The Digital Transformation of Commercial and Corporate Real Estate: Realcomm 2019 In Review

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Last month, members of the Willow team flew from all over the world to Nashville, Tennessee for the Realcomm IBcon conference. The conference theme, RECalibrate: Using Innovation to Turn Challenges into Opportunities, addressed the pervasive nature of corporate and commercial real estate’s digital transformation, which impacts every aspect of our industry: how we manage data and information, how we operate buildings and portfolios, as well as the way we use and experience space. The influence of the digital transformation across corporate and commercial real estate reaches from the organisation as a whole right down to each individual at the company.

In Realcomm’s spirit of turning challenges into opportunities, Willow exhibited in Microsoft’s Partner Pavilion with the intention to begin and foster relationships with companies who place innovation as an integral part of their organisations – aiming not only to survive, but to thrive in this dynamic, rapidly-changing time for our industry.

Within our booth, we featured the WillowTwin™ solution that Willow developed for an existing building on Microsoft’s headquarter campus in Redmond, Washington.

As the Willow team wandered the exhibit hall, listened and participated in the presentations, and reveled with new and old friends in the industry at Nashville’s notorious live music bars, one thing became incredibly clear: technology is changing quickly and the demands from our buildings and people are evolving – so the days of “technology for technology’s sake” in real estate are behind us.

Willow Engagement Manager Nikki Chan has been attending Realcomm since 2014, and commented on how noticeably the conversation around smart buildings has matured over the past five years. “The focus is no longer education on smart buildings, but how owners should use the technologies. Instead of asking “what is a smart building?” and “how do I make my buildings smart?” today’s questions revolve around “how do I make smart building technology work for my company?” Each company will have a different answer to this question. One size doesn’t fit all.” Both owners and occupants of real estate are more technologically sophisticated and have a much better understanding of the application and benefit of technology.

Toni Trumbull, Client Director at Willow sees that the focus on energy and performance, while still important, is no longer the key motivator for owners. Rather, the challenge of using technology to enhance the occupant experience of buildings was of great interest at the conference. “Owners need to be more competitive to attract and retain high quality occupants on long leases with strong lease terms. To do this they need to start offering occupants not only a smart base building, but their own smart workplaces. Without integrating building systems and data hosted in the cloud, this is difficult to achieve and continues to be approached by offering disparate, dated and siloed solutions. It makes the sharing of data (energy, access etc) with occupants slow and clunky. Giving occupants access to their own real time data is a game changer.

This theme was also evident in the conversation that emerged during the panel Finally a Metric – How Intelligent is Your Intelligent Building?, during which Investa Property Group’s Shen Chiu, Microsoft’s Rimes Mortimer, and Willow Co-Founder and CEO Joshua Ridley introduced the International Intelligent Buildings Index (IB Index) – a not-for-profit research initiative to standardise and quantify a building’s intelligence. As the smart building technology deployed in buildings continues to rapidly evolve and diversify, the IB Index aims to help owners and developers make informed decisions about how to evaluate the value (financial, environmental and social) that the technology brings to buildings and portfolios. Willow President Shaun Klann moderated the discussion.

Willow Digital Project Director Andrew Phelan attributed the extraordinary quantity and diversity of vendors and solution providers exhibiting at the conference to a broader shift in thinking about technology in real estate. “The major investment being made into the Proptech industry and Smart Building Technology sector is quite astounding. The demand for what these sectors are providing is changing, and will continue to change more in the coming years.

He sees that we’re at the beginning of a major wave of IoT solutions coming to market, which is introducing brand new sets of data that owners will have to make sense of. “As opposed to having just tech for tech’s sake, or a collection of tech solutions that will each only address a single issue, owners and operators will need to adopt holistic solutions that solve business-scale problems.

During the panel discussion Smart Building Digital Twins – The Industry Weighs In, it became clear that Digital Twin technology provides the framework that empowers owners with the freedom to deploy the smart building solutions of their choice, and visualise the often siloed data in a single pane of glass. Investa Property Group’s Nathan Lyon and Brookfield Properties’ Kent Tarrach shared their experiences leveraging Digital Twin technology to improve the management of their facilities and provide better service and experience to their employees and occupants. Nathan particularly emphasised the value of “contextual data” which emerges from the Digital Twin’s convergence of geospatial data from CAD drawings or Building Information Management Modeling (BIM) process, asset register data, and real-time data from building systems. The ability to interact with these different kinds of information in the same interactive environment offers a much clearer picture of performance of a piece of equipment, a system, a building, or the entire precinct or portfolio.

Ryan Wakefield, Strategic Partnerships and Sales Manager at Willow, recognised that owners are looking for more than just the right technology for their business – they are looking for leadership. “Real Estate owners at all stages of their smart building journeys are looking for true partners who can understand where they stand, and guide them in the areas they need to progress. Owners are looking to these partners to equip them with the tools and experience to unlock insights across entire portfolios rather than individual buildings, and bring clarity amongst the confusion in the Intelligent Building space.

Ian Siegel is a Digital Lead at 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 www.willowinc.com

For media enquiries, email us at [email protected]

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Rachel Ebalan-Ramirez

General Manager, Manila

As the GM/Principal of the Manila Studio, Rachel leads the overall operations and general management of the branch 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.

Corporate Connect Stages 2 & 3

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    30,000 sqm (322,917 sqft)
  • Architect: WMK
  • Contractor: Taylor Construction
  • Developer: Goodman
  • Owner/Operator: Goodman
  • Engaged by: Taylor Construction
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

100 Queens Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    34,900 sqm (375,660 sqft)
  • Architect: Kirsten Thompson Architects
  • Owner/Operator: GPT Group
  • Engaged by: GPT Group
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

32 Smith Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    26,000 sqm (279,861 sqft)
  • Architect: Fender Katsalidis
  • Owner/Operator: GPT
  • Engaged by: GPT
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

567 Collins Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    55,000 sqm (592,015 sqft)
  • Architect: COX and Spowers
  • Developer: Investa
  • Owner/Operator: Investa
  • Engaged by: Investa
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, WillowTwin™

Barrack Place, 151 Clarence Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    20,000 sqm (236,806 sqft)
  • Architect: Architectus
  • Contractor: Built
  • Developer: Investa
  • Owner/Operator: Investa
  • Engaged by: Investa
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, WillowTwin™

Sydney Metro Martin Place

  • Sector: Commercial / Rail
  • Size/scale:
    20,000 sqm (236,806 sqft)
  • Architect: JPW, Grimshaw and Tzannes
  • Developer: Macquarie Group
  • Owner/Operator: Macquarie Group / Transport for NSW
  • Engaged by: Savills / Macquarie Group
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Tempo Drummoyne

  • Sector: Residential
  • Size/scale:
    4,000 sqm (43,055 sqft)
  • Architect: FKM
  • Developer: EG Funds
  • Engaged by: FKM
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

Sydney Light Rail

  • Sector: Light Rail
  • Size/scale:
    12 KM Span 19 stations
  • Architect: Grimshaw
  • Owner/Operator: Transport for NSW
  • Engaged by: Grimshaw
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

Summer Hill

  • Sector: Residential
  • Size/scale:
    24,789 sqm (266,826 sqft)
  • Architect: HASSELL
  • Developer: EG Funds
  • Engaged by: HASSELL
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

Waterloo Road Campus

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    120,773 sqm (1,229,990 sqft)
  • Architect: Architectus
  • Contractor: John Holland Group
  • Developer: John Holland Group
  • Owner/Operator: John Holland Group
  • Engaged by: John Holland Group
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Global Switch Ultimo

  • Sector: Data Centre
  • Size/scale:
    40,000 sqm (430,556 sqft)
  • Architect: DEM
  • Owner/Operator: Global Switch
  • Engaged by: Global Switch
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Pittsburgh International Airport

  • Sector: Aviation
  • Size/scale:
    58,714 sqm (631,992 sqft)
  • Architect: Gensler / Luis Videl & Architects
  • Owner/Operator: Pittsburgh International Airport
  • Engaged by: Pittsburgh International Airport
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

60 Martin Place

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    40,000 sqm (430, 556 sqft)
  • Architect: HASSELL
  • Contractor: Lendlease
  • Developer: Investa
  • Owner/Operator: Investa
  • Engaged by: Investa
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, WillowTwin™ platform

480 Hay Street /
The Westin Hotel Perth

  • Sector: Hospitality, Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    48,000 sqm (516,667 sqft)
  • Architect: HASSELL
  • Contractor: BCG
  • Owner/Operator:
    Westin (Marriott Hotels)
  • Engaged by: HASSELL
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

The Sandstones Precinct

  • Sector: Hospitality, Conference
  • Size/scale:
    30,000 sqm (322,917 sqft)
  • Architect: MAKE Architects
  • Contractor: Built
  • Owner/Operator:
    Pontiac Land Group
  • Developer: Pontiac Land Group
  • Engaged by: Pontiac Land Group
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

The Star Sovereign Resort

  • Sector: Hospitality
  • Size/scale:
    148,644 sqm (1.6 million sqft)
  • Architect: HBA (Design)
  • Contractor: Built
  • Owner/Operator:
    The Star Entertainment
  • Engaged by: The Star Entertainment
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecuture (Lead Consultant)

The Ribbon

  • Sector: Hospitality, Residential (Serviced apartments)
  • Size/scale:
    54,800 sqm (589,862 sqft)
  • Architect: HASSELL (Design Architect)
  • Contractor: Grocon
  • Developer: Grocon
  • Owner/Operator: Greaton/W Hotel (Marriot Hotels)
  • Engaged by: Grocon
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, Digital Architecture

477 Collins Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    55,000 sqm (592,015 sqft)
  • Architect: Grimshaw
  • Owner/Operator: Mirvac
  • Engaged by: Mirvac
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Top Golf (various locations)

  • Sector: Hospitality
  • Size/scale:
    572,250-726,790 sqm (6,159,647-7,823,102 sqft)
  • Contractor: Arco Murray
  • Owner/Operator: Top Golf
  • Engaged by: Arco Murray
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Vanessa Iezzi

Head of People & Culture

Passionate about creating great workplaces and developing people, Vanessa is responsible for establishing the key foundations to scale Willow’s culture globally.

This includes overseeing global recruitment, talent mapping, people development frameworks, and driving engagement with Willow’s values throughout the organisation.

Tom White

Chief of Staff

Tom is Willow’s Chief of Staff. He delivers a full range of services across the business, developing business and project plans for initiatives that cut across the organization, including new offerings, partnership opportunities, improvements to internal operations whilst developing new programs to support the strategic direction of the organization.

Justin Gurney

Principal/Regional Head of WillowDigital

Justin is inspired by Willow’s vision and drive to transform the property industry. Justin made the decision to join Willow as Principal and Regional Head of WillowDigital in order to work on the delivery of iconic projects through smart technology. He is responsible for the delivery of complex and large-scale projects in the hotel, commercial office, and high-rise residential sectors while bringing to Willow over 25 years of experience in architecture and construction.

Dr. Michael Easson, AM FRICS FAICD

Chairman and Co-Founder

As Chairman, 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 takes a hands-on approach to managing and growing Willow’s international operations both as an architect and practice director.

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. In the future, Lee believes we will move completely away from 2D drawings into the 3D virtual world resulting in streamlined and more effective construction and procurement methods.

Shaun Klann

President - USA & Europe

Shaun leads the United States and European operations of Willow. 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

As Chief Innovation Engineer at Willow, 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.

Will Sessions

Chief Information Officer

Will Sessions is the Chief Information Officer at Willow. In this role, he oversees all aspects of IT operations, infrastructure, applications, and architecture within the business. He also manages the strategic technological roadmaps, not to mention new technologies, initiatives, trends, cloud technologies, data analytics and information workflow.

Will’s technical background is grounded in the infrastructure space including network, computer server, security, and virtualisation before moving into new Cloud technologies.

Prior to joining Willow in 2017, he held consulting and strategic roles at companies such as Versent, SunRice, and CIMIC.

Sallyann Allman

Business Development Director

As Business Development Director, Sallyann leads Willow’s new business development strategy and customer engagement.

Queens Plaza Park

  • Sector: Commercial Multi-Family
  • Size/scale:
    92,903 sqm (1 million sqft)
  • Architect: Handel Architects
  • Developer: Durst Organisation
  • Owner/Operator: Durst Organisation
  • Engaged by: Durst Organisation
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, WillowTwin™ platform

Daniel Isserow

Chief Finance Officer

An experienced finance professional with 8 years investment banking experience together with 4 years working in the Big 4, Daniel brings the fiscal discipline required to successfully grow the business and ensure its operational efficiency. Daniel is responsible for the areas of Finance, Legal, HR, and IT across the business.

Daniel is a qualified Chartered Accountant and holds a Master of Taxation from UNSW.

Daniel Kalnins

Global Head of Digital

As the 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.

Gerard Francis

Managing Director and Chief Operations Officer

As Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Gerard is the co-head of the Executive Team (with the CEO) and manages the day-to-day operations of the organisation, its people and resources.

Gerard is responsible for implementing the strategy approved by the board ensuring that the organisation structure and processes meet the strategic and cultural needs of the organisation.

Gerard has utilised this depth of knowledge and leadership to provide strong governance, strategic direction and operational stability as Willow enters a new phase of growth and maturity.

Dale Brett

Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder

Dale Brett 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

As CEO, Joshua oversees the strategic direction, growth, and management of the company. 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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