Commercial Basis explores how technology, branding and demographic preferences are shaping office and retail real estate in New York City. As these forces break down the barriers from where we live to where we work and shop, Lead Commercial Specialist Alex Cohen assesses the impact on real estate values and opportunities.

The explosion of data collection from many newer sources, including mobile devices, car sensors, wearables, smart power grids, and drones has not yet fully infiltrated the real estate investment and location decision making process. But technology companies like Brooklyn-based CARTO are starting to usher in change. Founded in 2012 by a team of experts in geospatial development, big data analytics and visualization, CARTO organizes and maps data from multiple sources and allows its software users to access and capitalize on this information. For instance, in London, CARTO developed a live interactive mapping application of London’s residential markets overlaying annual home price changes, population growth, transit connectivity, active and future residential and commercial development and infrastructure projects and other datasets. To be able to visualize integrated data sets is what provides users a way to analyze trends and forecast (and map) growth in property values and other key indicators.

As retailers face the headwinds of internet sales and changing tastes, the ability to target prospective store shoppers with the merchandise they are most likely to purchase becomes critical. Socio-demographic profiling and segmentation of population  by housing, age, income and lifestyle by data aggregators, like Claritas, has been around for decades. But CARTO has taken population segmentation data to the next level in terms of visualization and analysis. The firm worked with the 95-year-old French home improvements retailer, Leroy Merlin to integrate and map live sales information and customer demographic data to not only analyze competitors and where Leroy Merlin’s customers come from, but to continually update on a store-by-store basis exactly the households the chain should send marketing collateral. One can imagine that this mapping database will become the most crucial tool the company uses as its grows its 300 location across France and 12 other countries.