Live Report: Data REvolution Reinventing Occupiers’ and Investors’ Strategies

Peter Woodwood guided the discussion of the ways in which the data revolution is shifting our way of thinking and the various implications in real estate. On the panel: Peter Woodward, Lead Facilitator, Quest Associates (moderator), Christophe Dumas, Technical & Innovation Director, Sogeprom; Sylvain Frode De La Foret, Partner Projects & Buildings Business Vice-President, Schneider Electric; Adam Levine, Chief Commercial Officer, Data4; Patrice Trousset, CIO, Microsoft France, Pierre Essig, CEO, Zublin Immobiliere France

Tenants are demanding that landlords provide connected office space with maximum control; this is now a requirement and no longer a competitive advantage. All of the panelists agreed that understanding and utilizing big data (defined as the immense magnitude of the volume, variety and velocity of information) is mission-critical in today’s world and allows occupiers and landlords to maximize efficiency and productivity. Buildings themselves now must be agile, and companies are hyper-focused on maximizing employee satisfaction due to Generation Y’s willingness to change employers.

Key take-aways from the panellists:

  • Christophe Dumas: “The new generation has a new way of thinking – the most important objects are not the house or car, it’s the smart phone and the shoes, and the world is changing. We have decided to change programs by focusing the design on the end-user”
  • Investors are not necessarily aware of the data revolution, but they are aware of yields and cash flow. In order to attract tenants, landlords must adapt their buildings to create a place where people want to live, work and socialize; this translates into tenant retention, and thus higher valuations.
  • “We have moved from being a shelter provider to a service provider – we cannot ignore what’s going on in the business. Landlords bear the costs, which implies we have to think about what the occupier desires so we can figure out what facilities and services to provide. Data management is part of this as we need data to give advice on how to utilize the building.” – Pierre Essig
  • Buildings need to be adaptable to welcome start-ups and co-working offices for people who want to work for an hour, 6 months or one year. There is a new kind of rent structure, and buildings have to adapt to this.
  • When the panellists were asked which data point they wish they could track, all responded with employee satisfaction and productivity. At this point in time, this is only possible via survey.
  • Microsoft has become totally paperless, which showcases the need for companies change the way we conduct business everyday: we must be flexible, mobile and cohabitate. They have found that 84% of their employees conduct business via Wi-Fi, so they are no longer installing cables in meeting rooms.
  • Companies that embrace big data are able to reduce the time to market to new applications (either marketing or commercial) to compete more efficiently. The first to reach customers and consumers are (usually) the ones who win the business.
  • It is normal for data centers to have 4,000-6,000 data points in one location, and this type of connectivity will eventually be translated into a typical office space environment.
  • Only a very small percentage of real estate is added as new supply yearly, thus most landlords will have to evaluate the cost of retrofitting buildings to overcome functional obsolescence versus building new.
  • Patrice Trousset: In the next 5-10 years, the Minority Report movie will become a reality. Tables, chairs, walls, etc. will be able to communicate, and they will be devices to capture information.
  • Adam Levine opined that employers will eventually pay employees more to avoid the office, and joked…“the thing to remember, is that there are only 10 types of people: those that understand binary and those that don’t.”


Victor Alfonso, USD

Victor Alfonso, USD

Victor Alfonso grew up in Los Angeles and received degrees in Economics and Political Science from UC Irvine. He spent 8 years at Westfield and recently joined Brixton Capital as VP Asset Management. Licensed Broker in CA and ICSC member. Victor is an official curator and blogger for MIPIMWorld. Connect with Victor on LinkedIn.

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