Building Management

Smart Buildings and the Real Estate Value Chain – Inside the EcoXpert Real Estate Specialization

In 2019, we launched the new EcoXpert Real Estate specialization to help commercial real estate companies realize their smart building goals regarding financial performance, digitization, security, and sustainability.

As we move through uncharted waters in 2020, the specialization can help our EcoXpert business partners grow their business with smart building projects for all stakeholders across the value chain in the evolving real estate market.

We already held several training sessions across the globe, and chances are high that you’ll meet our EcoXpert Real Estate specialization team at one of our virtual events later this year. We invite you to follow the training path as virtual training sessions get organized throughout 2020.

Why would you want to do so? Hugh Lindsay, in charge of the specialization, summed up several reasons in a blog on smart buildings.

One of them being that the world will need to spend $57 trillion on infrastructure by 2030 to keep up with global GDP growth, smart building expertise is a must-have for systems integrators.

In another blog on commercial real estate, Kim Tremblay shared more reasons why EcoXperts play a central role in developing solutions for commercial real estate companies. The market is in flux, and the opportunities for EcoXperts who master the solutions and expertise to meet evolving demands can be significant.

What’s different about the Real Estate specialization?

What are the challenges for real estate companies? What do EcoXperts learn from the training path to address them and become Real Estate specialized experts? What’s our value proposition for real estate companies?

In an interview, Hugh Lindsay and his colleague Youcef Gharoual cover all these questions – and more. You can read it here and check out some of the key takeaways below.smart buildings

Schneider Electric has been active in the real estate industry for decades, and real estate accounts for about 40 percent of our global business, as is reminded in a recent expert learning session on digital as a game changer in commercial real estate.

In the interview, Hugh points out our history in real estate with electrical switchgear, energy management systems, and our building management systems.

Then, what’s new and different? Whereas the focus traditionally was mainly on realizing state-of-the-art projects with stakeholders such as general contractors and various types of consultants, we broadened the focus.

In the specialization, the whole real estate value chain is addressed, starting with more questions on the ‘what’ and ‘why’ in an end-to-end way.

What are the priorities of all stakeholders, including investors, developers, property managers, asset managers, and the customer of the customer, tenants? How and why are their needs changing? And what is the best way forward to help the real estate industry create value in these times of smart buildings, digitization, the Internet of Things, and changing market dynamics?

The resulting real estate value proposition takes into account our full portfolio, including the IT side, channel partnerships, which we develop with EcoXperts and our innovation alliances with technology companies such as Microsoft, Cisco, and others.

Sustainability, security and the human experience – EcoXperts connect the dots

Based upon our experiences with real estate companies, we identified the needs across the full chain, designed the solutions to address them, and looked at the skills our partner program network needs to become the preferred partners of the real estate industry.

What are some of these main challenges/needs/changes, and thus what EcoXperts will learn based upon this highly market-driven approach as Youcef calls it?

Sustainability

It has always been our mission to help companies across the globe realize sustainable buildings. However, for the real estate industry, sustainability is more important than ever.

The demands of younger generations, a changing workforce, and corporate customers who occupy commercial buildings and increase their sustainability efforts, changing regulations, and the proven impact on energy efficiency are some drivers of this growing importance. Add the proven impact on return on investment (with a premium in rents and transaction prices for smart, connected, and green buildings), and it’s clear: real estate specialist EcoXperts must be able to guide clients on the journey towards certification.

The EcoXpert real estate specialization helps them with exactly that: understand the various elements of sustainability certifications such as LEED and BREEAM and help real estate companies achieve them.  It even addresses ‘healthy buildings’ certifications such as WELL which are becoming more and more critical post Covid-19.

Security

A smart building is a secure and connected building. To enable sustainable, green, and connected buildings, and to offer building owners and occupants the digital capabilities and services they want, technologies such as the Internet of Things and cloud computing are needed.

Moreover, as smart buildings fit in the context of smart cities, it’s essential to make sure the technological components are optimally secured. On top of this cybersecurity focus, there is a demand for physical security using advanced access control systems to ensure safety of building occupants.

Real Estate specialized EcoXperts are trained on the importance of cybersecurity and learn about our end-to-end security approach that consists of three parts, which are explained in the interview. Moreover, they can be real cybersecurity advocates and propose the many security services we have in our portfolio of products and services.

The human experience

The tenant experience has taken center stage in commercial real estate.  In office buildings, smart digital services, high levels of comfort, and a digitized, modern work environment are even essential to employee productivity.

This goes hand in hand with the need for safe, healthy and sustainable buildings. Think about the younger generations of workers and the changing face of work.   Employees returning to work post Covid-19 will want an app-enabled workplace and peace of mind that their safety has been considered.  Moreover, by creating secure buildings with fresh air and ideal comfort levels where the worker experience is optimal, people will be more motivated and productive.

Becoming a Real Estate Specialized EcoXpert – learning from awarded real estate projects

So, all in all, it boils down to really understanding what a smart building must offer to its many stakeholders in this day and age and help all stakeholders in real estate get there.

Youcef summarizes it in two words: performance and experience whereby the precise meaning of both terms can differ per stakeholder. Performance can, for example, be, financial performance, technical performance, and employee productivity. Experience can refer to the people working in commercial buildings and those who operate it.

For Schneider Electric, a smart building is all-electrical, all-digital, and human-centric, Hugh explains. In the commercial real estate value proposition and Real Estate specialization, these elements are translated into the needs of stakeholders and the services, capabilities, and solutions our partners, and we offer to meet them.

And it’s just the beginning. As buildings become smarter and integrated into smart cities and as leading developers do more and more with data and analytics, the importance of understanding smart buildings as an integrator will continue to grow and move to the next level.

Want an additional reason? As a trained Real Estate specialized EcoXpert, you will not just learn about advanced services and solutions or how to get sustainability certifications.  With the additional support of Schneider Electric Exchange and, of course, our teams, our EcoStruxure platform and solutions/partners in Exchange, you will be trained based on what we have learned and developed in realizing the smartest and most sustainable buildings across the globe!


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