If you could invent one piece of tech, what would it do?
It’s called Troffice. You can think of Troffice as the TripAdvisor for office buildings (credits please!). How many times have you heard friends complaining about the building they work in? Or conversely praising their new shiny collaboration space? What if there was an easy way to give occupiers a voice and rate the office space you work in so that prospective employees can see it in advance?
Most of us spend at least 50% of our day in an office but so far we have cared more about reviewing restaurants or Uber drivers. With space-as-a-service becoming the new normal, and attracting talent becoming more and more difficult, the whole value chain needs to adapt quickly. Corporates, landlords, facility managers, and property managers will need to cooperate more and offer quality space, amenities and community engagement for occupiers. Having a scoring system will push toward faster transition. If this does exists already please let me know the name.
Which piece of tech has made the biggest difference to your job in recent years?
At the risk of being obvious, Google search engine has proven to be indispensable in my professional life as much as in my private life (“best pizza in London?”).
Who owns that building? What’s the population in Bristol? What’s the average rent in that area? Most of the time, Google can point you in the right direction and tell you where to find that information.
But change is constant and more recently new data platforms have entered Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets’ software suite, reducing my Google-dependence. For instance, now I can log into my Datscha account if I need to know who owns a particular property or how many properties a particular company owns. Similarly, I would use REalyse to analyse market dynamics in the residential sector or to explore location-specific socio-economic datasets such as income distribution, age groups or tenure. The beauty is that everything is available at a very granular level in a standardised way and presented with a nice user interface.
Using this software rather than Google means increased efficiency, because you already know where to find the info you’re looking for. These are the reasons these tools exist: to help professionals spend less time gathering data, less time splicing and transposing data and more time doing value-add analysis – and thinking.
Which developing technology are you watching closely?
Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, Internet of Things, Virtual Reality… or quantum computing? Honestly, I am less excited about one single technology and I think more time should be devoted to allow these technologies to talk to each other and create synergies. Integration is key and often overlooked.
For instance, as sensors get cheaper and cheaper to deploy in buildings, we will get an increasingly large volume of data that can only be analysed using AI. This has the potential to generate substantial savings via predictive maintenance as over 90% of the total life cycle cost of a building or asset occurs during operation. But that’s not all. The data generated – including energy, maintenance schedule, wear and tear – could then be stored on the blockchain and integrated within BIM to ensure new buyers will be able to access this virtual “building passport” or “full service history”.
Buzzwords are not what we are looking for. Tangible solutions are what we should be aiming to achieve.
Enrico Faccioli, is a research associate at Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets