Digital Twins are Shaking the Foundations of the Property Industry

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Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of standing alongside Mark Tait, Group Executive and Head of Commercial Development at Investa at the IoT World Congress in Barcelona. The conference was a whirlwind and although it didn’t quite match the grandeur of the Sagrada Familia or the theatre of Las Ramblas, it did capture the excitement that permeates its host city.

Together, we explained how the partnership between Willow and Investa — a 5-year journey across multiple buildings and cities — has powered the evolution of the digital twin for the built environment.

Over the past decade, digital technologies have disrupted just about every industry, ushering in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Social media platforms, on-demand streaming services, and online shopping have changed the way we work, shop, and entertain ourselves. Not only that, but companies themselves have been reshaped, focusing on productivity, transparency, and sustainability.

There is no doubt that we are on the cusp of something extraordinary and the built world will be transformed in the next decade. There is a growing tide of owners and occupiers that do not intend to flounder in the backwash of the coming age of technology transformation in the built world, who will harness the power of the Digital Twin.

Over 100 years ago, Thomas Edison gave us electricity and a platform for it to be applied to industry, Henry Ford one of the early adopters lead the way in 1904. Those great companies, those great innovators, the visionaries that defined the modern world: the category makers that rode the first waves of the industrial revolution, the first waves of information age and the first waves of the internet century. They were willing and brave to lead the new way forward to pioneer new technology and embrace innovation. The modern world was conquered by those who moved forward.

As the great Isaac Newton said in 1675, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” For us at Willow, we stand with confidence on the shoulders of some of the world’s largest and most admired owners of real estate and infrastructure networks. Together, we will be at the leading edge of innovation and technology in order to bring a new chapter to the built world that is more connected, more sustainable, more intuitive, and more innovative.

Willow and Investa
(L-R) Nathan Lyon (Head of Building Technology, Investa), Michelle Zamora (Chief Marketing Officer, Willow), Mark Tait (Group Executive and Head of Commercial Development, Investa), Joshua Ridley (CEO and Co-founder, Willow), Dale Brett (Chief Product Officer and Co-founder, Willow), Shen Chiu (Development Director, Commercial Development, Investa), Toni Trumbull (Client Director, Willow)

Investa and Willow’s relationship is a testimony to the power of partnerships between innovators and visionaries that can reshape the world.

The Evolution of the Digital Twin

Although the concept of a digital twin isn’t new, there are three mega trends that are making it a possibility for any property: processing power available at scale, high speed connectivity with increased bandwidth, and significant sensor technology improvements at reduced costs.

The digital twin create a platform that captures every piece of data across the entire building lifecycle, and generates a real-time, interactive model of the building. This platform unlocks the value of data in real time. It provides powerful insights and analytics that transform the efficiency, compliance, standards of construction and operation of a building. As a result, owners develop more highly valued buildings and better experiences for their tenants.

Investa first brought in our Digital Engineering team to support their digital transformation over five years ago. This team specialises in capturing, validating, structuring and managing data. This highly specialised service enhances the design and delivery process, improves constructability, reduces risk and improves asset management throughout the project lifecycle.

Investa had created a Building Information Model (BIM) for many of their landmark buildings but became frustrated by the fact that the massive amounts of data generated in this process was often discarded at the end of construction. They saw a huge opportunity to leverage this valuable information to inform the management of facilities in the operation phase of their assets.

A Legacy of Partnership

Willow and Investa

567 Collins Street, a 600,000sqf premium-grade commercial office building in Melbourne, Australia, became one of the first properties in the world to capture all of the data and have it accessible in real time. Investa could know where over 50,000 assets in the building were, from flooring to door handles, and had access to over 14,000 live data points to tell which lights, pumps, and lifts are working in real time, on a totally open platform.

In 2019, the iconic 60 Martin Place will launch in Sydney. The project started out in 2012 with the developers shuffling into Town Hall to collect paper copy drawings. Next year, it will be entirely digitally enabled when it is handed over from construction to operations, with one final handshake and a notification on the building manager’s smartphone — saving hundreds of thousands of dollars that are caused by delays, lost information and inevitable disputes.

Willow and Investa
The digital twin of Investa's Barrack Place

The digital twin is changing the way Investa does business, and in turn Investa is changing the built world. The most exciting thing about this platform is the possibilities. It is about so much more than just creating a digitally enabled building. The Willow platform enables Investa to understand exactly what is going on, through receiving live data directly from their assets. There are a number of ‘software as a service’ products that give Investa access to security, concierge or even maintenance services. It also creates a marketplace for third-party applications – like the App Store or Google Play, you can integrate other solutions into the one platform.

Digital twins for the built environment will change the way we create places that people live, work, and play. It’s amazing to see a growing group of visionary owners like Investa who are embracing innovation and taking advantage of the revolution happening in 2018.

Joshua Ridley is the CEO and Co-Founder of Willow

About Willow
Willow is the digital twin for the built world. Our mission is to empower every person and organisation to connect with the built world in a whole new way. For more, visit


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Rich Miller

Chief Technology Officer

Rich is responsible for building out Willow’s software engineering practice and has a passion for embracing technology challenges and developing solutions to solve them.

Barrack Place, 151 Clarence Street

Dale Brett

Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder

Dale is the Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Willow, Australia’s fastest growing provider of smart technology for the built world. With a personal drive to solve complex and real-world problems with technological solutions, Dale leads the technology, product, and innovation at Willow.

In the last two years alone, Dale has led the ideation and implementation of groundbreaking technologies such as the WillowTwin™ Technology Platform, the Marketplace, and the WillowRail Operations to name a few. The technology is now being utilised by the world’s largest real estate owners, including Microsoft, AXA, and Investa Property Group. The common goal being, to make the world more sustainable, connected, intuitive, and innovative.

Joshua Ridley

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

Joshua oversees the strategic direction, growth, and management of Willow. He is passionate about culture, people, and growing a global company that has a positive impact on our world.

Joshua has built a reputation for his strong leadership and innovation with some of the largest and most admired owners of infrastructure and real estate, including the Durst Organisation and Macquarie. He believes in building a global network of strong partners and has spearheaded partnerships with leading organisations such as Microsoft, thyssenkrupp, and Strukton Rail.

He has overseen the development of over $10B of projects through Design and Construction in a senior leadership capacity, and has partnered with preeminent architects, including KPF, Foster & Partners, Perkins Will, and Grimshaw. In Australia, he has worked on major projects with companies including Investa, GPT, Mirvac, Grocon, Brookfield, Multiplex, John Holland, CPB, Pontiac, Star, and NSW Government.

Joshua is our lead corporate spokesperson, covering the history of Willow, our vision for the built world, client engagements, and breaking stories.

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Queens Plaza Park

Top Golf (various locations)

Waterloo Road Campus

477 Collins Street

100 Queens Street

32 Smith Street

567 Collins Street

Sydney Metro Martin Place

Daniel Kalnins

Global Head of Digital

Daniel is responsible for the technical and strategic direction of the Digital Engineering Services Team. He is also a member of the Senior Executive Team in helping shape the path of the current and future business focus.

Tempo Drummoyne

Sydney Light Rail

Corporate Connect Stages 2 & 3

Summer Hill

Global Switch Ultimo

Pittsburgh International Airport

60 Martin Place

480 Hay Street /
The Westin Hotel Perth

The Sandstones Precinct

The Star Sovereign Resort

The Ribbon

Gerard Francis

CEO WillowRail, Global Head of Infrastructure

Gerard oversees the strategic direction, growth, and management of WillowRail and Willow’s Infrastructure operations.

With a wealth of experience in the Infrastructure space, Gerard has utilised his depth of knowledge and leadership to provide strong governance, strategic direction and operational stability as Willow enters a new phase of growth and maturity.

Sallyann Aitken

Vice President of Sales, Infrastructure

Sallyann leads Willow’s new business development strategy and customer engagement.

Jim Cooney

Board Member

Jim is the chairman and majority shareholder of TCI Renewables. Jim co-founded TCI Australia in 1996 and under his direction the TCI Group has become globally one of most successful and reliable technology systems integrators. The TCI Group provides a full suite of services and tailored solutions to dozens of major international clients operating in Australia, North America and Europe. Following TCI Australia’s listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in December 2004, Jim won the prestigious Ernst & Young Australian Entrepreneur of the Year award for 2005. Jim is a Chartered Engineer of 25 years commercial experience in Europe and Australia, holding a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Sydney, a Master of Science from the University of London and the Diploma of Imperial College.


Cube is a fully secure, supported plug and play device that enables all the benefits and value of Willow’s solution for your building or infrastructure network/vehicle. Installing a Cube creates an environment where apps from any language and framework can run securely on the edge, whilst streaming live data to the cloud.

David Ossip

Vice President of Growth, General Counsel and Company Secretary

In addition to being Willow’s General Counsel and Company Secretary, David is responsible for leading Willow’s engagement on items of strategic importance in his capacity as Vice President of Growth. David successfully managed Willow’s Series A capital raise in 2019 and prior to this was a solicitor at a top-tier Australian commercial law firm, where he specialised in commercial litigation.

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Scott Smith

Global Head of Microsoft Partnership

Scott is responsible for building out the Willow partnership with Microsoft, identifying and executing on the significant opportunity for both organisations resulting from the unprecedented computing power available via the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge.

Tess Hattingh

Chief Operating Officer

Tess has an overarching role across many facets of the Willow business, from company strategy to HR, Marketing, and Operations.

With over 20 years’ experience, Tess ensures the wheels are oiled and the Willow way is upheld.

Toni Trumbull

Vice President, Real Estate Solutions

Toni works closely with our Real Estate customers to explore new digital strategies designed to create value for their business. As part of this role, her responsibility is to communicate the customer voice back to the Willow team to ensure complete alignment and success.
Toni has over 15 years experience in the management and operations of commercial assets for large institutions as well as having a strong passion for science and technology and how it applies to the built world. This passion and the critical role data plays in the digitisation of Real Estate has led Toni to undertake a Masters in Data Science, complimenting her degree in Property Economics.

Catherine Harding

Legal Counsel

Catherine provides legal guidance and support across company activities and oversees compliance with regulatory and industry requirements. She is the in-house Counsel for both Willow and EG.

Catherine has extensive experience in international and domestic public policy development, and communications.

Mary Carroll-Coelho

Customer Success Manager

Mary actively works with and listens to our customers. Together, they define the future partnership between Willow and their company. She defines the key problems to solve; often describing her work as, “helping our partners figure out if they want socks or warm feet.” What the real issue is and how data can help us solve it.

Mary has spent the last ten years working in architecture, construction technology, and education. She has overseen the construction of designs ranging from 5,000 sf to 1,400 ac. She has worked with leaders in the design industry including KieranTimberlake Architects and Atelier Jean Nouvel. As a manager in the Construction Innovation Studio at the We Company, Mary has worked across the globe and understands the benefit and need for data in the real estate industry.


Experience provides a seamless, intuitive and enjoyable mobile experience that incorporates the latest in emerging building technologies including smart access control for doors, lifts and lockers all controlled via your smart phone. The app is a powerful tool to attract and retain tenant engagement whilst providing powerful analytics and insights.

Time Machine

Time Machine is a native Willow application that enables users to compare & analyse live data, troubleshoot faults, and discover insightful trends across an entire portfolio.

Command Platform

Command Platform is a single interface for all operational aspects of your digital twin, including operational performance, live information from edge devices and inputs from third-party applications.

Live Data

Live Data is a SaaS feature of Willow. It aggregates data in real time from all devices at a portfolio or infrastructure network-wide level and enables a connection-friendly data set for third parties to read and leverage data via the Willow App Store.

Twin Creator

Twin Creator provides insights into digital twin creation. By
tracking spatial data, asset data and live data inputs, it allows
users to validate the progress of the twin visually and intuitively.
Through the Twin Creator, head contractors and owners can
better manage their stakeholders and supply chain deliverables,
reducing defects and data loss.

Nicholas Moore


Nicholas is a former Chief Executive Officer of Macquarie Group Limited. He retired after 33 years at Macquarie, and 10 years as CEO from 2008 – 2018.

Nicholas has a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws from UNSW. He was admitted as a solicitor and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. In 2017, Nicholas was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Business from UNSW.

He is Chairman of Screen Australia, The Centre for Independent Studies, The Smith Family, Willow Technology Corporation, the National Catholic Education Commission, and a Member (and former Chair) of the University of NSW Business School Advisory Council.

Nicholas was previously Chairman of the PCYC NSW from 2002 – 2015, and the Sydney Opera House Trust from 2015 – 2020.

Adrian Fisk

Chief Financial Officer & Global Head of Partnerships

Adrian’s responsibilities include strategic direction, financial performance, partnership management, and processes across Willow’s global network of offices.

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Rachel Ebalan-Ramirez

General Manager, Manila

Rachel leads the overall operations and general management of the Manila office to ensure all activities are aligned with the company business objectives.

She serves as a key part of the Operations Executive Group with input into the strategies formulated for operational growth, practice improvements, efficient resourcing and project delivery, culture development, and structure across the whole business.

Rachel oversees all Manila-based Shared-Services Teams and manages the execution of an effective and collaborative approach in providing support to the global company operations.

Andrew Phelan

Vice President Operations, North America

Andrew oversees the delivery and implementation of Willow’s solutions to all customers across the region.

Justin Gurney

Global Head of Delivery

Justin is responsible for the management and delivery of all contracted projects across all regions. He is inspired by Willow’s vision and drive to transform the property industry and brings to Willow over 25 years of experience in architecture and construction.

Dr. Michael Easson, AM FRICS FAICD

Director and Co-Founder

Michael guides Willow’s vision and strategic direction, provides corporate governance oversight and assists the company in fostering strategic long-term relationships. Michael’s experience in infrastructure and property is extensive across the private and public sectors, with over 35 years experience in real estate development and investment.

Adam Geha

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Adam is responsible for guiding Willow’s capital raising activities and regularly reviewing financial strategy and performance.

In addition to his role with Willow, Adam is the CEO and Co-founder of EG Funds Management, where he has led and supervised over USD 1.8 billion in commercial property investment and development for over 20 years.

Lee Fogarty

Principal & Head of Pre-Contracts

Lee leads the proposals and commercial engagement frameworks company wide. He specializes in contractual negotiations and strategic leadership of the digital delivery of building information modeling driving architectural procurement, facility handover and building operations.

Lee has been involved in a large number of projects from design phase into construction and operation. He knows how to harness the latest technologies to build buildings in the virtual world creating streamlined documentation that facilitates more cost and time efficient projects.

Shaun Klann

President, Global Head of Real Estate

Shaun leads the United States and European operations of Willow as well as managing the company’s Real Estate operations. With a background combining engineering, strategic consulting, and property development, Shaun has come to be recognised as one of North America’s most sought after smart building experts.

Shaun is our lead spokesperson for growth in the US and Europe.

Rani Adam

Chief Innovation Engineer

Rani oversees the technical development and engineering on a global scale. His experience to date, having produced technology for a spectrum of sectors, is both visionary and practical. In creation of technology for e-commerce, rail, fintech, infrastructure and commercial real estate applications, Rani enables effortless user experiences. His experience in complex backend design has allowed for B2B (business-to-business), B2C (business-to-customer), and P2P (peer-to-peer) interactivity and economy.

In addition to realising universal applications for technology (spanning web and mobile), Rani is responsible for leading Willow’s Software Engineering Teams through complex and specialised project conditions.

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