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Aareon Smart World innovation sky rainbow

Innovation

Keeping pace with the digital times

Aareon constantly keeps up to date with technical innovations and issues pertaining to the future in order to assess their potential for increasing efficiency and optimising processes and to create property-industry solutions on their basis.

On the trail of technological trends

The development of state-of-the-art, forward-looking digital solutions requires careful observation of current and emerging technological trends. Now and then, a little imagination is needed as well: How could an idea that may seem unusual at first be helpful for the day-to-day work in the property industry? And can the idea be implemented in the short or in the medium term?

Aareon seizes upon new developments relating to digital solutions at an early stage and motivates its own employees – whether in the development department or elsewhere – to try out innovative tools and applications in a creative manner and play through scenarios for their integration in Aareon Smart World. The focus is on embedding the tools and applications in property-industry processes and thus increasing efficiency and optimising digitally supported processes.

Internet of Things enables predictive maintenance

The Internet of Things illustrates this very well: Only a few years ago, smart sensors and control devices which automatically adjust the heating at certain times based on measured data were merely dreams of the future – or at best available as prototypes. The same is true of systems which automatically notify landlords or management companies of an upcoming maintenance interval by e-mail.

Predictive maintenance, i.e. the forecasting of repairs and maintenance work on the basis of aggregated data and measurement results, is becoming a key topic in the property industry. Landlords and management companies that are informed of necessary technical work in good time, ideally before it actually becomes necessary, can plan ahead efficiently and minimise costs. They can also integrate tenants in these processes: Smartphones that support short-range wireless communication standards such as NFC can be used to read suitable wireless stickers on a system, allowing customers to transmit data from a radiator, for example, to their housing company themselves. This noticeably reduces the travelling time and distance for field staff.

Practical applications of virtual and augmented reality

Smart glasses such as the forerunner Google Glass also have promising potential. For example, service staff carrying out maintenance work no longer have to take a tablet along. They only need to look through the glasses to know which spare part to replace and how to go about it. If they need further instructions, they can simply talk to the artificial assistant in their ear, which will seek out the required information from the available data sources.

Nowadays, it is even possible to activate or use systems and services via voice control – Google Home and Amazon Echo are prominent examples of this development. And applications like these can even be operated on the go, since the Internet is available everywhere thanks to smartphones.

Virtual reality makes it possible to visualise buildings and apartments that don’t even exist yet – and even “walk” through them using a VR headset. Properties can thus already be shown to owners or tenants during the earliest planning stage so that their wishes and any justified concerns can be considered during construction.

Augmented reality allows properties or environments that already exist to be combined with digitally created information or visualisations. For example, prospective tenants can look at real apartments via a smartphone camera and simulate new furnishings by superimposing them onto the live image.

Building information modelling

If information like that is linked with digital methods for planning, realising and maintaining properties, digitalisation enables holistic process chains. Building information modelling (BIM) appears to be establishing itself as the standard in this context.

All relevant planning data and the costs for the construction of a building can be entered in a unified dataset and used for management purposes. And once the building is finished and occupied, it is even possible to add maintenance plans. Aareon combines approaches like BIM with its existing and future ERP solutions.

Big data

There is significant innovation potential in intelligently linking and analysing data. Predicting the availability of technical facilities, estimating tenant fluctuations in certain properties and identifying trends requires vast amounts of data. Big data is an approach that uses smart applications to leverage valuable information from stored data so that companies can make business decisions more easily.

The key lies not so much in the collection of data as in the fast provision of aggregated analyses. These allow companies to steer their own development – also with an eye to competitive benchmarking.

Artificial intelligence

A broad database is also needed for artificial intelligence applications. Artificial intelligence goes a step further than data analysis. It attempts to deal with problems independently on the basis of predefined rules, with the perspective of using gathered experience to develop new actions.

The first AI-based solutions are already being used in customer service, for example in the form of chat bots – semi-automatic assistants that answer customer enquiries. And the customers hardly notice that they are being guided through the issue by software rather than by a human being.

PropTechs

The innovative solutions and technological trends discussed above are furthered in particular by start-ups. As digital natives and with the zest often exhibited by founders, these entrepreneurs and their employees work in many segments of the property industry, generally dealing with matters of technology. That is why they are known as PropTechs.

With blackprint PropTech Booster in Frankfurt, Aareon supports a platform through which start-ups and established companies in the property industry can exchange ideas on how to sustainably establish new solutions in the market.

Further reading

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