Commercial property heavyweight Investa has consolidated its building management applications and as a result reduced work order processing times by 75 percent, and software costs by up to 30 percent.
Digital twins are a part of the effort too. One is already in place at Melbourne's 567 Collins Street, and maps over 57,000 building items and takes feeds from 14,000 live data points to measure climate, air quality and room occupancy.
A second twin is assisting construction of a new flagship building at 60 Martin Place in the heart of Sydney's financial district, due for completion in September.
Investa is also introducing smart building and smart leasing solutions to reduce friction and drive efficiency across its $12 billion in assets.
Choosing where and how to invest in these emerging technologies has required some careful planning during the long development cycle of constructing and operating commercial property.
Investa’s head of building technology, Nathan Lyon, told iTnews the key was laying solid foundations to enable growth and flexibility down the line, especially with an estimated 3000 separate products and vendors in the property technology (proptech) space.
“It's a case of determining what's important to us, and what provides us value is the technology needs to have a purpose that needs to be scalable, and can't really be one-offs,” Lyon said.
“We can deploy a lot of things that are good in an instance but when we start trying to standardise and roll out and scale, the challenge becomes quite significant.”
Sydney-based software vendor Willow was chosen to construct the digital twins of Investa’s properties, virtually representing key structures and technological systems, which were settled on as the starting point for the smart building project given that architectural plans had already been digitally rendered in 3D.
Hoped-for future outcomes include reducing time spent preparing reports by seven percent for Investa’s Real Estate Services team, and an overall 20 percent boost in efficiency across the company, Innovation and Strategic Projects general manager Joanna Marsh said.
Building data has already been made available to tenants through dashboards, allowing them to see how those time and resource savings are reducing friction in their own operations while still maximising the buildings’ ‘premium’ amenities.
More broadly at Investa, innovation culture is being developed not through a select few ‘champions’, but rather through a full-year certification program that more than a quarter of the company has already signed up to complete, Marsh said.
There’s also an additional 50 people engaging partially engaging with the certification program, which has become a tool for engaging a diverse cross-section of the company’s staff.
“It also really helps with our part-time staff, because a lot of them feel a little less connected and this is a way they can come back in, you know, from maternity leave and do all these sorts of things.”
For younger staff looking to change jobs or careers, Investa's Innovation Institute offers an incentive to join the company (or remain) by taking on different skills, she added.
One of the initiatives to come of the program is the ‘Fast Start Fit Out’ service being piloted in Sydney, offering an accelerated online leasing process which includes scope to manage more aspects of the moving-in process for new occupants.
Lyon added that services like the fast fit out are exactly what the company’s innovation program set out to achieve.
“What our approach means to the market are better returns, lower costs and more sustainable outcomes, and for our building occupants, a better workplace experience that evolves as our work styles change.”