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Did you know buildings could be this smart? With David Williams & Fanie Reynders

24.11.21

In this episode of The Propcast, Louisa speaks to David Williams, Smart Buildings Industry Lead at Microsoft, and Fanie Reynders, Head of Technology at EDGE, about the future of smart buildings. In this episode they discuss the movement towards net zero and what that means for real estate businesses, construction companies and landlords, and how the technology needed for smart buildings has become more affordable and accessible.  

Click here to listen to this episode of the Propcast!

Companies Mentioned: 

Key Insights From This Episode: 

  • With the pandemic, we realised there was a different need, also with working from home and also post pandemic of people trying to optimise workspace – Fanie 
  • There’s kind of like the base layers, as I like to think of it, which is the building itself.  Then there’s the middle layer. And for me, that’s kind of what goes on in the building.  And then at the top layer, it’s how the people interact with the building.  – David 
  • The whole notion of getting back to work and bringing people safely back to work, first of all, but also having them productive in the offices – Fanie 
  • The amount of data that building provides is like, you cannot comprehend how much data it gives. – Fanie 
  • The pandemic, I don’t think has actually changed any trends. I genuinely don’t think it has, but what it’s done is it has accelerated trends that we were already seeing in the industry. – David 
  • What’s really exciting is when you’re working with companies that aren’t aware of how digital technologies can help them, how they can make the buildings better for the humans that work in them and look after them. – David 
  • Find your niche find something that enthuses you really makes you want to make a change. – David 

Keywords: smart buildings, facilities management, service management, technology, Microsoft 

About Our Guests: 

David Williams 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/david-williams-9559641/

David has worked for Microsoft since 2005 and has been part of an internal Innovation Team since December 2014. For the past 5 years he has been responsibility for creating and developing Microsoft’s Smart Places emerging industry. He provides commercial, business, and technical advice, that enables Microsoft customers and partners in the real estate industry to digitally transform.  Prior to joining Microsoft, David served in the Royal Air Force for 22 years as an Engineer Officer and he has a LLB Honours degree in English Law. 

Fanie Reynders 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/faniereynders/

Fanie is an enthusiastic technologist who always thrives to push technology to its limits, whether its IoT devices, cloud infrastructure or even software design. He is an engineer by heart with over 16 years of experience building on the Microsoft stack. He joined EDGE Next in 2020 as the Head of Technology, being responsible for leading the engineering teams and also serving as the Principal Solution Architect.

About EDGE 

Today’s world runs on data. We use it every day to make our lives easier, our impact bigger, our goals more achievable. At EDGE Next, we’re using it to make better buildings. For everyone. The EDGE Next platform offers a seamless solution to optimising any office building’s performance, making it smarter, healthier, and more sustainable. The platform uses multiple sensors and sources to not only gather data, but also to deliver valuable and actionable insights. It’s the ultimate tool to enable buildings, companies and people to thrive. Check out https://edge.tech/next. 

About Our Host 

Louisa Dickins 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisa-dickins-ab065392/

Louisa started her career in property working at a well-known estate agency in London. Realising her people skills, she moved over to Lloyd May to pursue a career in recruitment. She now is a Director at LMRE, who are a specialist recruitment firm driven by PropTech and recruitment professionals, and Louisa oversees their 5 core areas. Louisa co-founded LMRE and provides a constructive recruitment platform to the new disruptors in real estate. Louisa is also on the board of Directors at UK PropTech Association (UKPA). 

About LMRE 

www.lmre.tech

LMRE believe there is a better way to recruit. LMRE focus on a more comprehensive, client led focus delivering exceptional talent to the place at the time. They are passionate about the industry and passionate about people’s careers. LMRE spend time with each client to become and an extension of the business, and their transparency and core values help them grow with the sector. LMRE simplify recruitment and innovate with our clients and evolve the people driven, PropTech community. 

Transcript 

Louisa D: Today on the Propcast we are discussing what actually makes a building smart, and who better to talk about this than David Williams Head of Smart Buildings at Microsoft, and Fanie who’s head of technology from Edge Technology. 

So welcome to the show, David and Fanie.  

David W: Thank you very much.  

Louisa D: On today’s show, we will discuss what a smart building really is, where we’re seeing growth in modern, smart technologies. Why the sector’s so important. And we’ll also be learning what Microsoft and Edge Technology is doing in this space and how they met and everything like that. 

Also we’ll be looking. and talking through, how to get into this growing vertical with David and Fanie will be discussing about the different career pathways and how they got into the space themselves. So without further ado, let’s get started with the questions here, David. I’d love for you to begin with, how did you get space? 

Your background was RAF, and you’ve been at Microsoft since 2005, I’m sure your role has changed drastically since then, but how did you get into this space?  

David W: Yeah, thanks a lot, Louisa. Yeah. I served in the Air Force for over 20 years, so it was quite a career change get into Microsoft. 

I’d been in the air force for over 20 years. Reached the point I wasn’t really enjoying it anymore. And it just so happened that I was leading a project on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence where Microsoft were one of our suppliers and one thing led to another, you know, and they said, “Hey, have you ever thought about leaving the air force and coming to work for someone like us?” 

So that’s how I moved from the Royal Air Force into Microsoft. To be honest, how I stayed in Microsoft for the first few years, I have no idea. From a cultural difference. Gosh, it couldn’t have been more different. Incredibly hierarchical. Having to say yes, no to people that you probably didn’t really respect to suddenly being a meritocracy where people actually listen to you, for your expertise rather than what you wore on your shoulder was a real shock. And then I worked at Microsoft for some years and then ended up in the smart buildings part of the company where I worked in the innovation team where our responsibility was really doing scale-ups and startups inside the company. 

And one day we were tasked to look at what Microsoft could bring to the smart buildings party. And here I am, six years later, as the EMEA Smart Buildings Lead, not quite the lead for all of Microsoft, but, the EMEA lead, responsible for our vision and our strategy and our partner ecosystem. And also communicating internally around what Microsoft brings to the smart buildings space.  

Louisa D: Beautiful. Okay. So tell me about how did you guys first meet then as well? How has this beautiful partnership blossomed?  

David, maybe you can sort of elaborate a little more on that? 

David W: I talked about the partner ecosystem and what I mean by that is, Microsoft working with expert companies, us bringing the digital expertise, then bringing the prop tech and commercial real estate expertise. And that’s how I started working with EDGE Next. They stood out massively in Europe as one of the most innovative companies that I saw. From their history, from OVG from EDGE Technologies through to EDGE Next. And Fanie, you’ll do a much better job of explaining that. It was just obvious that we should be working really closely together. 

Actually, one of the things, and I’ll come on to this, maybe. Fanie, cover your ears up, they’re great human beings as well. At the end of the day, when you’re trying to build partnerships and you’re trying to develop new industries and new businesses, you’re going to hit rocks. 

You’re going to hit hurdles. You’re going to have problems. And it’s the human beings that drive that through. And I just found working with everybody from Coen at the top of the company all the way through, just great people to work with always lent in, always wanted to try and solve problems. 

And so that’s how I started working with them and why I continue to work with them to this.  

Louisa D: Yeah. Well, what a ringing endorsement. Now Fanie, your role is Head of Technology. What does that mean? How did you get into EDGE, and also for our audience listening, we’ll see difference between EDGE Technology and EDGE Next, as we briefly spoke about earlier. 

Not everyone knows that difference. So tell us all and please elaborate on how do you make buildings more efficient, more sustainable and healthier too? 

Fanie R: Right. So, I wasn’t in like smart building space, all my life, right. I’m an engineer by heart and being involved in all these industries like banking and agriculture and those kinds of things that, maybe my accent can give away that I’m from South Africa. 

So I’ve kind of start here in the Netherlands and stuff like that. I came across EDGE Technologies back in a time when I was working for Deloitte. And this is also where I know Erik Ubles from. And the lawyer just happens to be in one of the world’s most sustainable buildings back in the time, the EDGE. 

And it’s there where I was like, got this huge passion for like, “Hey, a smart building is actually one of the cool things you can get.” Right. It’s different from a smart home. And working for Deloitte digital at that time doing a bunch of experiments moved on and eventually my paths cross again at the EDGE Technologies. 

And I came in as a Solution Architect, and that’s where I kind of met the Microsoft team that was working endlessly on our platform. And, you’re helping us to kind of adopt, Azure Digital Twins, which is one of the core technologies that we’re using till this day. 

Helping us onboard a lot of buildings into the platform, and vice versa. So that’s how we kind of met and cross paths with David and team. But as of Head of Technology of EDGE Next, then maybe let’s kind of circle back on that. So EDGE Technologies is the old OBG real estate. 

They built super cool green, sustainable buildings. And before the whole, pandemic happened, this was all kind of tied to EDGE Buildings. We build great buildings, and what is a building without a great smart building platform. So we kind of ship a smart building platform with that.  

With the pandemic, we realised there was a different need, also with working from home and also post pandemic of people trying to optimise workspace. There’s also ESG targets. People want to do with just in regards to sustainability. There’s different needs and also there’s clearly a need for building owners, that’s non EDGE Buildings, to have a smart building platform. And it’s their way we realised that our platform can actually cater for non-EDGE buildings as well. That’s pretty much how we rapidly expanded our portfolio in EDGE and non-EDGE.  

Louisa D: Where are your buildings? 

Fanie R: We have a lot of buildings in Germany and Netherlands, and we have some in the US and, basically it’s in Europe mostly, and we kind of slowly but surely expanding out where we can.  

Louisa D: Beautiful. Now David, when we had breakfast, I think this is when things first started opening up. It was in the summer. And I arrived late because I got horrendously lost in Paddington. You broke down what a smart building really is. You summarise it into three boxes and you put in layman terms, very kindly, for me. And I’m sure some of our audience are trying to learn more about the space. 

Could you tell the audience again what makes the building smart for those listening in? 

David W: Yeah, sure. I mean, look, there’s many different ways to frame it and I wouldn’t claim to be an expert in this, but one of the things that I think is really important is to be able to create frameworks and mental pictures for people. 

Because quite frankly, you know, when people talk about smart buildings, it’s everything from building management systems, access control, room booking. Air quality. You know, it affects both the people that are actually working in the building, the people that are responsible for the building. And frankly, that’s just an enormous bunch of stuff. 

So, simplification what it’s all about. So in really simple terms, the way I like to think about it and the way I describe it to customers is in three layers.  

There’s kind of like the base layers, as I like to think of it, which is the building itself.  

Then there’s the middle layer. And for me, that’s kind of what goes on in the building.  

And then at the top layer, it’s how the people interact with the building.  

So at that base layer, you’re really talking about things such like the building management systems, you know, the fabric of the building and how does the building actually operate the lighting systems, the security systems, et cetera, et cetera. 

Middle layer is really to do with what’s going on in the building. So it’s to do with space utilisation, it’s to do with what online services, it might extend the parking it might do with the health and the safety and security.  

But actually the really interesting bit, as far as I’m concerned is actually the bit at the top, which is how to people interact. 

So when I’m a human being and I’m coming into a building, how do I interact with that building? What does that building say to me? What does it say about the people that are visiting in that building? Do they really think it’s acceptable for me to stand and wait to get into the building these days? 

What’s that tell you about what they care about me or the company I represent? How do I find it? How do I find the people I want to work with? How do I book a meeting space? How do I find the right space? So it’s really that base, middle and top levels that I try and paint the picture. And the nice thing about that model is it can be done from either an occupier perspective. 

So whether you’re a tenant in a building, whether you’re an owner of a building and you’re looking to maximise the asset value of that building. Or whether you’re an operator. You know, facilities manager. Whether you’re responsible for both the hard and the soft FM. Again, that model kind of breaks down and you can start seeing how people work interacting with those three layers and then how digital technology can help them. 

Louisa D: I guess this leads us very well into the next question. The changes you both received, maybe from a tenant or an operator, or maybe from EDGE Next, from your point of view, in terms of this space. Fanie, what have you seen that your customers are looking for, and I’m sure that’s changed since the pandemic. 

Fanie R: Well, like I mentioned before, the awareness of the future sustainability, like the net zero and carbon neutral post pandemic. The whole notion of getting back to work and bringing people safely back to work, first of all, but also having them productive in the offices. There’s one of the biggest things we’ve seen as an uptrend, but also if you look back at the whole ESG metrics and targets companies do vow against, to kind of make the world a better place for tomorrow. 

I think that those questions need to be answered and it’s hard questions. We provide the tools to allow customers to work with them better.  

Louisa D: And are you working and maybe, maybe not you personally, but do you think technology companies are working close to the government now? Obviously we all have the UN sustainability goals. 

So surely there’s got to be a lot more communication and open conversations about these targets. Is that happening? 

Fanie R: Well, I believe so. So, I beg to differ on a few things. I’m not an expert myself, so, I can briefly talk you through the platform and what we do, but it’s really up to the customer and what they do with the data. 

So, in terms of the insights we provide from a platform’s perspective, they can put into their own little workflows or whatever, to talk to governments and also maybe, make decisions. 

Louisa D: Yeah. So what sort of key data are your customers asking for then, to sort of hit these goals? 

Fanie R: Our cloud platform that’s hosted in Azure, right? So we gather an immense amount of data from basically any sensor. Like I mentioned before, that’s non EDGE buildings, so we really need to kind of cater for any sensor out there. The amount of data that building provides is like, you cannot comprehend how much data it gives. 

The things that make sense is the energy, the air quality, the people counting the occupancy, et cetera. There’s a lot of different kinds of data, but what we do at EDGE Next, we have this focusing on wellbeing, we’re focusing on sustainability and allocation basically. 

And having those pillars, we really do like a coloration between those three together to see where the ends meet. Let me give you an example. Like for instance, if the energy usage of a building dips in weekends, and you can clearly see that on a graph. But if the occupancy is high and the energy dips or vice versa, there’s something really fishy going on. 

So that’s kind of how the data can be used together to kind of give you more insights on what’s really happening,  

Louisa D: David, been a huge growth that you’ve seen your partners, no doubt have grown. It’s not just EDGE, it’s Honeywell, there’s so, so many of them. Despite the growth, what are the main challenges we’re still facing in this industry in terms of sort of adoption and getting smart buildings seen as a proper asset class now? 

David W: Yeah. I mean, I would just go back a little bit on the previous one, maybe from a more macro perspective about the trends, because it does feed into, I think then the challenges that we may be seeing, and I think over the last sort of six years I’ve been involved. I think the three areas I would say the major trends have changed is the technology.  

The technology now to enable you to make your building smart, whatever that means has become so much more affordable in the last six years and easier to deploy. And I think then to answer your second question, which is around one of the challenges is, it’s getting the industry to understand that. It’s helping to understand that.  

It’s helping construction companies, developers, FM companies understand that the technology has become more affordable. It is now relatively easy to deploy to share that with them.  

The second area kind of a trend is to do with the work culture. Now, it’s interesting. The pandemic, I don’t think has actually changed any trends. I genuinely don’t think it has, but what it’s done is it has accelerated trends that we were already seeing in the industry. Working from wherever, I’m not a great fan of the term hybrid, it implies kind of two choices. But working from wherever, you know, providing the right technology underneath it, but also the right cultural changes to enable people to work wherever they want to work. 

And again, the challenge is getting management to accept that. I mean, some of the crazy statements I’ve seen, I won’t call them out on this podcast, but I’m sure we’re thinking of the same companies, they’re making themselves sound like dinosaurs. “You’ve got to be back in the office” and you kind of go, “oh, for goodness sakes, you know, get the children back up the chimneys and get back in the…” you know, it’s just crazy. 

That a big cultural change that companies are having to work through and I’m respectful of that change. But my giddy aunt, we need to push that. We need to think about the people.  

And the last one is sustainability. You know, everyone’s talking about sustainability. In practical terms what does that actually mean? 

What’s it mean when we start thinking about buildings? And the simple stat that we throw out is 40% of energy is consumed in buildings in Europe. Okay. So if you can reduce your energy consumption, you’re going to go a long way to start hitting your sustainability targets, that every company and every human being should have now. 

Louisa D: Yeah, I’d love to pick up on your point you mentioned about culture. I was a CRE Tech yesterday and for those listening who were there, it was bloody great to be back and see everyone, but Guy Grainger whose the new Global Head of Sustainability for JLL. And he was talking about the cultural differences between, obviously whether it’s UK, Europe and the US and different levels of uptake and it’s down to the people leading it, but also depending on the areas you live, if you’re in an area that is affected by climate change then it impacts how seriously you take it effectively.  

This definitely happening in Europe which is leading the way in smart buildings. We’ll see changes in the scene in the US, obviously from Biden that are coming, we’ll probably see more investment into that space too. But there’s so many different moving parts that we’re seeing. 

Fanie, is there anything which you’ve seen particularly on your side as well? I’m sure your clients are going through the roof, especially since you’re opening up new buildings globally.  

Fanie R: Yeah, absolutely. We just thought it off, so it’s not like we’ve in the business, you know, that EDGE Next has been in the business for years. 

Right. So we just started off as EDGE Next, piloting a few buildings. And, you know, what we’ve seen as a challenge, personally I would say from an architectural point of view, and also from a kind of a roll-up point of view is the standardisation of the sensors and integrations and all those kind of things, because each building is different. 

They integrate differently. It’s really like a box of chocolates, right? So when you were onboard a building, you are faced with many challenges, like how do you integrate the security issues? Sensor issues and there’s maybe different clouds involved, you know, it’s all a case by case basis really. 

And what we’ve tried to do with EDGE Next is really have this whole standard model, right. To ingest data in a standard way. Having protocols be leading instead of technology. So if we standardise things on a protocol level, the data just flows and literally this drives our whole bring your own device capability to a next level. 

So there’s kind of those kinds of things I would say is challenging, especially for us.  

Louisa D: Yeah. And I’m sure these challenges faced by, definitely other technology businesses. David, are there any other companies which are entering the market or have been out there for a while, which is sort of leading the way other than EDGE? 

David W: I think the companies that excite me the most that I get most excited working with is actually non-digital technology companies. And that’s probably going to upset some of my most important partners who we love equally, of course. And it’s crucially important, but what’s really exciting is when you’re working with companies that aren’t aware of how digital technologies can help them, how they can make the buildings better for the humans that work in them and look after them. Whether that be in the construction industry, and clearly I’m going to point to EDGE Next and their background, you know, as OVG, and EDGE technologies and how they’ve really use digital by partnering with Microsoft have really, really adopted digital technology and then now differentiating themselves hugely. 

But I’d also want to talk about companies, like why it, you know, when the law probably are the largest Finnish and very significant Northern European construction company, who’ve basically just gone “hey, we need to change our business model. We need to change the way we’re thinking, how can we do that? Hey, we’ll partner with Microsoft. We’ll understand what is the art of the possible”.   

Or someone like RXR Realty in New York, massive real estate owner, manager and develop and how they are changing the way they work and think about facilities management. 

Facilities Management doesn’t always seem to be the most exciting area. But it can be. It can be with the applications of digital technology. It really enables companies to review and change the way they do business from the very largest commercial real estate services company in the world, like CBRE, who I worked very closely with, to companies in the UK, for example, being really innovative, like Mitie, it’s one of the UK service management and professional services companies. Really trying to change the way that they do business. 

They’re open to change. It’s an open conversation. They’re not closed. Now when I meet with these guys, whether it be EDGE, or YIT, RXR, CBRE, or Mitie, it’s an open conversation. They’re hungry for information. And I am as well. I don’t pretend to be an expert in their area of business, but the two of us coming together, you know, and this is what I’ve really missed of course, during the pandemic. It’s people together in a room with whiteboards – electronic or physical whiteboards and just pouring all that thought and energy into it and amazing things that come out of it. So that’s, what I get excited about as you can probably tell is working with companies that really at their heart are not digital technology companies yet, but that by working with someone like Microsoft can really help change and I can see that change and we can work together and kind of enjoy what we do. 

Louisa D: Awesome. It’s so nice to hear how passionate you are about it as well, David, and you say you’re not an expert in the industry, but you sure know a hell of a lot more than the rest of us and the same with you Fanie, as well. Obviously as this industry is growing at LMRE and we hire people into all these emerging growing sectors. 

And there is a massive talent shortage. And I was doing a webinar with the famous James Dice from Nexus Labs, and we were doing on the smart buildings industry. There’s plenty of challenges getting talent in. And what I’m talking about is there’s so many different roles within this space and you don’t have to go to a University and study at Brown and Harvard or, obviously you have a engineering sort of background, but there’s so many different roles when she can learn on the job or on site and all that, are any tips you both could give for people looking to enter this industry or certain roles, which are sort of growing within your within your firms or the general space? 

David W: There’s two areas really. And the first one is going to sound terribly cheesy. And the second one, probably a little bit more practical, but the first one is it’s like any industry. Do you enjoy. If you enjoy what you’re doing it shows. It shows to everyone you work with. Now, personally, I can only be enthusiastic about something that I care about. Looking back, when stop enjoying something, when I stopped caring, my performance declines, you know, and that comes right back to why I left the Air Force. 

But equally is, if you look at roles in the construction industry, in facilities management industry, in the asset management industry, and of course I’m going to be biased, I think the introduction of digital technologies into those industries or those parts of the industry can actually make it much more exciting, and can make it more attractive to younger people coming out of University or not coming out of University. 

The opportunity to actually be working with technology and seeing how technology can change the way buildings and the way that human beings interact with those buildings. I’ve recently done some work with the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management in the UK. That was the focus around that, was very much to say, “look, in those industries, stop feeling like it’s being done to you. Start owning it, start understanding if nothing else, the language that people use so that you can bring your expertise and knowledge and background and you can start driving and informing, the changes that are happening in the industry.” 

So I really do think they’re the two key areas is, engaging with the technology, understanding the language, but for goodness sakes, do something you enjoy. 

Fanie R: Yeah, I couldn’t say that even better because, you know, even from my side, coming from all these kinds of industries, ending up in PropTech, David, you said it so well. 

But just kind of on a technical note, right? So, the adoption of IoT, it’s now better, but wasn’t as good as it today. And you know what, I’ve also realised people get scared of IoT. What is this IoT thing? Right. And what they need to realise is just IoT is just a computer. 

And I think, accessibility online, you know, Microsoft does a great job of .net that runs everywhere. It’s really not that hard to learn. Right. In terms of coding, there’s so many things out there and I mean, I’m calling out to all the developers out there, you know, you could really change the world. 

Yeah. And, you know, be part of this whole thing, be part of the movement.  

Louisa D: Beautiful. Thank you for that. And everyone listening in, I completely echo that, we spend so bloody long doing our work, and especially now with this new, well, I’ve got to say hybrid work, but David you hate that word. How it’s spending more time basically working because none of us know how to switch off, you got to enjoy what we do and be passionate about it. 

Unfortunately we are coming to the end of the show, but obviously we’ve got the LMRE part. So I’ll talk you through it. David, you can start us off.  

So L is what’s a major lesson you’ve learned throughout your career? So it’s probably been, do something that you love or something like that. 

M, mention anyone or a product and give someone a shout out. R is what’s been the most rewarding part about working in the space and E, what are you most excited about? So, David, if you could run us through yours/ 

David W: Sure. I kind of used both my best material already because you know, the lesson is, like I said, I’m not going to reiterate it, but it is about doing what you enjoy, engaging with the technology and becoming a thought leader in your industry. 

I think that is. Find your niche find something that enthuses you really makes you want to make a change. That’s my lesson, my M about my mention, again, I’ve actually mentioned them, you know, the companies that I’ve already mentioned, EDGE Next, YIT, RXR, CBRE, Mitie, you know, these are companies that are not technology companies that are embracing technology to fundamentally change the way that they’re doing business.  

And I think if I was thinking about a service, I’ve mentioned Digital Twins, lots of people talk about Digital Twins, but realistically they’re out there now and they can work. So anyone listening to this podcast, please don’t think that they’re a pipe dream they exist.  

What’s the most rewarding part? Partnering without a shadow of doubt. Helping PropTech experts understand digital technology and how they can revolutionise the way they think and improve things for people, that working with other people that bringing together of knowledge, expertise experience. Me from a digital technical perspective, the PropTech experts from their areas that that is so much fun, bringing those ideas together and coming up with the solutions to problems. And what am I excited about? I think one of the areas I get most excited about when think about PropTech is actually bringing ideas and expertise from other industries to bear. 

And I think that’s where a company like Microsoft can really help because we work across all industries. We see all the things. We see developments, we see evolutions, we see revolutions and it’s always brilliant to bring those to bear. Just a quick, example, I was talking to a hospital about waiting rooms, and I started talking about the way you airports move people and you could see it in their eyes. 

You could see them going, “oh, bloomin’ heck yeah”. Maybe if we started thinking about that now, you might not sell quite so much perfume in a hotel in a hospital, but you get the general idea, you know, bringing those ideas from other industries to another industry and say, well, think about this and introducing them, letting them have that conversation. 

Louisa D: Awesome. Thank you very much for that, David.  

David, also you are very good at speaking and you have a voice from the angels. It just flows so well. 

Fanie, right. Tell us, what sort of, one of the main lessons you’ve learned throughout your career. 

Fanie R: I think the bar has been set quite high. Well my lessons, you know, I haven’t been in tech as long as David has. 

Right. So, my lessons that I’ve been learned, especially as an architect is that,  tech isn’t bleeding and you know, the technology is an enabler. Right. So business, the business cases, questions, problems people face, companies face, that determines the technology, right? So it’s a flip side instead of choosing the technology first and then seeing what problems we can solve. 

In terms of the mentions, I would like to mention Eric, who is a visionary in the in the field and also Microsoft, the Digital Twins team especially for kind of working so closely with EDGE Next. Making sure we get on board, it’s in the right places, in the right track and giving us support when we need it, how we need it. 

In terms of the rewarding thing for me is just making a difference, you know, not just the PropTech industry, but also making a difference in a developer’s life, or even showing people how things could be and you know, when you show someone something, it kind of brings that smile on their face. 

I can go home and I know that I’ve made their day better. And the things that I’m excited about in PropTech specifically is smart cities and how autonomously these smart cities can operate, but also cohesively if that makes sense. So smart cities is for me kind of a dot on the horizon. And I’m super excited to do see where we head towards that. 

Louisa D: Awesome. Thank you so much for that. I’m surprised you didn’t say to meet the world a more sustainable place, I’m sure Greta Thunburg would be delighted to hear that. 

So cliche. Thank you both for sharing all those insights and it was brilliant to hear how well your partnership is going as well and no doubt it will grow further. I’ll catch up with you both after the podcast, but again, thank you for joining me.  

David W: Pleasure.  

Fanie R: Thank you so much. 

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