Educalise Association...

Yardi is committed to supporting the community in every city where our offices are housed. Each year, the company distributes philanthropic aid to organizations selected by its employees. In 2021, Yardi offices supported more than 350 nonprofits worldwide. For the remainder of the year, we will be bringing you the stories of those organizations and insight into how they aid their communities. Today we bring you across the world and introduce you to Educalise Association, founded in 2019 in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Educalise is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that focuses on the education and health of children and social projects for special needs patients, including: Education: training and workshops, equipping schools and after-school facilities with IT equipment, furniture, and other goods such as painting, restoration, and re-decoration of school facilities and yards.Health: equipment for children’s hospitals with medical devices, restoration, and re-decoration of children’s hospital facilities and yards, various play-and-learn activities that improve the relationship between child and doctor, and educating children on what to expect when they receive medical care.Social: support to children with special needs and holiday campaigns. “Education is however key to all our activities; therefore, we include an educational component even in health and social projects,” shared Cristina Sălăgean, founder of Educalise. Funds from Yardi have been used to finalize The Fairy Stories Garden and a new blood-test room. Check out the video of the day the Cluj Yardi office had here. “What we are planning for the blood-test room is to bring from the U.S. a special chair, where the child and the parent sit on the same chair when blood samples are being taken.” Sălăgean continues, “The chair is the main piece of the room, but it will be accompanied by VR (virtual reality glasses) and other kids-friendly equipment that will...

Proptech Disruption Jul12

Proptech Disruption

After Jack Fitzgerald stumbled across the term ‘proptech’ he spent a sleepless night burning the midnight oil or more accurately, draining the battery on his phone. The technology that had transformed other sectors of the economy was coming for real estate. Fitzgerald, Hitachi’s Director of Smart Cities and Real Estate Tech, recently sat down with Bernie Devine for the latest illuminating installment of the Yardi Proptech Insights series. Fitzgerald has worn many hats. During his eight years with Lendlease, he oversaw the development of Singapore’s Paya Lebar Quarter, played in the experimental sandpit as Lendlease’s head of innovation for Asia and launched Propell Asia, Singapore’s first proptech accelerator. Late at night, he scoured the internet for information on proptech start-ups. From this he built Disrupt Property, a database on 800 companies that was eventually acquired by Unissu. In 2020, he seized the opportunity to “change the future” with Hitachi and is now working with everything from AI to EVs, driverless trains to robots. Technology has not yet delivered the seismic shifts seen in other sectors – but disruption is ahead, Fitzgerald warned. The baby steps – digitising tasks once managed by spreadsheets – have been taken. Now, we are in the “early teenage awkward years” where buildings are getting smarter, but this is not obvious to the user. “The dream is that the building knows I’m arriving, the lifts are waiting for me, the latte is heating up, and the lights are turning on as I sit at my desk,” Fitzgerald said. But this “frictionless experience” is still some years away. But today’s leading-edge technology is tomorrow’s business-as-usual. As soon as tenants experience smart parking or destination lifts in one building, they expect it in all of them, Fitzgerald said. This consumer demand for...

Real Estate Roadblocks Jun12

Real Estate Roadblocks

Three things are holding back the world’s commercial real estate sector, says Kylie Davis, president of Proptech Association Australia. “Our commitment to Excel spreadsheets and filing cabinets and whiteboards,” are roadblocks to a real estate revolution. And this “very inefficient and expensive” commitment is holding real estate companies back from squeezing more value from assets and creating better experiences for customers. Davis, a serial entrepreneur and futurist who advises several proptech start-ups, recently sat down with Bernie Devine, Yardi senior regional director of APAC, for a chat. Property technology – or proptech for short – has been growing at a “phenomenal” pace over the last two years, Kylie said. Proptech Association Australia has identified 18 separate transactions worth at least AUD$274 million since late 2019 alone, as some of the nation’s largest landlords and most influential media companies accelerate their investment in technology. Proptech may attract the headlines, but scratch below the surface and “really it’s about getting the industry to change,” Devine added. Real estate is certainly resistant to change. Nearly half of Australian real estate companies still use spreadsheets for valuation reporting, budgeting and projections and 52 percent depend on spreadsheets to undertake benchmarking and performance analysis, according to the latest Yardi/Property Council of Australia Proptech Survey. Why is an industry committed to efficiency and asset optimisation holding on, so stubbornly, to spreadsheets? Change can be “painful and scary,” Davis observed. The long development and sales cycle in the commercial real estate sector can be a “real killer of innovation.” Fear of failure plays a part, Devine added. “It’s also a question of what to do first.” But Covid acted as a catalyst for widespread technology adoption, and “convinced the unconvinced”, Davis said. She is excited about the potential for the commercial sector to convert “analog assets” –everything from lights and air-conditioning – into “data streams that can be interrogated.” Davis pointed to several inspiring examples. AI Assets recently tagged more than two million assets in 1,500 Australian buildings in less than a year – 80 per cent faster than with the traditional pen and clipboard method and with a fraction of the people. Exergenics, uses big data, AI and algorithms to optimise HVAC systems, extracting “two or three per cent” more efficiency from every unit. This translates into hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings over the life of a building, not to mention carbon emissions. The outcome will be smarter buildings, but more importantly, better experiences for the user. Proptech “promotes the idea of a building as a device,” Devine added. Where do real estate companies start when they are dipping their toes into the technology waters? Devine’s “rules of the road” start with some simple questions: Whose problem are you trying to solve? And who perceives the most value in solving that problem? “And then bring together the data and process to solve the problem,” Bernie concluded. Click here to watch the latest instalment in Yardi’s Proptech...

Al Noor Training Centre

Recently, the Yardi Middle East team, based in Dubai, took part in Al Noor Associations’ volunteer program. The centre offered exciting opportunities to engage in during the holy month of Ramadan for people to give back and help children and young adults. The Yardi team worked closely with people of determination including trainees placed in Vocational Training Units at Al Noor Centre and engaged in activities for the upkeep of the premises, such as painting classrooms. “Being able to give back and help at the Al Noor Training Centre was a great opportunity for the Yardi Team. We took part in workshops with the children and also helped paint classrooms,” said Aditya Shah, senior director of Middle East services and operations for Yardi. “The centre provides great opportunities for people of determination to learn skills in a safe environment and allows them to learn in their own time. Yardi is proud to have the opportunity to help the children and young adults at the Al Noor Training Centre and we look forward to working with them again.” “We would like to thank Yardi and their staff for being a part of our Employee Engagement Program and helping to create awareness for the work we do amongst our community,” said Ms. Ranjini Ramnath, director of the association. “It is due to the support of organisations like Yardi that Al Noor can help people of determination and their families, by providing professionally driven services that impact quality of life and inclusion into the community. “We look forward to an ongoing relationship with Yardi for years to come so that together, we can create a positive impact for the community of determined ones in the UAE,” continued Ramnath. Established in 1981, the Al Noor Training Centre started with just 8 children. With a holistic approach to wellbeing and development, the centre has expanded and now provides high-quality professional training for people with disabilities in Dubai. The centre has specially designed programmes to suit each individuals’ needs, which includes children and young adults with various physical and cognitive challenges such as down syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism. They also employ Trans-Disciplinary Assessment and Intervention methods to ensure each child gets the precise help they need. Today, the Al Noor Training Centre has over 180 students with more than 28 nationalities. The goal of Al Noor’s Vocational Training Unit is to make students of determination skilled and productive members of the community. Training is offered in wood design technology, printing technology, fashion technology and bakery units. The centre includes a well-equipped gym, a large multi-purpose auditorium, a swimming pool and a shaded outdoor playground. If you would like to find out more about the services Al Noor Training Centre provides to their students with disabilities or explore employee engagement initiatives, visit Al Noor Training Centre. Learn more about Yardi’s corporate social responsibility and philanthropy on our Giving...

ShelterBox Spotlight

Since 2015, Yardi has been a supporter of ShelterBox, a crisis response non-profit that assists globally in natural disasters, war zones and other crises. Last month, Yardi awarded ShelterBox a $100,000 grant to support the organization’s response to the war in Ukraine. The funds are being put to immediate use on three vital projects. Read on to hear the non-profit’s story and learn about volunteer opportunities. ShelterBox responders coordinating distribution to refugees from Ukraine. Photo courtesy ShelterBox. An Organization Overview ShelterBox President Kerri Murray visited Poland, near the Ukrainian border, during the early weeks of the war and was struck by the outpouring of support for refugees from throughout Europe. Individuals were arriving in their own cars, having driven for hours, to offer transport and refuge in other countries. “It’s really profound, in the midst of all this heartache, to see things that make you really hopeful,” said Murray. “In the worst of times, you often see the best of humanity.” She was also struck by the sadness exuded from the refugees who had to leave loved ones, especially men of age to serve in the military (ages 18-60), behind in Ukraine. “I noticed that people were not relieved. Even though they were now safely in Poland, their families were ripped apart.” ShelterBox staff and volunteers are no strangers to these situations, as they have contributed support to more 2.5 million people during over 300 crises in nearly 100 countries since the non-profit was founded 22 years ago. “As a humanitarian aid organization that works globally, we’re trying to tackle one of the biggest issues that’s plaguing our world, and it’s the massive displacement of people,” Murray said. Including the conflict in Ukraine, more than 119 million people are currently considered displaced, more than any other time in recorded history. “These include victims of violent conflict situations, like we are seeing in Ukraine, civil war situations, and then disaster situations. It could be earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, hurricanes – any events that have forcibly displaced people from their homes,” Murray said. Prior to the war in Ukraine, ShelterBox was responding in the Philippines to the aftermath of Super Typhoon Rai, which decimated homes and displaced millions in December 2021. The organization was also continuing its ongoing response in war-ridden Syria, where it has served continuously since 2011. Recipients of a ShelterBox kit in Malawi after flooding there in 2015. Photo courtesy ShelterBox. “It’s this kind of quiet work in conflict situations that are the reason ShelterBox has now been twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize,” Murray said of the Syrian efforts. “The essential premise behind the organization is that we provide the things that you need to sustain your life if you lose everything in an instant, and you’re forced to flee your home.” Supporting Ukrainian Refugees The United Nations estimates that 12 million Ukrainians have been displaced because of the war, with 7.7 million remaining within the country’s borders. The organization was prepared for the conflict with advance assessment work, something they attempt to do in any country where there is a potential for conflict. Learning from its experiences in Syria and other conflict zones, ShelterBox knew that the most effective response strategies would be the most portable. Its three projects in Ukraine include the following: Mattress distribution to provide refugees on the move with a comfortable place to sleep. “These are for people who are cycling through the collective (refugee) centers, so they’re not sleeping on floors,” explained Murray. Thousands have been used over the last five weeks, and are returned after use so that they can be distributed again.Shelter-in-place kits for Ukrainian homes that have been damaged by bombs, customized to regional needs. These include tarpaulins to cover roof or wall damage, basic tools and building supplies, as well as solar lights, water carriers, thermal blankets, and hygiene kits. “It’s a very customized bespoke kit based...

Human Touch Trumps Hype Apr28

Human Touch Trumps Hype

Should we be snapping up land in the metaverse? Splashing out on virtual real estate? Should we jump onto the next big thing for fear of missing out? Or should the real estate sector be more skeptical about technology? These were some of the questions Yardi’s Bernie Devine and JLL’s Jordan Kostelac explored in the latest instalment of the Yardi Proptech Insights series. As JLL’s director for proptech in the Asia Pacific, Kostelac is focused on turning one of the world’s biggest real estate agencies into a technology company that specialises in real estate. Kostelac’s job is to “separate the wheat from the chaff” to uncover the technological solutions that will improve efficiencies, enhance human experiences and create new value. Technology’s main goal is disintermediation or, as Kostelac says, “to get rid of the middleman.” But JLL has a 250-year history as an intermediary that strikes deals and supports operations, Devine noted. “To survive, agencies need to move to a substantially a tech-driven platform where the human touch that agencies bring is amplified, and delivered even better, even smoother and even faster.” But does that mean JLL will be building software to sell? Creating the software to support better internal processes? Or something else entirely? “All of the above – but none of them yet,” was Kostelac’s response. JLL is investing in core technologies to improve workflows and deliver efficiencies across the business. There is no replacing a good broker, the pair agreed, but technology does allow brokers to automate tedious parts of their job so they can focus on relationship building. JLL is “fighting over the trophy fish” of premium and A-grade leases. But these only represent a fraction of the market and in the hybrid world of work, “A-grade real estate isn’t the only real estate that will matter,” Kostelac said. Flexibility will drive demand for lower grade stock so businesses can distribute their networks and create authentic experiences. “It’s more than CBD concentration in the future.” A bigger market requires better access to data, Devine observed. The conversation turned to the metaverse and the challenge of separating overstatements and obfuscation from real estate reality. “The idea that buying virtual real estate now is like buying real estate in Manhattan 250 years ago is just crazy,” Kostelac laughed. But “FOMO – the fear of missing out – eats due diligence for breakfast.” The ’fake it until you make it’ mindset is embedded in Silicon Valley culture and “there has to be some science fiction otherwise there’s stagnation,” Kostelac added. But now the metaverse is emerging as the ‘next big thing,’ Devine noted. “Blockchain and smart contracts and virtual real estate… I’m still a bricks and mortar guy, because you can’t copy and paste Times Square ..The price of real estate is driven by scarcity. But virtual real estate has unlimited supply.” Kostelac pointed to Hong Kong and Sydney – where he and Devine were located – as two illustrations of why physical real estate has value. These cities boast two of the deepest harbours in the world. We can’t “program” 39 billion years of evolution into a metaverse. But in the metaverse, “assumed scarcity can simply be overwritten by a single line of code.” “We are looking at threats where they aren’t there. And opportunities where they aren’t as well,” Kostelac noted. But the stakes aren’t just economic – we have the looming existential threat of climate change as a reality check. What is the solution for a sector susceptible to chasing hype, Devine asked? “It’s very simple. Show me the evidence,” Kostelac concluded. Watch the latest instalment of Yardi’s Proptech Insights and register for our next session, with Proptech Association Australia’s founder Kylie Davis,...

Yardi Canada R&D...

Last fall, Zach Scott, vice president of programming for Yardi Canada, provided our readers with an illuminative look at the role of his engineering team on Yardi’s most cutting edge product offerings. In the research & development realm, progress moves fast, so recently we brought Scott back for an update on project progress and current initiatives. Let’s kick it off with machine learning, which is now being practically applied to multiple Yardi products, with more to come in the near future. Zach, tell us about machine learning’s role in the Yardi Full Service PayScan experience? Scott: On this machine learning test, we have almost 200 clients live. So far this year, we have processed 1.3 million invoices. We went from 290,000 invoices per month in January, to 390,000 in February, to 450,000 in March. We’re anticipating growth to 600 clients by mid-year. This has been a huge success. What machine learning does is automatically extract a half dozen key fields from the invoice image, such as invoice number, date, property details, vendor info, phone number, email address, and more. It pulls all of that directly off the invoice. The overall accuracy is typically around 75 to 80 per cent. How about the use of machine learning in the Yardi Marketplace on-boarding process? Scott: When new vendors are onboarded into Yardi Marketplace, it often means uploading massive spreadsheets that contain more than 20,000 product barcodes (SKU). Before machine learning was applied, this was a manual process that meant personnel were sorting through every SKU to place them into three categories. That means 60,000 category assignments had to be manually selected. This used to take weeks to complete. Thanks to machine learning, we can now categorize 20,000 SKUs in about 15 minutes. After that initial sorting,...

Aid for Refugees

Yardi will contribute $1 million to the relief efforts of non-profit humanitarian aid organizations working to assist and support Ukrainian nationals displaced by the war between Russia and Ukraine. “We are heartbroken to see the events happening in Ukraine, and as we hope for swift peace, we will be doing everything we can to help our neighbors,” said Bianca Geomolean, director of human resources at Yardi Romania. The United Nations estimates that over 3.7 million people have left the country because of the conflict, and up to 10 million are displaced within Ukraine. Many evacuees are attempting to reach neighboring countries, including Poland, Romania, Hungary and others. The United States announced today it would accept 100,000 refugees. Funds donated by Yardi will be distributed between the following organizations: UNICEF, the Romanian Red Cross, Direct Relief, ShelterBox, and five NGOs that are based in Romania: Fundația Regală Margareta a României, Dăruiește Viață, CERT Transilvania, Beard Brothers, and O Masă Caldă. “One of Yardi’s core values is to take care of the communities where our teams live and work. This time, this extends beyond the borders of our country,” Geomolean said. “We stand by Ukraine and its people, we stand with humanity, with freedom and with peace. We wish that our contribution will bring relief and a bit of hope to those in desperate need of it. Together, we are #EnergizedForGood!” UNICEF focuses on vulnerable refugees In Romania, UNICEF is supporting the Romanian Government, local authorities, UN agencies and non-government organizations to monitor the inflow of Ukrainian refugees and offer immediate support for urgent needs. UNICEF’s response focuses on establishing and operationalizing Blue Dots at the border crossings. Blue Dot locations are dedicated refugee children and family support hubs. They represent an integrated model that will provide support for the most immediate needs of children and women. Blue Dots will offer integrated services in child friendly spaces with a focus on the most vulnerable refugees, as well as assistance with family reunification and communication, information/advice desks, dedicated mother and child areas, psychosocial aid, hygiene, first aid and more. Blankets, warm clothing, health and recreational kits along with hygiene products and baby food will be available in Blue Dots as well. “UNICEF is working day and night to scale-up support for children and women affected by the escalating conflict. There are already three Blue Dots functional at Sighetu Marmatiei, Siret and Isaccea providing support to those crossing the border to Romania. Other Blue Dots will be operationalized in the following days,” said Pieter Bult, UNICEF Representative to Romania. UNICEF in Romania has launched an online appeal to raise funds for children’s needs affected by conflict in Ukraine. Personal donations can be made here. A portal for corporate donations is also available. ShelterBox sends humanitarian supplies ShelterBox, another organization Yardi has previously supported, is working on three projects – two within Ukraine and one to support refugees fleeing to neighboring countries. ShelterBox USA President Kerri Murray recently traveled to Poland’s border with Ukraine and met with refugees. Photo courtesy ShelterBox. Refugees from Ukraine in a temporary shelter. “ShelterBox USA is deeply grateful for Yardi’s contribution,” Murray said. “This charitable support will enable us to deliver critical relief supplies to Ukrainians who need them most. When I was working in Poland on the Ukraine border, I met with women and children who had to travel for days by foot, bus, and train flee the violence, many of whom had to leave members of their family behind to fight. Yardi’s support is critical to helping us provide essential aid to those families.” “Yardi values our long-term partnership with ShelterBox, a fellow Santa Barbara organization with a strong commitment and proven track record for assistance in disaster relief around the world,” said Arnie Brier, Yardi senior vice president. “We are reassured to see ShelterBox involved in supporting Ukrainian refugees during this devastating crisis.” ShelterBox provides humanitarian aid in...

YASC GLOBAL

Yardi held three days of educational online programming for clients March 8-10. This year’s digital Global Yardi Advanced Solutions Conference (YASC) focused on how technology can help meet the needs of today’s real estate industry across multiple verticals. More than 15,000 Yardi clients worldwide attended the three day event, and viewed more than 300 classes covering all aspects of Yardi’s technology offerings. More than 100,000 classes were attended over the the three days. In today’s challenging economy, efforts to automate and improve processes wherever possible can help overcome staffing challenges. Yardi executives showcased the company’s multiple product suites during overview spotlight sessions, which can be of tremendous help for business efficiency. Read on for some of the highlights. Meeting the changing needs of commercial clients Perhaps no real estate sector has experienced more changes during the pandemic than commercial real estate. Many offices have sat dormant for months or more while employees worked from home. The retail and restaurant landscape has been altered greatly. And the industrial and self storage sectors have seen a huge boom in demand. More than two years since the first U.S. lockdowns, impacts are being observed across CRE, said Yardi senior vice president Rob Teel. “I spend a lot of time with our office clients, executives and users of Voyager and our commercial product suite. It is true that vacancy is starting to creep up. Occupancy numbers are hipping a little bit – though not as much as people thought would happen during the pandemic.” As a result, creative owners and managers are exploring alternative uses for office space. They include coworking, either self-managed or working with a partner, which the Yardi Kube suite is perfectly positioned to help manage. Others are turning to mixed use, which opens the...

Innovation Acceleration Mar17

Innovation Acceleration

New Zealand’s property industry has accelerated its investment in technology in response to Covid-19 and embraced new systems and processes at a faster rate than its Australian counterparts, according to a new report. Despite this, six in 10 respondents to a survey conducted by the Property Council of New Zealand and software company Yardi still depend on spreadsheets to assess the performance of their portfolios. The survey of a senior cohort from New Zealand’s property industry sets a data baseline for what is expected to be an annual investigation into attitudes and actions influencing property technology, or proptech. “Property is New Zealand’s largest industry, generating 15 per cent of our economic activity, nine per cent of jobs and contributing more than $41.2 billion to GDP,” says Property Council New Zealand Chief Executive, Leonie Freeman. “But until now, we’ve lacked access to information which sheds light on the market saturation and acceleration of the digital tools that drive value in this important industry.” Almost two thirds (64%) of survey respondents said technology would play a pivotal role in reshaping their real estate portfolios in the next three years. And 95 per cent said the disruption of Covid-19 had driven adoption of digital technology. More than two thirds (68%) are now using Cloud-based productivity suites, for instance. Eighty-six per cent of respondents thought New Zealand trailed the rest of the world for tech adoption – despite being further advanced than other markets in many areas. For example, 77 per cent of Kiwi property companies use specialist accounting and finance system, compared with 22 per cent of Australian companies. “Kiwis are always looking to work smarter, and being small, lean and agile means we can pivot quickly towards new ideas and innovations,” Freeman says. Yardi’s Senior Regional Director Bernie Devine agrees. “The Covid-19 pandemic has taught New Zealand’s property leaders to prepare for ongoing unpredictability with new systems and processes that simplify complexity and enable flexibility.” Survey respondents noted business process automation (41%), big data analytics (27%) and artificial intelligence (18%) as the three technologies most likely to be adopted over the next three years. “This survey gives property industry leaders a clear sense of where they stand and exposes areas for investment and focus,” Devine adds. “Property leaders have emerged from the crisis with a new understanding of the role of the technology and we can expect investment to grow dramatically in the next few years.” “This report sets a baseline which demonstrates New Zealand’s property industry is proactive and positive about technology and adoption. Technology is now at the core of every successful property business,” Freeman concludes. Download the Yardi / Property Council Proptech...

Proptech Investment Mar14

Proptech Investment

More than three quarters of Australia’s real estate companies think technology will play a big role reshaping their portfolios over the next three years. Despite this, more than half of respondents to the second annual proptech survey by the Property Council of Australia and software company Yardi still depend on spreadsheets to assess the performance of their portfolios. The survey undertaken in November of 176 senior industry professionals – 92 per cent holding mid-level management positions or above – reveals the biggest barrier to technology adoption. Changing existing behaviour came in first, at 24 per cent, surpassing resources, costs, time or confidence in a project’s success. Just under half (49%) of respondents think Australia is trailing the rest of the world in proptech investment – up from 30 per cent in 2020. But Property Council Chief Executive Ken Morrison says the COVID-19 pandemic was a significant catalyst for change and digital transformation is underway across the industry. “The property industry has embraced new technologies to maintain business continuity and ensure the health and safety of workplaces during the pandemic,” Morrison says. “Now leaders are turning to technology to address long-term structural challenges like climate change, to respond to investor demand for real-time reporting and transparency, and to enhance the experience for people who live, work and play in buildings.” Yardi’s Senior Regional Director for Asia Pacific, Bernie Devine, agrees. “The pandemic has taught us the world is now consistently inconsistent. Leaders have learnt that preparing for ongoing unpredictability requires new systems and processes that can simplify complexity and enable flexibility.” The survey found business process automation was the technology most likely to be adopted over the next three years, with 32 per cent noting it was on their real estate radar. This was followed...

4 Big Questions Mar11

4 Big Questions

What are the biggest, boldest questions that everyone in real estate needs to answer? Last year, guests on Yardi’s Proptech Insights program shared their secrets to navigating the complex proptech ecosystem. Bernie Devine, Yardi’s Senior Regional Director, asked a lot of questions – and our guests offered many insightful answers. But to kick off 2022, Bernie and guest Adam Beck turned the tables by posing four provocative questions for the region’s property leaders to ponder over the year ahead. It’s a unique idea. But Devine and smart cities champion Adam Beck are unique thinkers. Beck, an urbanist who has championed smart and sustainable cities for more than 25 years, was most recently the Executive Director of the Smart Cities Council for Australia and New Zealand. He was also the architect of the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star Communities rating tool and has just launched a new platform, Urbanism.Live, which explores the edges of digital, data and urbanism. The edge of digital, data and urbanism are exciting. But Yardi’s latest research report, developed in partnership with the Property Council of Australia, found around half of Australia’s property companies are still reliant on spreadsheets to assess the performance of their portfolios. What is the barrier stopping these companies from moving beyond Excel? “Tech and data are not the challenge or the barrier. It is the people behind the tech and data,” Beck told Devine. Some quarters of the property industry are stubbornly resistant to change, but Beck – “the eternal optimist” – said big obstacles have been overcome before. Take the built environment’s response to sustainability. “It was considered too costly, too risky.” Fast forward 20 years, and markets now place a premium on green buildings. But this time, we don’t have 20 years,...

Transforming the Tenant Experience Feb18

Transforming the Tenant Experience

Over the last two years, the value equation in commercial real estate has continued to evolve. Four walls and functioning systems were once enough for tenants to sign long leases. Now experience is everything. Bricks-and-mortar is only as valuable as the experience it can deliver. This was one of the clear takeaways from the latest Yardi Proptech Insights webinar, hosted by Yardi APAC Regional Director Bernie Devine. In the sixth and final edition for 2021, Devine sat down with Chris Brooke for a chat. Brooke has spent more than 30 years looking at real estate from multiple angles. He led CBRE’s consulting across the Asia Pacific and in 2019 was the global President of RICS, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. An independent director of LINK REIT, one of the largest real estate investment trusts in Asia, Brooke is currently advising several property technology start-ups, including Proxy, which creates mobile-based identity technologies, and smart parking platform  Kerb. Commercial real estate was already heading down the innovation route on the technical side of buildings before Covid-19 upended the world, Brooke said. The pandemic has since forced a fundamental re-examination of commercial real estate. If work can be undertaken anywhere, what is the role of the office? Enter the experience era, where the office is the centre of collaboration and connection, teamwork and training, superior engagement and spontaneous exchange. But stepping up to support the experience era brings with it complexity and a range of big questions asked – and answered – during this proptech deep dive. How will proptech evolve in 2022? Proptech remains “highly fragmented,” but we can expect “consolidation, integration, aggregation” in the next 12 to 24 months, Brooke said. Why? Because landlords are no longer interested in fragmented single solutions. They know they need to build an ecosystem of engagement and experience for a diverse and dynamic list of stakeholders. As the commercial real estate sector grapples with how to consolidate all those individual great ideas into an integrated solution, the landlord and tenant must work together and collaborate effectively, Brooke noted. Who will take charge of the tenant experience? Where once commercial real estate was founded on a relationship between landlord and tenant, now landlords must also consider the needs of their tenants’ employees, customers and visitors to the building. “The spectrum of stakeholders has really expanded,” Brooke observed. Tenant customers are also exposed to multiple overlapping brands, Brooke added. The brand of the building itself is the obvious one. But there’s also the portfolio brand of large landlords, the agency brand of the property manager and the employment brand of large occupiers. “Whose experience do you want tenants to have?” Devine asked. “And what’s the value of making that decision?” Landlords are now tasked with integrating several brands into one tenant engagement app while respecting individuality and navigating data security, ownership and privacy. At the same time, such engagement platforms need to be integrated with employee experience initiatives being developed by major occupiers. How will we value tenant engagement? Bernie has watched the real estate industry’s level of investment in technology, as a percentage of revenue, “ever so slowly creep up.” But the market is still telling landlords to “do better.” Is it simply a matter of “show me the money?” It is difficult to apply traditional cost benefit analyses to weigh up the value of investment in tenant experience technology, Devine noted. “How do we measure the return on investment? Is it tenant satisfaction, stickiness or longer leases? Is it product differentiation? Did you get that outcome because of the app or was it another market influence?” How will tenant expectations evolve? Covid has driven a “flight to quality,” Brooke said, both in terms of physical buildings and the service offering and amenities provided by landlords. In the quest for quality, tenant experience apps are becoming “table stakes” for large owners. The challenge? To...

Epic Disruption Feb17

Epic Disruption

Big data, artificial intelligence and business process automation may be real estate industry buzzwords, but property companies should start with small data. That’s the key takeaway from the latest Mingtiandi-Yardi proptech survey, which captured the insights of senior leaders from across Asia. Yardi and Mingtiandi first teamed up to track changing attitudes to proptech in 2017. Since then, we’ve captured the accelerated adoption of technology to guide data-driven decision-making, transform business processes and enhance the experience for people who live, work and play in buildings. But we can see that pockets of the real estate industry remain stubbornly resistant to change, and some leaders continue to rely on ‘gut feel’ to make decisions. As one business leader told me recently: “I didn’t need data 20 years ago to make decisions, and I don’t need it today.” This ‘digital divide’ is very clear in our survey. For instance, nearly a third (32 percent) of survey respondents expect big data analytics to have the biggest impact on Asia’s real estate sector over the next five years. Conversely, 33 percent of property companies are still using spreadsheets for accounting, benchmarking and performance analysis, 26 percent for budgeting, 28 percent for valuations, and a massive 46 percent to manage their portfolio financing. Of course, there are some companies that are investing in technology and data at speed. But there is also a propensity for property players to throw around the ‘big data’ buzzword, when they should be focused on getting their simple back-office functions in order. Why, when the data clearly shows a growing gap between the leaders and laggards, are some companies choosing not to invest? The simple truth is change is hard work. Resistance to change remains the biggest barrier to proptech adoption across the region,...

Complexity and Challenge Dec11

Complexity and Challenge

The real estate sector is busy repositioning portfolios, pivoting into new sectors and pouring money into proptech. But will it be enough to meet the elevated demands of building customers in the post-pandemic world? This was the big question behind Bernie Devine’s latest Yardi Proptech Insights webinar. In the fifth instalment of the series for 2021, Brian Sutherland, vice president, commercial at Yardi joined Devine, regional director, APAC, for a chat. Sutherland started his own e-commerce company at age 16 and today is responsible for leading commercial sales and marketing for Yardi across the United States. Sutherland is passionate about the power of technology to enhance engagement and bring asset owners closer to their customers, and his insights were fascinating. Office landlords have enjoyed a clear advantage during the Covid-19 era, Devine and Sutherland agreed. Long leases have given them the luxury of time to consider the future carefully. Tenants are on a “flight to quality,” want shorter and more flexible leases, and are scrutinising sustainability attributes of space, they noted. In response, building owners are amenitising their assets, Sutherland said, to create spaces that facilitate “culture, coaching and collaboration”. This presents new revenue streams, and Devine pointed to a clear trendline towards non-rental revenue growth. “But more services mean more business processes and more complexity.” Office landlords can learn much from the retail sector, which had already faced a tidal wave of disruption from the e-commerce titans, and which had reacted and repositioned assets before Covid-19 hit. In some cases, the pandemic’s reclassification of retail as an essential service had been an advantage, Sutherland said. Some malls continue to struggle, but others are adapting rapidly to the new normal and transforming empty space into distribution hubs and last-mile delivery centres. Sutherland mentioned the local Urban Outfitters store in Santa Barbara, Calif. (where Yardi is headquartered) which now has staff members packing boxes in store – “something we haven’t seen before” but is necessary as competition with Amazon heats up. Retail is often set up for dispatch and delivery and “retasking spaces” for last mile distribution made perfect sense, Devine added. But, again, this repositioning and retasking adds complexity. A new philosophy – one that prioritises user experience – was emerging, Devine observed. “I often like to say a building is a device.” But seeing a building as a device requires mobile-led solutions. A flood of money is streaming into tenant experience apps. HQO raised $60 million in funding in April, while VTS acquired workplace experience platform Lane for $200 million in October. These are just two examples. There is a lot of curiosity from landlords about how apps can make their assets perform better.  “Are they going to be able to produce more yield of have a better experience in their properties?” Yardi’s team is thinking hard about this question. Yardi’s tenant app, which currently has 75-plus active asset owners, is currently being expanded to address how employees, vendors and even visitors connect with the app when they enter a building. What does the future look like? Sutherland believes the office’s outlook is bright, but he can’t see “expectations around the experience within a building” abating. That requires a far greater investment in technology – and in “platforms to support and facilitate a positive experience with the physical environment.” Now is the time for landlords to listen to their customers and “to really push new ideas within their properties,” he...

Building Experiences Dec05

Building Experiences

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, may have been attracting headlines for the eye-watering sums splashed on digital artworks and virtual land. But behind the hype is a digital key that can help the real estate industry create better experiences in their buildings, foster engaged communities and, ultimately, unlock new value. Mars House, a digital home designed by Toronto-based artist Krista Kim, sold for more than half a million dollars in 2021, changing the way we think about virtual real estate. By the end of the year, a virtual plot of land in online world Decentraland had sold, using an NFT, for a record $2.4 million worth of cryptocurrency. A lot of folks in the real estate sector have made the mental leap and are looking at how NFTs can support fractional ownership and debt financing. But to my mind, what’s even more exciting is the role of NFTs in the future of the workplace. A “non-fungible token,” as the name suggests, is a unique digital item stored on a digital ledger called a blockchain. Ownership of an NFT is easy to certify and transfer, which is why they are being used to tokenise unique items like art, collectibles and real estate. But NFTs can be a bridge between the digital and physical worlds. NFTs can be used as tickets or membership cards, giving people access to events, experiences, products or discounts. Imagine attaching an NFT to each service in a building? Think treadmills in the office gym, entry to Friday night drinks on the rooftop terrace, discounted movie tickets at concierge or yoga class reservations. Each unique NFT can connect a smart building to smart contracts to provide smart services. This idea may sound revolutionary, but it is simply another evolution of the office. The...

Transparent Data Nov24

Transparent Data

How will transparent data revolutionise real estate? This was the underlying question for Ben Robinson, CEO of Raffles Quay Asset Management in Singapore, when he sat down with Yardi’s Bernie Devine recently for the latest instalment of Yardi Proptech Insights. Ben oversees the largest integrated mixed-use development at Singapore’s Marina Bay. In real estate terms, One Raffles Quay and Marina Bay Financial Centre constitute 4.5 million square feet of prime Grade A office and 179,000 square feet retail space. In human terms, the precinct is usually the workplace of 26,000 people. Four years ago, RQAM realised digital technology was the key to engaging with this 26,000-plus workforce. “We had no brand with the individuals who worked in our precinct, and we needed to communicate with them directly. That’s where we started our digital transformation,” Robinson says. By the Bay was launched in 2019. More than a tenant app, By the Bay is also a booking system for RQAM’s BaySpace flexible workplace solution. It is a connector that gives people access to BayFit exercise classes and education. It is a platform to support BayDine and the array of food and beverage options, rewards and discounts at Marina Bay. And it puts BayGreen, with information and ideas to live and work more sustainably, into the palm of people’s hands. Fast forward to 2021. With just 15% of people at their desks each day, due to work-from-home orders, By the Bay has proved an invaluable tenant engagement tool. Among the current benefits are mindfulness classes, a national steps challenge, complimentary gym passes and health assessments, as well as dining vouchers and exclusive perks. “We’ve got a great playground at our disposal,” Robinson noted. By the Bay supports RQAM’s vision to deliver “premium” hospitality experiences, Ben added. By the Bay’s digital access controls, for example, not only allow occupants to enter and exit their building safely in a few smart phone clicks. People can also invite guests into the space, which means concierge can “come out from behind the desk and act as experience ambassadors” rather than “taking numbers and handing out cards.” By the Bay’s anonymised data, complemented by data from building information systems, is stored in a data lake dubbed BayWatch. The data lake will take time to fill, Ben said. Understanding future trends is dependent on a solid history of past data. But with the right tools, we can “forecast the future of space – and this is something we haven’t been able to do before,” Devine added. Devine, who is responsible for Yardi’s growth in Asia, said the pandemic had forced a rethink of how people use space right across the region. Real estate organisations now realise they aren’t space providers – they are service providers, he said. “I’m seeing base rent as a percentage of total revenue getting smaller – not because base rent is going down but because the proportion of value add is increasing.” “But that brings complexity” and demands more sophisticated back-end systems. Yardi is on a journey of “connecting the property to the business,” Devine added. In June, Yardi acquired UK-based Forge Bluepoint, a cloud-based visitor management solution that connect turnstile, elevator and parking data to other Yardi platforms, like its all-in-one co-working management system, Kube. While RQAM expects some “rationalisation,” Robinson does not predict a “significant” drop in space requirements. Tenants will be looking for more room for collaboration and projects, for example, and will need more overflow space on peak days of the week. This is where BaySpace can step in. BaySpace is more than a flexible workspace offering. It is an “enterprise solution” that can support tenants with everything from fully-designed and fitted space to financing, Robinson noted. RQAM’s analytics capabilities already provide rich insights into this flexible workspace offering and “forward indicators of growth and contraction requirements are going to be very powerful.” Robinson suggests starting with “quick and dirty...

Post-Pandemic CRE Priorities Nov19

Post-Pandemic CRE Priorities

Canadian commercial real estate tenants and investors are becoming increasingly sophisticated in tracking their assets. Their inquiries are expanding beyond payments and quarterly reports. The overarching theme for the next six to 12 months will be environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices supported by reliable data. To remain competitive, property owners, operators and landlords must take these priorities into account. Upgrades drive ROI An emphasis on healthy workspaces will be a principal legacy of the pandemic, prompting owners and occupiers alike to prioritize such things as HVAC upgrades and touchless restrooms. Many owners are seeking WELL Building Standard™ and Fitwell® certifications, which bolsters facilities’ current status while preparing for potential future virus-related health emergencies. Significant ROI is possible by attaining one of these building certifications, with studies showing that effective rents are between 4.4% and 7.7% higher per square foot for properties that hold them. Such certifications also help satisfy health and well-being concerns among asset and fund-level stakeholders, apply to international assets and contribute to GRESB scores. Tech enables workplace flexibility, energy intelligence With almost half of working Canadians wanting a flexible work schedule and guaranteed safe return to the work environment, corporate tenants and property owners will be seeking platforms for office hoteling to aid with occupancy management. These mobile solutions help organizations streamline communication, enforce capacity limits and allows staff to reserve their desks in advance, in real time. This increased transparency can enhance the employee experience and boost workplace confidence. Similar technology on the marketplace includes ESG-related tools with energy intelligence and automation capabilities that gives operators and maintenance teams real-time access to building performance metrics. These features help staff reduce operating costs, promote efficiency and improve occupant comfort from anywhere. By monitoring HVAC investments and sending automated notifications directing staff to address potential equipment failures, such systems can produce average HVAC energy savings of 5-10%. The investor’s stake These new capabilities are as important to investors as they are to landlords and tenants, according to a  CBRE report on investor strategies. They’re weighing amenities connected to health, safety and shift flexibility more heavily in their investment decisions. ESG also carries more weight in investment decisions, with investors recognizing its impact on energy costs, insurance premiums and other operational elements. That will prompt more investments in capital needs to make buildings more resilient. Investors also increasingly expect on-demand access to key metrics, capital transactions, documents and reports. Similar to energy management platforms, investment managers can leverage a single connected suite of solutions to gain a comprehensive view of investment performance and improve collaboration among property operators and investors. Learn how Yardi solutions for flexible workspaces, energy management and investment management meet and centralize the needs of property owners, tenants and investors of today and...

Change Management Nov05

Change Management

An amalgamation of several housing firms presented a unique challenge for one of Canada’s largest social housing providers. Each faction brought its own technology, workflows and data. After nearly two decades of managing disparate systems, it was time for a change. Host Tarun George, manager of Strategic Partnerships and Development, Ontario Non-profit Housing Association (ONPHA) led the Rethinking Social Housing Technology webinar. He was joined by panelists Luisa Andrews, vice president, Information Technology Services, Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) and Nick Davis, vice president, Professional Services, Yardi. The group discussed the challenges of bringing outdated systems into the modern age of integration, automation and simplicity in social housing technology. United but disparate TCHC was founded in 2002 after the amalgamation of other housing organizations. To manage its 110,000 residents across more than 2,100 buildings, TCHC relied on a piecemeal arrangement of technologies. At that time, employees struggled to see an integrated picture of the new organization. Over the next 16 years, frustrations mounted over inefficiencies and inconsistencies. Andrews joined the organization in 2018. She noted, “at that time, the technologies didn’t meet our emerging needs, so TCHC worked with developers to create custom solutions. There were a few attempts at accounting upgrades but there was no application portfolio strategy.” Andrews’ mission was to bring change that would help the organization thrive. Transformation begins at TCHC TCHC intensified its search for integrated and scalable property management technology. TCHC identified Yardi Voyager Social Housing as the best fit for their accounting and operational needs across their entire organization. To simplify their energy management strategy, they selected YES Energy. Adapting RentCafe Social Housing’s tenant portal, which would meet residents’ expectations for virtual communication and rent collection, is in TCHC’s future vision “It wasn’t just a tech transformation....

Canada Checks In Oct18

Canada Checks In

Want to know what Canadian tenants want? Results from the sixth Multifamily Tenant Preference Survey are in! Yardi Canada is a proud sponsor of this annual survey that garnered feedback from more than 36,000 tenants. Survey results were presented by Amy Ericson, Global President, Avison Young Investment Management. Her presentation offers the inside scoop on the features and amenities that are worth your investment. Understanding what tenants want, made easy Multifamily Tenant Preference Survey responses represent a nice blend of tenants, with over half of the respondents seeking homes in urban areas and the remainder in outlying areas. Let’s start with the basics. Inside a unit, tenants’ three top preferences include: Elevator AccessBalcony/ Private Outdoor SpaceAbundant Natural Light To find their ideal units, over 50% of the respondents found their rental unit through electronic means such as an ILS or property website. About 70% of renters visited the landlord’s website, and almost half said it influenced their decision. Once on the site, they checked out available photos, floor plans and tour options. Though 60% of tenants are interested in virtual tours, they still want to visit units in person. Tenants want fun close to home Commutes are a thing of the past. Tenants want to be close to the action. This reflects the returning trend of the 15-minute city and may inform future property investment decisions. On-premises programming is in high demand. Renters wanted events and activities within their communities. There is no need to guess what type of programming they’re into. Respondents’ top preferences still surround health and wellness. Such programming is a terrific way to build a sense of community amongst neighbours, a key retention strategy. This helps to fill a void that many renters felt: about 40% of respondents wanted an...