Connected Solutions

Real Estate Evolution: End of year interview with Yardi VP & GM, Neal Gemassmer


We sat down with Yardi Vice President and General Manager of International, Neal Gemassmer, to discuss how real estate evolved during 2023 and find out his thoughts for the year ahead.

The Evolution of Traditional Office Space

Neal Gemassmer, VP & GM of international for Yardi

2023 has been an exciting and pivotal year for several reasons. Despite all the turmoil in the market, there’s been an ongoing readjustment of how and where employees work. Whether they return to the office, work from home or work from a flex space – and how frequently.

As a technology provider, we must think about ‘what is an effective product strategy for an office environment?’ And what relationship do landlords need to have with corporate occupiers? Traditional relationships between landlords and tenants are quite one sided. For example, usually they would sign a lease for 5-10 years or more. At the end of the lease, the landlord would discuss the renewal, the adjusted market price and whether the tenant wished to sign. There isn’t a relationship between the two – just a commercial transaction.

We’ve seen this continue to change due to hybrid working and flexible contracts. The landlord almost has an obligation and an incentive to understand what the company is doing to utilise the space. Are their employees full-time in the office or working flexibly? Do they have a policy about working in the office? And if they do, can they track how many employees are in office? Companies in London have policies to come back to the office three days a week. However, most of those businesses don’t have a way to gauge if the new policy is working.

With the growth of flexible working, there needs to be a better relationship between the corporate occupier and landlord. If the tenant doesn’t know how they’ll utilise the space, they can’t inform the landlord. This partnership needs to work in unison to be collaborative in nature. Otherwise, the tenant may leave as they’re unsure of the space they need, or the renewal will be shorter with different economics. The continued evolution of the traditional office is a highlight for 2023 in my mind and a continued area of focus in 2024.

Residential Market Evolution

Another area where we’ve seen a similar change is within build to rent (BTR) and student housing (PBSA) in the UK. We are increasingly seeing clients look at doing two things:

  1. Having a pan-European platform so they can have an offering across multiple countries.
  2. Having a multi-sector strategy.

In 2023, we saw PBSA providers begin to branch into build to rent and BTR move into PBSA. With this change, their technology platforms must evolve too. On average, a typical BTR or PBSA provider uses 10 to 20 different systems to manage their business. This can be expensive to maintain and operate as well as difficult to analyse or even trust the data. We also saw continued demand for better, digitally connected platforms. Systems that enable the customer to focus on marketing, customer acquisition and retention. Also, being able to provide better services to increase the lifecycle of the customer.

Building lifetime communities

The residential market is evolving to provide a living space from student housing through to senior living. It’s about retaining students and continuing to provide a product for them wherever they are in life. Whether they’re a grad student or a young professional that needs a bigger premises. All the way through to housing in a suburban environment and onto senior living. This is an interesting development as it focuses not just on traditional proptech and that tenant/customer/landlord experience, but it changes the world into more of a B2C environment. And we play a part in that too as a proptech company, which is fascinating to see develop. I think the changing nature is going to continue to be a big area of both innovation, growth and demand throughout 2024 and the foreseeable future.


Another advancement in 2023 was the growth of Fintech. Fintech is focused on payments and ensuring there are more options for online payments that are easier, cheaper, faster and more effective for both the customer and landlord. A lot of work has been made on that side. It’s not only the traditional credit and debit card functionality or direct bank transfers. It’s also about alternative payment methods that need to be included in a platform based on demographics. For example, electronic wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay. Having these types of modern payments provides instantaneous types of credits and debits that help lower the overall transaction cost.


ESG continues to be a focus in real estate, but the question remains – what does ESG mean and what’s the strategy to define metrics to see what’s been accomplished? Our focus has been more on the environmental side. To understand the consumption a building has in terms of energy, whether that’s defined as electricity or utilities. Then finding robust ways to capture that data, measure it and use it as a base to develop strategies for reduction.

We want to make it easier for our clients to understand consumption and have accurate data. To be able to develop strategies that look at long-term types of carbon neutral strategies within the operations of the building. Also, to make it easier for our clients and their investors to submit reports to third-party organisations, such as GRESB or ENERGY STAR. This innovation continues into 2024.

Artificial Intelligence

At YASC we announced Voyager 8 and Yardi Virtuoso, Yardi’s platform for artificial intelligence. We’re excited about AI as we’ve been investing and experimenting with how AI and machine learning can be used effectively. For example, Yardi’s Chat IQ. Thanks to our 40 years of experience, Yardi is in a strong position to look at more meaningful ways AI can be used to help our customers. Whether that’s defined as better customer experience, operational capabilities, or nurturing prospects and turning them into occupants. Our technology continues to help our clients operate more effectively internally, reduce costs and improve efficiency of assets.

Top Topics for 2024

As we ended the session, we asked Gemassmer to provide his three top tips or topics for 2024.

1.     Uncertainty in the market

As we look to 2024, there is still uncertainty in the real estate market due to high inflation and high interest rates. Also, the changing behaviour of how employers and employees work. It’s going to take time for this to progress and provide a better understanding of what the risk and uncertainty is moving forward.

2.     Create a base measurement to successfully measure innovation

Secondly, there’s so much innovation happening in the industry at the moment. As we think about investing in innovation, it’s largely driven from the workforce, i.e., employees and businesses, that need to do to adopt, leverage and get a positive result for innovation. Part of that is having a measurement system to show where you are today so you can effectively measure the results and your ROI. Anything around innovation or investment needs to be measured so you can clearly see where the improvement is. Therefore, without a base measurement, there’s no understanding of what the value is or whether something’s been successful or not.

3.     Flow of Capital

The third factor for 2024 is the international flow of capital. The other side of uncertain times is that there’s always opportunities to invest. Organisations with lots of capital that hasn’t been utilised yet will have more opportunities. We see that shaping the industry over the next two years as well.

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