Digital Twins are Shaking the Foundations of the Property Industry

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Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of standing alongside Mark Tait, Group Executive and Head of Commercial Development at Investa at the IoT World Congress in Barcelona. The conference was a whirlwind and although it didn’t quite match the grandeur of the Sagrada Familia or the theatre of Las Ramblas, it did capture the excitement that permeates its host city.

Together, we explained how the partnership between Willow and Investa — a 5-year journey across multiple buildings and cities — has powered the evolution of the digital twin for the built environment.

Over the past decade, digital technologies have disrupted just about every industry, ushering in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Social media platforms, on-demand streaming services, and online shopping have changed the way we work, shop, and entertain ourselves. Not only that, but companies themselves have been reshaped, focusing on productivity, transparency, and sustainability.

There is no doubt that we are on the cusp of something extraordinary and the built world will be transformed in the next decade. There is a growing tide of owners and occupiers that do not intend to flounder in the backwash of the coming age of technology transformation in the built world, who will harness the power of the Digital Twin.

Over 100 years ago, Thomas Edison gave us electricity and a platform for it to be applied to industry, Henry Ford one of the early adopters lead the way in 1904. Those great companies, those great innovators, the visionaries that defined the modern world: the category makers that rode the first waves of the industrial revolution, the first waves of information age and the first waves of the internet century. They were willing and brave to lead the new way forward to pioneer new technology and embrace innovation. The modern world was conquered by those who moved forward.

As the great Isaac Newton said in 1675, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” For us at Willow, we stand with confidence on the shoulders of some of the world’s largest and most admired owners of real estate and infrastructure networks. Together, we will be at the leading edge of innovation and technology in order to bring a new chapter to the built world that is more connected, more sustainable, more intuitive, and more innovative.

Willow and Investa
(L-R) Nathan Lyon (Head of Building Technology, Investa), Michelle Zamora (Chief Marketing Officer, Willow), Mark Tait (Group Executive and Head of Commercial Development, Investa), Joshua Ridley (CEO and Co-founder, Willow), Dale Brett (Chief Product Officer and Co-founder, Willow), Shen Chiu (Development Director, Commercial Development, Investa), Toni Trumbull (Client Director, Willow)

Investa and Willow’s relationship is a testimony to the power of partnerships between innovators and visionaries that can reshape the world.

The Evolution of the Digital Twin

Although the concept of a digital twin isn’t new, there are three mega trends that are making it a possibility for any property: processing power available at scale, high speed connectivity with increased bandwidth, and significant sensor technology improvements at reduced costs.

The digital twin create a platform that captures every piece of data across the entire building lifecycle, and generates a real-time, interactive model of the building. This platform unlocks the value of data in real time. It provides powerful insights and analytics that transform the efficiency, compliance, standards of construction and operation of a building. As a result, owners develop more highly valued buildings and better experiences for their tenants.

Investa first brought in our Digital Engineering team to support their digital transformation over five years ago. This team specialises in capturing, validating, structuring and managing data. This highly specialised service enhances the design and delivery process, improves constructability, reduces risk and improves asset management throughout the project lifecycle.

Investa had created a Building Information Model (BIM) for many of their landmark buildings but became frustrated by the fact that the massive amounts of data generated in this process was often discarded at the end of construction. They saw a huge opportunity to leverage this valuable information to inform the management of facilities in the operation phase of their assets.

A Legacy of Partnership

Willow and Investa

567 Collins Street, a 600,000sqf premium-grade commercial office building in Melbourne, Australia, became one of the first properties in the world to capture all of the data and have it accessible in real time. Investa could know where over 50,000 assets in the building were, from flooring to door handles, and had access to over 14,000 live data points to tell which lights, pumps, and lifts are working in real time, on a totally open platform.

In 2019, the iconic 60 Martin Place will launch in Sydney. The project started out in 2012 with the developers shuffling into Town Hall to collect paper copy drawings. Next year, it will be entirely digitally enabled when it is handed over from construction to operations, with one final handshake and a notification on the building manager’s smartphone — saving hundreds of thousands of dollars that are caused by delays, lost information and inevitable disputes.

Willow and Investa
The digital twin of Investa's Barrack Place

The digital twin is changing the way Investa does business, and in turn Investa is changing the built world. The most exciting thing about this platform is the possibilities. It is about so much more than just creating a digitally enabled building. The Willow platform enables Investa to understand exactly what is going on, through receiving live data directly from their assets. There are a number of ‘software as a service’ products that give Investa access to security, concierge or even maintenance services. It also creates a marketplace for third-party applications – like the App Store or Google Play, you can integrate other solutions into the one platform.

Digital twins for the built environment will change the way we create places that people live, work, and play. It’s amazing to see a growing group of visionary owners like Investa who are embracing innovation and taking advantage of the revolution happening in 2018.

Joshua Ridley is the CEO and Co-Founder of Willow

About Willow

Willow is the digital twin for the built world.

Our mission is to empower every person and organisation to connect with the built world in a whole new way.  

For more, visit www.willowinc.com

For media enquiries, email us at PR@willowinc.com

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Rachel Ebalan-Ramirez

General Manager, Manila

As the GM/Principal of the Manila Studio, Rachel leads the overall operations and general management of the branch office to ensure all activities are aligned with the company business objectives.

She serves as a key part of the Operations Executive Group with input into the strategies formulated for operational growth, practice improvements, efficient resourcing and project delivery, culture development, and structure across the whole business.

Rachel oversees all Manila-based Shared-Services Teams and manages the execution of an effective and collaborative approach in providing support to the global company operations.

Corporate Connect Stages 2 & 3

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    30,000 sqm (322,917 sqft)
  • Architect: WMK
  • Contractor: Taylor Construction
  • Developer: Goodman
  • Owner/Operator: Goodman
  • Engaged by: Taylor Construction
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

100 Queens Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    34,900 sqm (375,660 sqft)
  • Architect: Kirsten Thompson Architects
  • Owner/Operator: GPT Group
  • Engaged by: GPT Group
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

32 Smith Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    26,000 sqm (279,861 sqft)
  • Architect: Fender Katsalidis
  • Owner/Operator: GPT
  • Engaged by: GPT
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

567 Collins Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    55,000 sqm (592,015 sqft)
  • Architect: COX and Spowers
  • Developer: Investa
  • Owner/Operator: Investa
  • Engaged by: Investa
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, WillowTwin™

Barrack Place, 151 Clarence Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    20,000 sqm (236,806 sqft)
  • Architect: Architectus
  • Contractor: Built
  • Developer: Investa
  • Owner/Operator: Investa
  • Engaged by: Investa
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, WillowTwin™

Sydney Metro Martin Place

  • Sector: Commercial / Rail
  • Size/scale:
    20,000 sqm (236,806 sqft)
  • Architect: JPW, Grimshaw and Tzannes
  • Developer: Macquarie Group
  • Owner/Operator: Macquarie Group / Transport for NSW
  • Engaged by: Savills / Macquarie Group
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Tempo Drummoyne

  • Sector: Residential
  • Size/scale:
    4,000 sqm (43,055 sqft)
  • Architect: FKM
  • Developer: EG Funds
  • Engaged by: FKM
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

Sydney Light Rail

  • Sector: Light Rail
  • Size/scale:
    12 KM Span 19 stations
  • Architect: Grimshaw
  • Owner/Operator: Transport for NSW
  • Engaged by: Grimshaw
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

Summer Hill

  • Sector: Residential
  • Size/scale:
    24,789 sqm (266,826 sqft)
  • Architect: HASSELL
  • Developer: EG Funds
  • Engaged by: HASSELL
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

Waterloo Road Campus

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    120,773 sqm (1,229,990 sqft)
  • Architect: Architectus
  • Contractor: John Holland Group
  • Developer: John Holland Group
  • Owner/Operator: John Holland Group
  • Engaged by: John Holland Group
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Global Switch Ultimo

  • Sector: Data Centre
  • Size/scale:
    40,000 sqm (430,556 sqft)
  • Architect: DEM
  • Owner/Operator: Global Switch
  • Engaged by: Global Switch
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Pittsburgh International Airport

  • Sector: Aviation
  • Size/scale:
    58,714 sqm (631,992 sqft)
  • Architect: Gensler / Luis Videl & Architects
  • Owner/Operator: Pittsburgh International Airport
  • Engaged by: Pittsburgh International Airport
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

60 Martin Place

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    40,000 sqm (430, 556 sqft)
  • Architect: HASSELL
  • Contractor: Lendlease
  • Developer: Investa
  • Owner/Operator: Investa
  • Engaged by: Investa
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, WillowTwin™ platform

480 Hay Street /
The Westin Hotel Perth

  • Sector: Hospitality, Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    48,000 sqm (516,667 sqft)
  • Architect: HASSELL
  • Contractor: BCG
  • Owner/Operator:
    Westin (Marriott Hotels)
  • Engaged by: HASSELL
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

The Sandstones Precinct

  • Sector: Hospitality, Conference
  • Size/scale:
    30,000 sqm (322,917 sqft)
  • Architect: MAKE Architects
  • Contractor: Built
  • Owner/Operator:
    Pontiac Land Group
  • Developer: Pontiac Land Group
  • Engaged by: Pontiac Land Group
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecture

The Star Sovereign Resort

  • Sector: Hospitality
  • Size/scale:
    148,644 sqm (1.6 million sqft)
  • Architect: HBA (Design)
  • Contractor: Built
  • Owner/Operator:
    The Star Entertainment
  • Engaged by: The Star Entertainment
  • Willow’s role: Digital Architecuture (Lead Consultant)

The Ribbon

  • Sector: Hospitality, Residential (Serviced apartments)
  • Size/scale:
    54,800 sqm (589,862 sqft)
  • Architect: HASSELL (Design Architect)
  • Contractor: Grocon
  • Developer: Grocon
  • Owner/Operator: Greaton/W Hotel (Marriot Hotels)
  • Engaged by: Grocon
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, Digital Architecture

477 Collins Street

  • Sector: Commercial
  • Size/scale:
    55,000 sqm (592,015 sqft)
  • Architect: Grimshaw
  • Owner/Operator: Mirvac
  • Engaged by: Mirvac
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Top Golf (various locations)

  • Sector: Hospitality
  • Size/scale:
    572,250-726,790 sqm (6,159,647-7,823,102 sqft)
  • Contractor: Arco Murray
  • Owner/Operator: Top Golf
  • Engaged by: Arco Murray
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering

Vanessa Iezzi

Head of People & Culture

Passionate about creating great workplaces and developing people, Vanessa is responsible for establishing the key foundations to scale Willow’s culture globally.

This includes overseeing global recruitment, talent mapping, people development frameworks, and driving engagement with Willow’s values throughout the organisation.

Tom White

Chief of Staff

Tom is Willow’s Chief of Staff. He delivers a full range of services across the business, developing business and project plans for initiatives that cut across the organization, including new offerings, partnership opportunities, improvements to internal operations whilst developing new programs to support the strategic direction of the organization.

Justin Gurney

Principal/Regional Head of WillowDigital

Justin is inspired by Willow’s vision and drive to transform the property industry. Justin made the decision to join Willow as Principal and Regional Head of WillowDigital in order to work on the delivery of iconic projects through smart technology. He is responsible for the delivery of complex and large-scale projects in the hotel, commercial office, and high-rise residential sectors while bringing to Willow over 25 years of experience in architecture and construction.

Dr. Michael Easson, AM FRICS FAICD

Chairman and Co-Founder

As Chairman, Michael guides Willow’s vision and strategic direction, provides corporate governance oversight and assists the company in fostering strategic long-term relationships. Michael’s experience in infrastructure and property is extensive across the private and public sectors, with over 35 years experience in real estate development and investment.

Adam Geha

Executive Director and Co-Founder

Adam is responsible for guiding Willow’s capital raising activities and regularly reviewing financial strategy and performance.

In addition to his role with Willow, Adam is the CEO and Co-founder of EG Funds Management, where he has led and supervised over USD 1.8 billion in commercial property investment and development for over 20 years.

Lee Fogarty

Principal & Head of Pre-Contracts

Lee takes a hands-on approach to managing and growing Willow’s international operations both as an architect and practice director.

Lee has been involved in a large number of projects from design phase into construction and operation. He knows how to harness the latest technologies to build buildings in the virtual world creating streamlined documentation that facilitates more cost and time efficient projects. In the future, Lee believes we will move completely away from 2D drawings into the 3D virtual world resulting in streamlined and more effective construction and procurement methods.

Shaun Klann

President - USA & Europe

Shaun leads the United States and European operations of Willow. With a background combining engineering, strategic consulting, and property development, Shaun has come to be recognised as one of North America’s most sought after smart building experts.

Shaun is our lead spokesperson for growth in the US and Europe.

Rani Adam

Chief Innovation Engineer

As Chief Innovation Engineer at Willow, Rani oversees the technical development and engineering on a global scale. His experience to date, having produced technology for a spectrum of sectors, is both visionary and practical. In creation of technology for e-commerce, rail, fintech, infrastructure and commercial real estate applications, Rani enables effortless user experiences. His experience in complex backend design has allowed for B2B (business-to-business), B2C (business-to-customer), and P2P (peer-to-peer) interactivity and economy. In addition to realising universal applications for technology (spanning web and mobile), Rani is responsible for leading Willow’s Software Engineering Teams through complex and specialised project conditions.

Will Sessions

Chief Information Officer

Will Sessions is the Chief Information Officer at Willow. In this role, he oversees all aspects of IT operations, infrastructure, applications, and architecture within the business. He also manages the strategic technological roadmaps, not to mention new technologies, initiatives, trends, cloud technologies, data analytics and information workflow.

Will’s technical background is grounded in the infrastructure space including network, computer server, security, and virtualisation before moving into new Cloud technologies.

Prior to joining Willow in 2017, he held consulting and strategic roles at companies such as Versent, SunRice, and CIMIC.

Sallyann Allman

Business Development Director

As Business Development Director, Sallyann leads Willow’s new business development strategy and customer engagement.

Queens Plaza Park

  • Sector: Commercial Multi-Family
  • Size/scale:
    92,903 sqm (1 million sqft)
  • Architect: Handel Architects
  • Developer: Durst Organisation
  • Owner/Operator: Durst Organisation
  • Engaged by: Durst Organisation
  • Willow’s role: Digital Engineering, WillowTwin™ platform

Daniel Isserow

Chief Finance Officer

An experienced finance professional with 8 years investment banking experience together with 4 years working in the Big 4, Daniel brings the fiscal discipline required to successfully grow the business and ensure its operational efficiency. Daniel is responsible for the areas of Finance, Legal, HR, and IT across the business.

Daniel is a qualified Chartered Accountant and holds a Master of Taxation from UNSW.

Daniel Kalnins

Global Head of Digital

As the Global Head of Digital, Daniel is responsible for the technical and strategic direction of the Digital Engineering Services Team. He is also a member of the Senior Executive Team in helping shape the path of the current and future business focus.

Gerard Francis

Managing Director and Chief Operations Officer

As Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Gerard is the co-head of the Executive Team (with the CEO) and manages the day-to-day operations of the organisation, its people and resources.

Gerard is responsible for implementing the strategy approved by the board ensuring that the organisation structure and processes meet the strategic and cultural needs of the organisation.

Gerard has utilised this depth of knowledge and leadership to provide strong governance, strategic direction and operational stability as Willow enters a new phase of growth and maturity.

Dale Brett

Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder

Dale Brett is the Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Willow, Australia’s fastest growing provider of smart technology for the built world. With a personal drive to solve complex and real-world problems with technological solutions, Dale leads the technology, product, and innovation at Willow.

In the last two years alone, Dale has led the ideation and implementation of groundbreaking technologies such as the WillowTwin™ Technology Platform, the Marketplace, and the WillowRail Operations to name a few. The technology is now being utilised by the world’s largest real estate owners, including Microsoft, AXA, and Investa Property Group. The common goal being, to make the world more sustainable, connected, intuitive, and innovative.

Joshua Ridley

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

As CEO, Joshua oversees the strategic direction, growth, and management of the company. He is passionate about culture, people, and growing a global company that has a positive impact on our world.

Joshua has built a reputation for his strong leadership and innovation with some of the largest and most admired owners of infrastructure and real estate including the Durst Organisation and Macquarie. He believes in building a global network of strong partners and has spearheaded partnerships with leading organisations such as Microsoft, thyssenkrupp, and Strukton Rail.

He has overseen the development of over $10B of projects through Design and Construction in a senior leadership capacity, and has partnered with preeminent architects, including KPF, Foster & Partners, Perkins Will, and Grimshaw. In Australia, he has worked on major projects with companies including Investa, GPT, Mirvac, Grocon, Brookfield, Multiplex, John Holland, CPB, Pontiac, Star, and NSW Government.

Joshua is our lead corporate spokesperson, covering the history of Willow, our vision for the built world, client engagements and breaking stories.

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