learn through this time period that is… Again, not to underplay these various significant serious health impacts that’s affecting a lot of people right now, but what are those changes that will come out of this? What sticks? What do we learn through this remote experience, and how does that affect the workplace and our usage of real estate going forward? I think that’s going to be pretty interesting to watch as that all rolls out.
Ben Hittman (38:48):
Adam Hooper (38:51):
So, is there anything else that we didn’t check on today that we should be talking about or thinking about, or listeners should be starting to consider with this technology or anything like that?
Ben Hittman (39:04):
I think we’ve hit on some of the important points. Again, it’s really important that, if you own, operate, manage property, if you’re looking to develop property, this is something you should start thinking about now. There is going to be a cost to it. Buildings are difficult to get through for 5G connections. And so thinking about it now is going to put you in a much better position in the future. It’s going to make your developments, your buildings more attractive to tenants, more attractive to end users. Eventually, 5G is a level of connection. It’s a level of reliable, fast connection that end users are going to come to demand. And so, again, if you’re an owner of property, it would be great to start thinking about it now.
Mark Raffman (39:56):
Yeah. So here’s… Mark is the wet blanket. [inaudible 00:39:59]. If you’re not thinking about this technology, and if you’re just content to go on as business as usual, and then your user base gets these 5G phones and they’re walking into your building and they don’t work, that’s not a good situation to be in. So yeah, if you’re not proactive about the technology, something bad probably awaits you at the end. But of course as you… So for those that are sitting on their behinds and doing nothing, the world won’t stop for you.
Mark Raffman (40:40):
Once you get off your behind and say, “Oh, I love this technology. I’m going to do this. I’m going to build it. I’m going to put it in. This is going to be great,” then here’s Mark with the wet blanket again saying, “Yeah, this is all going to be great.” But be sober and be deliberate and be smart about how you do it so that nothing bad happens when you put this great technology in your work place.
Adam Hooper (41:03):
Perfect. And that’s exactly what you guys are doing with the PropTech initiative at Goodwin. So we’ll let you plug. How can listeners learn more about what you guys are up to and keep in touch with all the great stuff that’s coming out of the PropTech Initiative at Goodwin?
Ben Hittman (41:18):
The best way to do that is to reach out to us. We have a great team at Goodwin. We’ve created a website for our PropTech initiative that you can go on and check out the latest stuff that we’re working on. We’re constantly working on different pieces of thought leadership, things that our clients are thinking about, things that we think that we think that our clients should think about. Reach out to us, check out our website, check us out on LinkedIn, and funnel questions and thoughts our way. What we love about this is the ongoing discussion, the ongoing evolution of all of this. We’re excited about it, and we’d love to talk to anybody who’s interested in it.
Adam Hooper (42:04):
Perfect. And we’ll have links in the show notes for everybody that wants to get to that website and learn more and keep in touch with you guys, and again, keep up to speed on all the great content you guys are putting out. So Mark and Ben, we appreciate you both taking the time today to come chat with us. And again, look forward to many more conversations about the great stuff you guys are working on.
Ben Hittman (42:23):
This has been great. Thanks for having us.
Mark Raffman (42:25):
Great pleasure, thank you.
Adam Hooper (42:26):
Perfect. And listeners, that’s all we’ve got for today. And with that, we’ll catch you in the next one.