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When will office buildings greet us?

Article June 13, 2018  |  Text by Markéta Miková Text by Markéta Miková

The real estate industry has been changing due to digital transformation rapidly. I was lucky to join the Prague Property Forum 2018, a conference for real estate professionals, whose speakers heralded new era in doing property business. Find out what is waiting for us in the next few months and years.

You might think that I am going crazy, but be sure I am not. Such a question I asked Lara Paemen, energetic Director of IFMA Europe during the conference Prague Property Forum 2018, which took place at the end of May in the Czech capital and focused on the changes in the real estate market due to the digital transformation. Thanks God I visited Neoris a few weeks ago and their insight into liquid world of zeros and ones condensed into three hours made me realise that we are not talking any futurology, but VERY close future. That´s what many speakers confirmed during the conference.  

“With existing technology in building, combined with apps on your smartphone or in some cases even wearables, it is already – to some degree - happening, the building can communicate to its users and vice versa. Visitors entering the parking of a company building can get a parking space assigned via a message on their smartphone, based on the detection of their license plate at the entrance of the parking. Or receiving a message that your preferred workstation is available today is already reality. Of course, there should always be an opt in/ opt out but these things are becoming more and more a reality,” says Lara Paemen, Director IFMA (International Facility Management Association) for Europe.

Tamás Polster, Head of Strategic Consultancy EMEA at real estate consultancy company Cushman & Wakefield, continues: “In the next 18 up to 24 months digitalisation accelerates the structural change of the real estate market. You can´t stop the transformation, you can only embrace it.”

Solutions with wow effect

Skanska is one of the digital champions on the Czech property market. Company´s three divisions work hard to implement digital technologies into their daily business and provide their clients with top solutions – be them effective construction thanks to BIM (Building Information Modelling), creating smart homes and smart offices.

Žofia Pažitná, Project Manager at Skanska Commercial Development says: “Technology brings us closer to our clients, we are able to react to their needs faster and easier. Today, tenants are more and more tech savvy and we need to bring (more or less) immediately solutions with a wow effect. For each office building development in Prague, we are offering a personalized app combining together all the services within the building itself (such as laundry, food, bike and car parking, car sharing) and also in the vicinity of the building (such as events, shops, entertainment, services). One of the most useful features of the application is the real time garage usage tracking, so our tenants know prior to arriving to the parking facility how many places are available.”

There are benefits not only for the tenants, but also for investors, property & facility managers. Žofia Pažitná concludes: “The Building Information Modelling (BIM) enables us to design and build projects in 3D model, collect all the data in an unified system binding for all professions and being automatically updated after any change is entered. Using BIM for design and construction has become a standard for our office developments and we are now looking into moving a level higher and integrate costing in our BIM models as well. On the top of that, thanks to BIM, the facility manager actually gets at hand a precise model including all the necessary information instead of a paper pile of documentation with scattered details. The fantasy is really endless and I believe there are a number of excellent solutions stemming from digitalization of design that will positively impact facility management in the future.”