Technology is disrupting all aspects of the built world and this is only accelerating each year. The challenge rather, is how industry leaders can harness these disruptive forces to create and share value for their shareholders and the broader public good.

This was exactly the problem discussed at last week’s Urban Land Institute symposium in Toronto. Willow CEO and Co-founder Joshua Ridley was featured at the industry leading forum for the discussion of emergent ideas in the development space, covering the pertinent topic of ‘Digitization and Industrialization’. The ULI hosts leaders from real estate, technology and construction who are propelling the business of city building forward.

Joshua’s panel opened the specific topic of ‘Harnessing the Power of IoT and Digital Twin Technology’ covering the impacts of big data, the cloud, IoT, 5G the “Edge”, and the rise of “exponential organizations.” The panel featured some of Willow’s core strategic partners, including Julie Morin; IoT Solutions Lead, Microsoft Canada and Mark Bryant, Chief Information Officer, PCL, who engaged with the challenge of adopting new technology in a changing market such as real estate.

The group discussed how owners can better make sense of the mass of data available to them and fully realise the potential of Industry 4.0 using digital twins. Digital twins represent a visually intuitive system for the storage, view and manipulation of big data, drawing from building automation system monitoring, spatial recognition analytics, tenant analytics and are now at the forefront of smart construction and smart buildings.

For owners they present immediate value, through having access to quick, clear, concise and actionable information. As Joshua stated, “Information you care about, not a clouded wave of information that you don’t. You are therefore not inefficient, wasting time sifting through files and data for that material that you require. You have live, dashboarded and instant actionable information.”

“Another factor is talent retention. Customer demand is increasing for the built world that they work and play within. It can be enhanced and part of a value add to employees for organisations to retain talent. Major tenants are increasing their requests for access to the newest technologies and information. If a landlord cannot provide this, we are seeing tenants move from one building to another to seek this out for their employees.”

The resounding sentiment from the ULI event is that the property and infrastructure industries are entering a new age and will become the most innovative in the world. “2019 is the turning point.” The panel concurred.

“We see our clients facing significant challenges in their organisations. From increased regulatory demands on fire, safety and the impact of the property on the environment. But technology is enabling us to meet these challenges head on.”

For early adopters the future is now – meaning that those businesses that prioritise the identification and implementation of ‘emergent tech’ will be best placed to succeed in an uncertain future. Willow’s ambition is to enable the digital transformation of the built world and echoes this sentiment.

On behalf of Joshua, we would like to thank ULI for hosting us and look forward to taking part in other amazing and thought-leading symposiums such as this.
About Willow

Willow enables the digital transformation of the built world. Our mission is to empower every person and organization to connect with the built world in a whole new way. Together with our employees, customers, partners and communities, we are making the world more sustainable, connected, intuitive and innovative.

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