Digital Twins, Groundbreaking for Business Leaders in the Built World

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Note: Excerpts from this article were drawn from a feature in NREIonline.com on March 21, 2019.

Digital twin technology with Willow, offers developers and owners a powerful data tool that accelerates project construction, de-risks handover and commissioning, and provides asset management efficiencies that save time and money. It promises to make buildings more sustainable, whilst helping attract and retain occupants.

These scalable, dynamic models leverage Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create a 2D or 3D digital, geometrically accurate visualisation of buildings and infrastructure networks. Digital twins provide continuously updated information on a project’s status or live building operational data and facilitates machine learning capabilities.

The era of digital twins is here.

Despite the current popularity and hype today, a digital twin is not a new innovation. Dynamic, virtual replicas of physical assets were first used by NASA, however they have now found value in many other industries, such as aviation, oil & gas, and manufacturing.

At Willow, we are redefining the digital twin, and bringing it to the built world. However, this presents its own challenges.

Whilst the built world (which we define as buildings and infrastructure networks) is one of the largest sectors, it is also one of the slowest to embrace technology. It has continued operating as it has for the past 50 years, with a heavy reliance on manual labour, mechanical technology and established operating and business models. Productivity has stagnated as a result. Information is largely siloed or lost in analogue processes, and systems and data are unable to be extracted. Developers and asset owners are losing substantial dollars through delays and lost contracts through inferior systems handling large amounts of information.

Willow’s platform, WillowTwin™ is solving the fundamental data silo issue in the industry.

It collects and harnesses project and building operations data, turning data into value by facilitating smart design and construction, optimising building performance, enhancing user experience and opening new revenue streams for owners of commercial real estate.

Unlocking the value within data

Willow began its journey as a Digital Design and Construction company, advising developers of major, complex buildings and infrastructure projects to leverage technology during design and construction, benefitting the owner through the lifecycle of the asset. Two years ago, in partnership with Investa, a visionary Australian commercial real estate owner and operator, Willow set out to develop a digital solution that draws on static, historic, and live operating data to create actionable insights that can transform the operation of buildings and infrastructure and how occupants and users experience those assets.

In the development of this digital solution, Willow drew on the expertise of Tapify, a Fintech company, who brought strong expertise in technology and software development to the table.

In 2019, Willow evolved from a Digital Design and Construction company to a technology company, integrating its software development capabilities with our deep building industry knowledge base. Willow is the digital twin for the built world.

Through combining these two areas we have developed a complete solution for the built world. WillowTwin™ our platform and WillowDigital™, professional services to accelerate digital adoption. Two distinct, but related parts of our business work together to create smart buildings and infrastructure networks.

More than a model

A digital twin is much more than a 3D model – it is a digital replica of either a building or infrastructure network, processes and systems that brings key data points from all aspects of the project into a “single source of truth” for owners and operators, among various other purposes.

The WillowTwin™ platform brings together three main streams of project information into an easy-to-use, searchable database that can scale to an entire portfolio. This includes:

  • spatial information from the 3D models or 2D drawings developed during the design and construction stages.
  • static information about all equipment that is important to the owner’s maintenance team (such as manufacturer, model and serial numbers, warranty information, expected cost of replacement), as well as PDFs of the owner’s manual and maintenance instructions.
  • live data from systems such as the building management system (BMS), lighting control, physical access control, CCTV, and other IoT sensor networks.

By harnessing real-time data, the platform adds value by helping optimise the performance and occupant experience, to drive savings through actionable insights and predictive maintenance. Owners can also use the platform to glean insights about how occupants behave and automatically predict such needs as environmental comfort.

From design and construct into operations

Through the use of WillowTwin™, a project’s design and construction teams assemble the digital twin as the project is being constructed. Bringing together the information silos that traditionally separate a project’s design and construction teams, the platform reports on the completion and quality of the information that contractors need to present to the owner at project closeout. Collecting and validating this information over the course of the build reduces risk at handover and through operations for all stakeholders, including the owner, investors, and contractors.

Integrations connecting you to a world of possibility

Unlike the model-based facility management solutions on the market, WillowTwin™ is the access point for a vast number of third-party providers that enable owners to take advantage of a range of new smart solutions.

In this way, WillowTwin™ enables enhanced user experience and offers new revenue streams to owners of buildings and infrastructure networks. Through the digital twin, facilities teams can open, manage, and track occupant service requests. Asset managers can review reports on demographics and engagement, including space utilisation, service or amenity preferences, and occupant feedback collected through smartphone apps.

Occupants can use smartphone apps that integrate with the digital twin to pre-register building guests with security, which sends their guests a QR code that is scanned when they enter the building, and then provides a map that guides them to their destinations. It can also digitally unlock doors, reserve conference rooms and amenity spaces, and push notifications of transportation alerts, specials offered by nearby retailers, and instructions during emergency situations.

The digital twin offers a true paradigm shift for the industry

At a very minimum, the digital twin validates, prepares and visualises information for owners and operators of buildings and infrastructure networks who want to make well-informed, data-driven decisions for their properties and portfolios.

But the real paradigm shift that the digital twin brings to our industry comes with the owner’s ability to do incredibly powerful things with their data with relative ease. This includes the ability to run simulations that evaluate multiple options and reveal ways to optimise business operations in real-time and implement new workflows and processes into their organisations. This improves for efficiency and enables best-in-class solutions across their entire portfolio that drive better, smarter outcomes for staff and customers around the globe.

At an even broader scale, the benefits of the digital twin will move beyond the commercial and extend into the social and environmental. How entire communities live, learn, commute and interact with their world can be better understood, visualised, and communicated. The digital twin equips building owners not only with the tools they need to delight the people who use their space and to gain the insights they need to run a better business, but empowers them to create a safer, smarter, more connected built world.

Our mission at Willow is to lead this exciting new category and realise the true potential of the digital twin.

Ian Siegel is a Digital Lead at 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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