Our urban environment is ripe for optimisation

Property technology is whizzing with ‘optimisation’ yet the reality of delivering efficiencies or improvements are not always as direct as stated on the Tech Tin! The ULI Tech Forum recently hosted the first Asset Innovation Series themed around Optimization, with representatives from The Collective, EY, JLL, Standard Chartered Bank and a cross sector audience of real estate professionals. Seeking to understand how optimisation is occurring across the property field the penal debate heard from The Collective’s Lora Salomidou on how her firm was leveraging technology to provide value for her residents. For example, a customer experience lab used data to optimise the living process and the real estate development efforts were being facilitated with a proprietary technology platform. Justin Halewood, of Standard Chartered Bank, provided insight into how his firm is testing multiple workplace efficiency solutions and the service model of WeWork is one that provides great employees value and flexibility.

Alex Edds, Director of Innovation at JLL, and Simon Wynn, Energy Optimisation Manager at EY, delved into areas of sustainability and business model innovation. Alex highlighted the opportunities with leveraging data to make real time decisions – such as real-time HVAC and lighting occupancy adaption. Simon used his experience to further colour the discussion on how meter and management systems were significantly decreasing the cost of operating a building. The problem: convincing people to invest the time to understand how to operate the system.

Three startups also provided a stimulating insight into how their businesses support the delivery of optimisation: Richard Kennedy, of Spaceti; Jamie Stein, of EnLight; and Sonny Masero, of Demand Logic. Spaceti provided services that connected devices to the cloud and provided automation and live occupancy data; Enlight enabled people to add information to the built environment quickly and effectively; and Demand Logic was the “fitbit for building” enabling people to save energy, improve maintenance and increase comfort of their staff.

During a rich debate, the general consensus from the panellists was that we are in a ripe era of technological adoption within real estate. Capital should be allocated to ensure that real estate can adapt to newer generations of technology, as this will provide a competitive advantage for landlords and tenants alike.

This forum forms part of the ULI Asset Innovation Series that focuses on an active debate with real estate and technology professionals to understand how the wider urban realm is adopting to new technology and practices. Our next forums will focus on:

  • Health & Wellbeing (June)
  • Financing Innovation

Written by Edward Orf, Pelham Partners and member of the ULI Tech Forum Committee

This forum was kindly hosted by JLL

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