The customer expectations
With digitalization, new types of business models and services arise throughout the value chain. Historically, the owner has done quite little when they provide commercial premises for a tenant, in principle just offered some square meters.
This has meant that tenants themselves have had to adopt a large part of the premises according to their need, such as IT, furniture, alarms, etc. This is now rapidly changing when property owners add value and services to their offerings. Everything from delivery of packages and dry cleaning to get VIP queues for restaurants.
If you want to be seen as an attractive employer, you need to have an efficient and engaging working environment, and that is something that is expected to be provided by the property owner. It is no longer enough to offer simply the right address.
However, a premium service offering also allows charging premium rent. The same goes for housing and apartments. Premium technology, services, and comfort will always attract buyers and tenants willing to pay a premium price.
This increases the need to control the property data. Without these PropTech services in-house, it opens the field for companies that step in with new offerings and business models. Take the taxi service as an example; if the property is the car, who will offer Uber to the tenants? Who will harvest the property data and profit from its business opportunities?
As the industry is digitized, problems arise regarding which standards and products to use. This is something we can see throughout history.
A well-known example is the home video standard war between SONY’s Betamax and JVC’s VHS. In the late 1970s to the 1980s, the companies competed for the standard that would dominate the market. In the end VHS won and was a market dominated until 1996 when DVD came. The people that had invested in equipment for Betamax simply had to scrap the worthless machine and invest in new VHS players.
In telecoms, the standards war ended with GSM as the global standard for mobile communication. This resulted in suppliers joining forces and developing the standards we know as 3G, 4G, and 5G. More importantly, this lays the foundation for the mobile internet market, with apps and everything “smart” that has completely disrupted industries and businesses, and changed how we access services and come to expect them to be.
The same challenge faces every industry that tries to surf the digitalization wave. Today, there are many standards in different areas of the real estate and PropTech industries. Standards for design and construction like BIM, BACnet and Modbus for automation communication, fiber for cable TV and internet, to name just a few. We then start to bring in IoT and sensors with their plethora of standards like WiFi, Bluetooth, Z-wave, Zigbee, LoRa, and NB-IoT. A somewhat chaotic world to dive into.
There is no single common standard in sight for Smart Buildings, that seamlessly connects buildings, control & rules, automation, IoT, and easily integrates with IT into a digital twin. Where new services can be deployed independent of supplier and technology. Different properties will have to have their own unique implementations, based on their legacy systems and supplier preferences. Or, even worse, have to throw out existing systems as if they where old Betamax video players.
The way forward
There are quite a few initiatives in the market to develop such standards. Many driven by larger real estate companies and consortiums that understand and see the opportunities at hand. But, until a de-facto standard emerges, you have to find practical solutions to get you going. Where do you find a solution that minimizes the risk of taking that digitalization plunge?
Sensative’s Yggio is like “English for facilities”, translating back and forth to all those different languages and dialects. Temperature is a temperature disregarding what technology or sensor supplier providing that information. “Set heat to 20°C” should also be “set heat” whatever “language” the heating or climate control system speaks. When all sub-systems in all your buildings can be accessed and controlled using one common language, you have a solid foundation for your smart building.
When the sub-systems understand a common language, you can take the next step in digitizing the property. You can share sensors and data between different sub-systems, even between different buildings. You can create rules that control multiple actions in various sub-systems. For instance, when someone opens the door electronically, the building can identify who that person is and then prepare the office by turning on the light, ventilation and set the personal comfort temperature in that person’s office automatically. Besides being a mere translator, Yggio also has a rules engine where you can design scenarios just like that.
When you have access to all your data in one building, you can share it between all your properties for an overall view to control, analyze, optimize, and plan for maintenance. You can also share data with other actors, like service providers or the neighborhoods smart city systems, turning your data into a possible revenue source.
With Yggio, it’s more about adding new capabilities and opportunities than replacing old.
We believe that this is the approach moving forward to minimize risk in making buildings smart.