Building technology is transforming commercial real estate
Technology has been the primary disruptive force across all industries, and commercial real estate is no exception. The past few years have seen an acceleration of change, as a focus on digitalization grips the industry and the adoption of more technologies becomes mainstream.
Two prominent industry experts – essensys APAC CEO Eric Schaffer and Link Asset Management non-executive director Chris Brooke – sat down for a discussion on how new business models are emerging through technology building innovation and which organizational leaders are implementing these initiatives. Here are some highlights of their conversation:
Building technology enables new B2B2C business models, with a focus on adapting spaces to the needs of individual users
In recent years, building owners and operators have begun to implement digital access, space optimization and energy efficiency solutions to better manage their assets. However, to further strengthen value propositions and digitally activate their portfolios, they will need to automate feedback from all building users to ensure everyone gets the most out of their experience. This means moving away from the traditional tenant-landlord dynamic to a more service-oriented arrangement.
“It’s no longer about telling owners ‘Here’s the building, use it’, it’s about asking users what they want and adapting the space accordingly.” —Chris Brooke
In line with this transformation, more and more offices are infusing hospitality to create shared amenities and flexible workspaces. Likewise, residential and commercial buildings are increasingly incorporating workspaces, among other points of differentiation. To adapt to these changing dynamics, commercial real estate businesses will need to move away from pure B2B models to incorporate B2C elements. Success therefore hinges on a much deeper understanding of each of their customers, including individual building users, by owners and operators.
“In B2C models, you need to know your customer. New to market solutions can provide the technology infrastructure and data platform to help building owners navigate change with confidence. —Eric Schaffer
With building-level data, property managers should gain real-time insight into user traffic and asset utilization. This information can be obtained through tenant experience apps, IOT devices and sensors, and building management software.
With the increase in the number of connected devices and systems, simplifying network management is necessary to scale effectively. A central solution that provides complete visibility and control of network activity and management can ensure efficient redirection of resources within the building. It also allows space owners and operators to proactively capture and respond to the changing needs of their tenants.
“Technology will allow the relationship to be much more collaborative. The landlord has the opportunity to discuss with the tenant how his employees use the building. This could mean that a tenant could consider reducing their rented space and occupying flexible space in another part of the building portfolio or possibly asking the landlord to integrate specific retail or amenity services. for its employees. —Chris Brooke
Successful technology implementation requires a whole-of-business approach
For integrated technology stacks to be deployed successfully and at scale, organizations will need to be prepared for the challenges of managing change (people, process, and technology) and talent availability and readiness. Keeping pace with changing demands means adapting the scope of traditional functions and the technological sophistication of the current and future workforce. Additionally, it is not always clear which organizational leaders are responsible for sourcing and adopting new technologies, and who should be leading the charge.
“It’s becoming a regular agenda item at board level alongside things like ESG and employee well-being: CEOs and senior executives of major organizations need to reassess how of which things are made.” —Chris Brooke
To better manage digital transformation and innovation, many companies have created new professions and set up digitalization teams or internal task forces made up of multi-service correspondents. These teams are often led by a chief innovation or technology officer and led by IT staff who have the experience and expertise in managing information, data and technology systems.
However, as real estate organizations focus more on data-driven decision-making and culture, Brooke and Schaffer agreed that the traditional model of departments working sequentially within silos is unsustainable and requires a much more integrated approach – especially in Asia, where businesses may be structured in a more traditional way. Implementing technology, they insist, is a unifier of teams within organizations. For businesses to be future-ready, all stakeholders need to be aware of current technology solutions and trends.
“A lot of new roles and teams are being created in large organizations. To be successful today, you’ll need a whole-of-business approach with technology at the forefront to break down and then unify cross-departmental silos. That’s how that everyone can get together and talk about the changes that are coming.—Eric Schaffer
Technology is a key driver of customer experience in the next generation of commercial real estate
Ultimately, commercial real estate, like any business, does well when its customers are happy with the product experience. Solutions that can provide competitive building differentiation are increasingly becoming a requirement. Under such market pressures, Brooke and Schaffer pointed out that building owners need to think about basic building design with user experience at the heart, and what services today are tomorrow’s utilities.
The challenge ahead is to ensure that the technology remains scalable and continues to future-proof buildings, while being adaptable to user feedback for asset improvement projects. Brooke also pointed out that the future may bring consolidation of various products or platforms, where owners seek to deploy integrated solutions on an asset or portfolio basis.
“The flight to quality will always be there. The winners who can do this best will get the lion’s share. —Eric Schaffer
This article contains highlights from an interview conducted by Jason Tan, Chief Technology Officer at essensys. Watch the full interview for more in-depth insights into how digital transformation is shaping commercial real estate across Asia Pacific.
About Essensys: essensys is the intelligent digital backbone for commercial real estate. We provide automated in-building network management, control and provisioning to digitally enable spaces, buildings and wallets. This helps space owners and operators scale cohesive digital experiences in buildings to meet changing customer needs, now and in the future.
About the interviewees: Eric Schaffer oversees essensys’ APAC business, which includes the provision of network management and digital infrastructure technologies for commercial buildings and flexible workspaces, while Chris Brooke regularly draws on his knowledge of access physics to buildings and other real estate technology solutions when he contributes to the board of directors of Link Asset Management in Hong Kong.
Check out the insights from the full version of the interview here.
This sponsored feature is provided by essensys