Today the team turned into Re-Leased’s webinar "Turning data into your most valuable asset". The webinar was moderated by Gemma Shah from ING Media.
Taking part in the webinar was Sam Starling Head of Technology and Data Strategy - Property Management EMEA at Savills, David Kaiser Head of Real Estate UK and Ireland at WeWork, Steven Kuhn Director of Technology Solutions at Azets and Tom Wallace CEO and Founder of Re-Leased.
The group set about exploring why tech and data are vital for recovery and growth of the property sector in the wake of the pandemic. It was largely agreed that 2020 has been the year that accelerated PropTech innovation with an ever-present need for tech when running commercial property as opposed to pre-Covid when tech was an additional tool.
Tom CEO and Founder of Re-Leased the cloud based commercial property software founded in 2012 spoke about how they had been using their collected data. Before the initial Covid-19 outbreak, the team at Re-Leased had been working on new products. They, however, saw an opportunity to produce reports of their data to publish to the wider market. For example, they realised data that compared rent collection figures as a year on year comparison, it was evident that April 2020 rent collection had dropped up to 30% from previous years. By providing this data it was useful to assist the market and provide transparency.
Tom mentioned that access to this data to allow you to analyse your business against the market has always been important but in the wake of a global pandemic. Customers want to use data to understand the market and help them react quickly e.g by analysing recollection reports, to understand changing trends such as types of leases signed, and average lease length signed.
Sam from Savills noted this was the era of Smart buildings. He then went onto mention many initiatives that are starting to take off. The realisation of well-being being important effect of productivity and touchless buildings, occupier apps, using wayfinding, all helping foster a sense of community. He noted that recently Savills have been using a suite of tools that allows them to capture a wide range of data points. Allowing them to assess what occupiers and customers are requiring.
David Kaiser from WeWork also mentioned the importance of understanding the requirements of clients and tenants. With more office providers offering Flex Working, there is a need to understand what the tenants want as the renewals will come up faster. WeWork are focussing on what members in their offices require and desire in this new Covid environment. An interesting trend David mentioned was the increase in footfall on the outskirts of the city. For example, capacity and enquiries into Hammersmith’s WeWork is increasing as opposed to WeWork sites in the City. Corporate occupiers are also changing requirements, in in particular being that they are looking for multi-site memberships.
A second interesting trend mentioned by David was increased enquiries for booking meeting rooms/offices/desks for a day, this has been a global trend, the shorter-term consumption of space. WeWork are in the process of launching a project, WeWork on Demand. Allowing access to space for an hour on a pay-as-you-go basis. Currently functioning in New York and coming to London at the end of year.
Steven from Azets made an interesting point that than 90% of data has been collected in the last 3.5 years. He mentioned the diversity of tech and the many roles it can play and that it is important to plan intended outcomes before you start any projects. He noted the benefits of Re-Leased, that it allows you to standardise how data is input, how you upload costs and jobs on a cloud platform and then you get tangible KPIs.
It was widely agreed that in the long-term people will not permanently move out of office space, as the inadvertent effects of working from home are slumps on creativity and adverse effects on mental health. There is a need by nature for people to interactive in a social environment it is in an office environment that you get the best out of people.
A final trend worth noting was the increasing focus and intention within the Commercial Real Estate space to cut overhead costs. The team at Re-Leased have been working closely with their customers to help them understand their data, many of them are looking to run a leaner and more efficient business and this has been possible through the use of Re-Leased’s Credia. Tom noted that one of their clients has seen a decrease of £500,000 in annual costs because an enhanced understanding of their data.
The webinar provided a fantastic insight into how data can help the property industry adapt and grow in the Covid environment.
By Olivia Dobson