Founder and CEO of Facilio, Prabhu Ramachandran's, follow up article: "Connected Buildings are a pre-requisite for agile CRE Businesses and Unprecedented Efficiencies."
While the potential transformation of our world due to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning has justifiably stirred the imagination of technologists and the general public alike, we often take the ubiquitous enabling innovation of our age for granted. Without Connectivity, virtually none of the rapid digitization of our world would be possible. In the case of the commercial real estate industry, Connected Buildings are at the very core of the sweeping changes that are redefining every parameter in the business, from asset performance to occupant experiences. Once rife with operational silos, unchecked energy consumption, obsolete practices and portfolio-wide inefficiencies, the sector is roaring to life with an unprecedented vigour, built on centralized control and complete system scale connectivity.
Connected Buildings are a pre-requisite for agile CRE businesses and unprecedented efficiencies.
The average CRE has to deal with huge diversity of vendors, technologies, business practices and stakeholders. Add to this the numerous intangibles that the sector has to contend with, from being a sentiment driven industry to the management of large complex systems across potentially huge physical distances, and the daunting challenges become apparent. A piecemeal approach to transformation cannot be a truly empowering influence on such a system. For commercial real estate businesses to unlock dormant value and create unprecedented efficiencies, total system scale connectivity is an essential pre-requisite.
A claim as bold as that cries out to be validated. After all, the industry has thrived long before Connected Buildings were a possibility. So what possibilities can Connected Buildings open up, for building owners and occupants alike, that the modern CRE business cannot afford to go without?
Predictive insight into operations is the single most empowering capability that any manager can have, and Connected Buildings virtually allow CREs to become fortune-tellers, with respect to the performance of their assets. Being able to gain single dashboard visibility into their building portfolio and exercise centralized command and control, allows commercial real estate businesses to monitor and tweak outcomes as varied as occupant comfort and energy efficiencies, in real time and across their entire portfolio. In effect, Connected Buildings allow CREs to take a big-picture view of their business, as well as micro-manage individual assets, at the same time.
Peter Drucker, often called the ‘father of management thinking’, once famously proclaimed, “If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Improve It”. The many siloed processes and mechanized assets that the commercial real estate industry already relies on are all generating massive amounts of data that is currently idle and not being leveraged. Connected Buildings are the key to unlocking a truly data-driven model of decision making in the sector.
Unlocking system wide transparency and control
In the past, making a substantial leap forward in the management and use of buildings, has involved massive disruptive shifts in approach. Not only would such a change of course involve huge upfront capex outlays, it’s a non-starter given the amount of existing building stock it would make redundant. The ideal solution, which the commercial real estate sector can collectively get behind, needs to be relatively cost-effective, minimally disruptive and be able to address the entire gamut of challenges that the industry faces.
While the convergence of IoT, AI and Machine Learning technologies transforms the raw data being continuously generated across building portfolios into insights, it’s connectivity that provides the mechanism to deliver system wide management and control. Connected Buildings are not simply an evolution in model because of the exchange of information they facilitate, but because they empower enterprise scale intervention and action, in real time. They are the network on which a truly agile and responsive solution, which can effectively optimize the highly complex environments that building portfolios represent, depends.
The greatest advantage of this new model of operations is that commercial real estate business can achieve portfolio-wide optimization, across their entire spectrum of processes and assets. By connecting predictive models, CREs can gain central command and control over outcomes ranging from occupant comfort control to every day maintenance and management. The advantages include:
⦁ Scalability: As a mechanism that is agnostic to the specific software and protocols of multiple BMS vendors, data-driven centralized platforms integrate seamlessly with an existing stack of solutions. They are also open to further expansion, whether in terms of more buildings or third party automation and software.
⦁ Data Consolidation: The ability to process data and dispense insights from a unified platform empowers agile operations driven by real-time decision making, across all activities at portfolio scale.
⦁ Deeper Analytics: Data-driven intelligence can help businesses be predictive in addressing inefficiencies in asset performance and anomalies in energy consumption. Integrating workflows and automating the resolution of issues allows access to portfolio wide and multi-fold efficiency.
⦁ Integrating Future Innovations: Breakthrough solutions are adding to the toolkit of commercial real estate constantly and centralized platforms allow these to be adopted to maximum effect, whether it is to enhance occupant comfort, asset performance, easy system audits, or many more such operational priorities.
A model that looks set to become the default for its industry
Early deployments are underscoring the advantages of Connected Buildings, and their ability to support data-driven decision making in commercial real estate. The first generation of businesses that have adopted the model are reconciling best in class asset performance with the highest standards of customer experiences. In turn, this is translating into higher occupancy rates, longer tenant-cycles, long-term value generation and attractive ROI.
For an industry that was often looked upon as a laggard in the adoption of digital transformation, the commercial real estate sector now finds itself in the enviable position of being able to achieve a comprehensive transformation, at a capex to ROI ratio that makes compelling business sense. As an underlying system configuration empowering the array of exciting new technologies, strategies and business models that are transforming commercial real estate, Connected Buildings are both the context and the mechanism, which is allowing these innovations to flourish.
About the author
Prabhu Ramachandran is the founder and CEO of Facilio Inc, an enterprise-wide platform for facilities O & M (Operations & Maintenance) across real-estate portfolios, headquartered in New York (US) and with operations in USA, Middle East and India. Prabhu’s career spans over 18 years of product, business and customer experience focused on enterprise-scale software for IoT-based connected services, sustainable building solutions, and telecom network management.
Headquartered in New York (USA), with operations in UAE and India, Facilio is the world’s first and only IoT and data-driven enterprise platform for real-time, multi-site facilities operations & maintenance (O&M). Its optimization software combines IoT, AI and Machine Learning technologies to provide the construction and commercial real estate businesses unified and predictive command and control, across their entire operation. For more information please visit: https://facilio.com/