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Data Collection Is The Future Of Property Management

Data is fast becoming an integral part of property management, and owners and operators are gathering more information about everything from water and energy consumption to building-operations systems.

Aclima Inc. Director Scott Andrews, Lucid CEO Will Coleman and Shorenstein Sustainability Manager Jaxon Love

Instead of just collecting data to gauge energy and resource consumption and finding ways to save energy, operators and tenants are asking more holistic questions, Lucid CEO Will Coleman said during a Bisnow event Tuesday. Lucid is a tech-enabled platform that aggregates data and analytics about building efficiency and performance.

Owners want to know more about how resource consumption aligns with other expenses or aspects within a building or portfolio to keep energy consumption down, he said. The big Bay Area tech companies also are demanding data about the buildings they occupy and are driving changes in the leased environment.

This has all led to a big push for the collection of even more data, according to Coleman. Lucid was acquired by Acuity Brands Monday, which will allow Lucid to expand its BuildingOS platform and integrate all kinds of building data. Lucid will leverage Acuity Brands’ investments in building sensor networks, integration and controls.

Westlake Urban Realty Group Senior Vice President, Portfolio and Asset Management Jessica Smith

Pulling all these data points together in one place so that people can have a single view of how their building or portfolio is performing is a big opportunity for the industry, but CRE is not quite there yet, Coleman said. 

The kinds of data consumers want also differs depending on the environment, he said. Whereas an office user would want to know how a building impacts employees, retailers may want to know how much they spend on energy versus what they generate in revenue.

“Figuring out how to connect the dots between the kinds of technologies we’re all deploying and monitoring and what the influences are on the things that matter to those guys is also the hardest and the biggest opportunity,” Coleman said.

In the past, CRE companies have had to spend money on hardware upfront and have faith that it will result in good returns later, but the return on investment and benefits are hard to prove, he said.

Property tech companies need to provide easier access to data so everyone, from those in the basement directly monitoring building systems to those in the C-suite, can use the data and understand what it means for building operations, he said.

Big Data Goes Small

stok founder and managing member Matt Macko, TOTO USA Architecture and Design - Business Development Kathleen Houlehan and President of Operations Bill Strang

Much of the data being collected is from small devices and an expanding Internet of Things is creating more comprehensive data sets.

Westlake Urban is collecting data to better monitor the impact View Dynamic Glass is having on its San Leandro Tech Campus on energy consumption and comfort in the workplace, Westlake Urban Realty Group Senior Vice President, Portfolio and Asset Management Jessica Smith said.

Its tenant OSIsoft, which is a data analysis company, is using this building data and partnering with Westlake Urban to better understand the tech and data more vividly, she said.

The Internet of Things can not only provide data on glass, energy consumption and lighting, but also on usage of toilets and water consumption. TOTO toilets have flush valves that act as micro-turbines that spin and store electricity whenever the toilet is flushed, TOTO USA President of Operations Bill Strang said.

The data is collected to report on how often urinals, toilets and faucets are running and measure the exact amount of water used, Strang said. Whenever water is flowing at a higher rate, a maintenance technician would be signaled to check out the toilet to make sure it is not leaking, he said.

MYND CEO and co-founder Doug Brien

This type of data can also provide consumers with a better idea of overall consumption. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport now shows dashboards that provide information to consumers about consumption at a specific terminal and throughout the airport, according to Strang.

“I expect to see more dashboarding happening,” Strang said.

This may be in a large residential project or hospital that can monitor how people use the space.

Companies and developers are more focused on the tenant and residential experiences, and are looking to apply more tech-enabled amenities that can allow for smart locks or apps that allow for payments online, according to MYND CEO and co-founder Doug Brien.

MYND is a property management platform that works with single-family rentals and small apartment complexes to allow for online service requests, payment processing and a portfolio management system.

He said tenants will pay more for environmentally friendly amenities that they care about.

“Because companies and developers are paying more attention to this and looking for ROI and higher rents, we’ll begin to see, especially on newer properties, more of a focus on delivering those amenities, which will ultimately deliver a better experience,” Brien said.