Up the creek – Telia tells CRE market to get on board with IoT, or go down with the boat
The commercial real estate (CRE) market is in dire straits, and desperate for change. It was up the creek already, even before Covid-19 forced the current, holed the boat, and swiped the paddle. And even if the latest IoT tech promises to furnish old craft with new digital engines, there’s a whole flotilla emerging from the stink to carry the market home again.
That was the message this week from Swedish telco Telia, which has published a report on digital change in CRE as the world continues to grapple with Covid-19, and stays home for work and play. There is an opportunity, it said, to teach old (sea) dogs new digital tricks, but the horizon is fading and piratical new-age rivals are ready to plunder, and sail past.
“If someone’s going to disrupt your industry, it should be you,” said Björn Hansen, head of IoT at Telia. “Vital solutions include IoT and data insights,” the company stated, in a press note, seeking to raise awareness of its own IoT solutions – and to promote a report on the state of ‘things’ in the CRE market, backed by a poll of CRE owners and managers in the Nordic and Baltic region.
Hansen commented: “Although Covid-19 has put the real estate industry in the spotlight, its challenges already existed before the pandemic began. Increasing urbanization, environmental awareness and the ever-growing digital demands of tenants mean that facility owners need to embrace digital tools to stay competitive.
“We want to help real-estate customers and facility owners to meet these new demands and to be more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly. But the time to start is now – if someone’s going to disrupt your industry, it should be you.”
Management consultancy firm Arthur D. Little surveyed the local market for the report; the big stat, it said, was that 70 percent of real-estate owners and facility managers have not yet made any concrete plans for digital change, even as Covid-19 has effectively shut them down – and as many as 87 percent recognize the sense of urgency and the perceived value of digitalization.
Telia said: “Long-established behaviours and business patterns [have] changed instantly. Many of the new demands will remain, and real-estate owners and managers will need to offer greater flexibility, better cost-efficiency and greater tenant satisfaction than ever before. Digitalization is identified as the main enabler.”
The answer (of course!) is in tech. “Data can provide analytics and insights, ending the guessing game and enabling better decision-making and prediction. To keep up and to be able to compete with the digital-native businesses entering the market, facility owners need to evolve their services.”
Kristofer Ågren, head of data insights at Telia, said: “When combining insights from IoT data and anonymous mobility data, our customers can develop a deeper understanding of how a building is operating, make more accurate forecasts, and learn how mobility patterns inside and outside a building affect utilization. Such insights have not only proven vital during the pandemic but are also crucial to managing efficient and sustainable buildings.”
Agron Lasku, partner and head of telecom at Arthur D. Little, said: “During the last decade, a new generation of digital-first companies made their way into the real-estate market, disrupting the century-old business models with digital services for renting, leasing and managing facility-related activities. To defend their turf and to capture new revenue streams, facility owners need to step up their game, rethink the scope of their operations and accelerate the digitalization of core services.”