March tech news: Surprising location strategies + new tech

The best stuff we’ve read, watched or listened to over the past month

Mar 9, 2017, 4:34 PM

Each month we’re sharing the latest topics on talent, location selection, office design and construction and other real estate-ish topics that can help you make smart decisions for your business, your space and your people. Without further ado, your March edition.

TechSpec news roundup: March 2017

How immigration uncertainty threatens America's tech dominance

The new administration's attitude toward immigration has tech companies questioning their access to talent and now their location strategy as a result. Their perspective is, if policy interferes with me attracting talent, then I'll bring my company to them.

Christopher Mims details how many U.S. tech giants have opened offices in Canada to hire immigrant employees they don't have access to here. Whereas Canada used to lose talent to the U.S., that pattern has slowed thanks to its growing startup ecosystem and highly educated engineers. Now, their multicultural mindset is becoming a huge perk, too. The U.S. still has major advantages in terms of tech presence, but a threat to talent is a threat to expansion.

Connectivity central to Deloitte’s CRE innovation report

In a recent report on innovation in commercial real estate, Deloitte identified five ways the industry is changing. Four out of five pertained to connectivity, as reported by WiredScore. Mobile adoption, the Internet of Things, predictive analytics and more are drastically altering the way we use space.

The most successful companies in the future will leverage CRE tech to find a new location, manage their portfolio, improve employee experience or even just to find an open desk. This new era of real estate tech presents two opportunities for the tech industry. 1) it’s a sector ripe for new innovation and 2) you’ll likely be (or be near) the early adopters.

Why Snapchat's unprecedented real estate strategy in Venice could be tech's new standard

Snapchat's decision to go public in February was significant for several reasons, not least of all because the IPO pipeline has been quite dry. One interesting risk in their filing? Snapchat has no headquarters.

Spread out across several offices in the Venice area, Snapchat concedes it is an unusual and risky decision. A fragmented office could impact culture, loyalty, communication and morale. Nevertheless, their decision is intentional. They prefer the city-as-an-amenity approach with better opportunities to snatch up small space in a high-demand area.

Is a sprawling, unified campus better than several nearby offices? Urban universities manage just fine and might argue they’re more integrated with the community, but many of Snapchat’s industry peers would probably agree that headquarters are critical for culture and experience. As tech companies have to get more creative in their search for space, the question remains: will we see more “constellation” headquarters?

New office sensors know when you leave your desk

Don’t freak out. New occupancy technology is entering the workplace from Humanyze, Enlightened and OccupEye that track employee behavior. It may sound Orwellian at first, but they can make your office far more tailored (if you can only get used to them). Some sensors can determine if you’re moving, where you are and even if you’re speaking. The data is meant to help companies improve their office layout by looking at how it’s used in real time.

Biggest draw in the West: Why companies are heading for Texas

Texas is attracting companies across industries—particularly in the Dallas and Austin areas. They’re drawn by the low cost of homes, construction labor and taxes. Not surprisingly, some of the biggest migrants are from tech. Natasha spokes reports that nearly 24 big-name tech companies have moved from the Bay Area to Austin since 2014 alone.

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Author: Lillian Veley