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A radical revolution in the trillion dollar marketing world drove huge companies out of business, and forced others to adapt quickly or die. This revolution was driven by our new ability to collect, use, and analyze data. And this revolution is coming now for architecture with the same implacable advantage and implication.

About twelve years ago, the agency world saw the true beginning of digital agencies. These were companies that relied on data. Inbound data to direct context. Data within the platform to enable deep connection. Finally, measuring after to deliver metrics. Brands loved the ability to more accurately target marketing. They also loved the ability to be connected to the consumer in the moment. What they REALLY loved the resulting math that showed a clear picture of ROI on marketing spend.

Within 5 years of their emergence, digital agencies had completely upended the madman model. Agencies weren’t driven by creative OR accounts anymore. Data drove everything. Brands became obsessively focused on the value revealed and driven by data, and the marketplace responded. Those that didn’t adapt, didn’t survive. Even some who did adapt, found their core market to now be an alien place, driven by efficiency and KPIs.

If you are an architect, particularly one with a firm that focuses on retail or brand spaces, this philosophy and tool-set are coming your way with all of the same power and disruption.

Real time spatial scanning, interactive engagement, and flexible production layers are producing spaces that act, measure, and react in real time. Furthermore, that same data can be harvested by the same analytics tools to show Key Performance Indicators.

How many people are going that way? Are they engaging with that POP ? Are they looking at those ads ? Shall we tweak wayfinding in realtime to change crowd flow, and direct retail outcomes ? All of this and more is anabled by high tech input and output systems in architectural space.

The knowledge of how to effectively deploy it, use it, and leverage it, is going to be a critical differentiator in architecture.

Are you ready ?