Commercial realty sector seen as huge contributor to UAE's economic growth


AI led digital transformation is taking shape in the UAE's commercial real estate sector.
AI led digital transformation is taking shape in the UAE's commercial real estate sector.

Dubai - Building operations generate huge quantities of data.

By Prabhu Ramachandran

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Published: Tue 25 Feb 2020, 4:29 PM

Last updated: Tue 25 Feb 2020, 6:38 PM

The commercial real estate industry in the UAE has been an established powerhouse for decades, and a significant contributor to the economy. It is now well set to also take centrestage as a central contributor to the UAE of tomorrow, which the government's economic and overall policy direction are laying the roadmap for. An IoT and AI led digital transformation is taking shape in the UAE's commercial real estate sector, which will lead to outstanding tenant experiences, unprecedented energy management and highly competitive business models for CRE owners, unlocked by data-driven decision making and efficiencies.
Data-driven building operations heralds the beginning of CRE 3.0, the next chapter in predictive and future-ready commercial real estate
Building operations generate huge quantities of data. In its first avatar of digitisation in the industry, automation was the key area of focus, with sensors & systems defining the deployment of technology across a building portfolio. In more recent decades, CaFM and other software like property maintenance and energy management were added to the mix. The industry is now realising the incredible operational advantages it stands to gain by recruiting IoT to collect system wide data, extract insights using AI analytics and gain system wide intelligence through Machine.
In a recent benchmarking study we conducted across commercial real estate owners from the US, Middle East and Indian markets, we found significant evidence supporting these trends. The '2020 State of CRE Operations 3.0' not only highlights the current state of the global real estate industry, but also reveals how the industry itself is ready for change. The report found that 77 per cent of CRE owners prioritise tenant experience and are allocating 39 per cent of their spending to it. Energy ROI is also taking precedence, while next-gen technology like IoT, AI and ML, and Data, are seen as the path to informed decision-making and real-time, predictive outcomes. Commercial real estate owners say they are looking to invest 65 per cent of Opex into data-driven energy enhancements and 40 per cent into tech-driven predictive maintenance.
The key barrier that is holding back CRE's from evolving into the next phase of value-based building operations is the complex web of siloed technology systems and multiple functions, with little to no unified visibility into real-time building performance. With the success that data-driven technologies have delivered across several industries, the industry has recognised its benefits and is at the turning point of this evolution. CRE's say they are looking to harness tech to optimize operational spend, embed sustainable sustainability into daily operations to improve energy ROI, while crafting seamless, delightful facilities experiences for tenants/occupants/users.
The mainstreaming of the Smart Cities vision will need to be built on a network of Connected Buildings. The next evolution of commercial real estate, CRE 3.0, will serve this purpose well. Marked by the 3-pronged industry focus on data extraction out of siloed building functions; data aggregation on a portfolio-central platform; as well as use of modular apps to perform data-driven operations acting on the insight-rich operational data to enable predictive portfolio operations, CRE 3.0 could be the blueprint for future-ready buildings.
The UAE's dynamic real estate industry will play a key role in the nation's next chapter
Already a nation that is acknowledged as being an early adopter of breakthrough technologies, the UAE is further cementing its reputation for being future-ready, through the several people-centric and progressive policies and initiatives its government has implemented, in recent years. And the now imminent Expo 2020 event in Dubai is coming in at the perfect time in the country's journey. Citizen happiness and wellbeing has been explicitly articulated as a matter of policy focus in the UAE, and the nation looks poised to emerge as a global leader adopting a tech-driven evolution in user experiences, efficient use of resources and sustainability. Against this backdrop, the UAE's commercial real estate industry is well positioned to play a key role in crafting the nation's next chapter aligned with its local and global objectives.

Prabhu Ramachandran is the founder and CEO of Facilio Inc. Views expressed here are his own and do not reflect this newspaper's policy

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