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Aareon Smart World Innovation sky clouds sun

Innovation

Innovation@Aareon

As a digital driver, Aareon cooperates with customers and partners to develop new solutions based on state-of-the-art technologies. We also use new methods for the generation and formulation of ideas so that the result meets the requirements of users rather than those of technology.

Digital transformation

Society and the economy are in the process of a digital transformation. The exponential rate of technological advancement in recent years has changed both our social and business relationships dramatically – and resulted in almost all areas of life being digitally networked. Trend follows trend: Big data, virtual reality, the Internet of Things, blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning and similar technologies make visions come true and give rise to new business models and living arrangements.

Dr. Manfred Alflen, CEO Aareon, in an interview at the Expo Real 2019 on digital transformation

Smart value creation in the property industry

Technologies like virtual or augmented reality, big data, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence or blockchains offer the property industry interesting perspectives. The industry is already seeing a marked increase in process automation based on platform concepts such as customer portals with self-service options, chatbots and virtual assistants. And no wonder, since they offer advantages to all parties involved: For example, a tenant portal allows users to change their personal data quickly and efficiently at any time – without the need for a middleman. And the smarter the platform is, the more efficient the process becomes. For instance, machine learning with algorithms can help a property company to choose tenants and offer them just the right apartments – especially in times of high demand and supply. This is also a service for potential tenants.

IoT – Internet of Things

The Internet of Things, which uses sensors to interconnect buildings and entire cities, also opens up great potential for added value for the industry. A particularly striking example of this is building maintenance, which is a considerable cost factor for property companies. By using sensors to intelligently connect building technology to the company’s digital ecosystem and evaluating the data obtained, the companies are able to manage their buildings more efficiently. For example, smart monitoring of lifts makes it possible to plan repairs and maintenance in advance in order to avoid sudden breakdowns or damage.

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance is based on a learning system. For this purpose, the building technology must be equipped with sensors or cameras that can generate data in real time, and the application area must be documented in the company’s ERP system. Algorithms are used to consolidate, analyse and evaluate the data from both sources. This creates a learning system that diagnoses when and which repairs or maintenance activities are required and – in conjunction with the company’s digital ecosystem – automatically initiates the right processes.

Aareon Smart World

Taking Aareon Smart World as a concrete example, this means that maintenance and repair services are commissioned directly via the Mareon service portal, and that tenants or owners are notified via the Aareon CRM portal if there are any faults. Smart integration benefits everyone involved: Residents are more satisfied because they receive information faster and the failure rates are lower. Property companies can request quotations, hire tradespeople and plan material input well in advance. And tradespeople are able to avoid unnecessary journeys and save resources and time.

The topic of predictive maintenance illustrates a central aspect when it comes to choosing any technology: The property company needs a digital ecosystem that provides a technical basis and can be easily expanded – no matter with which technology. In addition, the digital ecosystem must be able to combine various digital technologies – especially because the value chain in the property industry can be very long. You can see this from the example of a tenant’s damage report – even in a simple case like this, at least three parties are involved in the repair process.

Aareon Smart World schema
Aareon Smart World · the digital ecosystem for the real estate industry

In the future, entire buildings – especially large residential complexes – may be smart in the sense that they use digital tools to foster community and connect people. For example, they can ensure that people who live in the same house know more about each other and can support each other – whether through babysitting, car sharing or shopping with or for senior citizens.

Blockchain technology is another potentially interesting option for the property industry. It enables the conclusion of smart contracts, thus securing complex collaborations and transactions between companies and their stakeholders which require a high degree of trust.

A smart city
A smart city

Using technologies based on the value chain

All of this shows that a whole range of new opportunities are opening up for the property industry. But it is important not to get carried away with enthusiasm and remember that the approach you choose plays a significant role on the road to later success. As fascinating as the technologies themselves are – the starting point for their use should always be to look at the company’s entire value chain. The first step is to determine, on the basis of a comprehensive process analysis and a strategic consideration of unused potential, which technology can contribute in what ways to increasing efficiency, creating new business models or saving costs. Only then should a suitable technology be selected on the basis of a digital ecosystem such as Aareon Smart World.

With Aareon Smart World, technology and industry leader Aareon has for many years set the benchmark in terms of digitally connecting all players in the property industry. And the integrated portfolio is continuously being enhanced and expanded. New technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual support help to create a high degree of automation, more comfort and thus further added value for property companies. Examples include a solution that uses drones to inspect the safety of properties or the virtual assistant “Neela” developed by Aareon to improve both process efficiency and service in the area of tenant communication.

Read more:

→ I’m Neela – How the virtual assistant Neela is transforming tenant support (article in the Aareon Annual Report)
→ neela.aareon.com

AareonMAG - AI: drone

Aareon Smart Platform

In a pioneering move to give Aareon Smart World a future-oriented, open architecture, Aareon has created Aareon Smart Platform – an open, integrated platform for customers and partners of the property industry that can be used to develop proprietary solutions or to easily integrate third-party solutions into Aareon Smart World.

Read more:

→ The platform principle – How the new Aareon Smart Platform is facilitating the integration of ever more solutions (article in the Aareon Annual Report)
→ smartplatform.aareon.com

A holistic approach to digital transformation

However, for the companies, digitalisation means more than just introducing new IT solutions. The challenge lies not only in making the right choice when faced with the constantly growing range of smart products and services on the market, but also in shaping the associated change process within the company. When developing a digital strategy, business processes – perhaps even entire business models – have to be newly conceived and designed. The key to success here is to take the users of the digital applications on board at an early stage and involve them from the very beginning. After all, a digital working environment with new applications, equipment and working methods, which may also be accompanied by more flexible working hours and work location models, requires a high degree of adaptability, openness and courage from both employees and decision-makers. This calls for a change in the responsibility of employees and in particular in the management culture or rather the self-image of the managers.

For this reason, Aareon offers property companies comprehensive strategic consulting on request – from analysing processes and creating a digital agenda to providing digital process and solution advice and devising the transformation process.

Aareon Cloud
Efficient and knowledgeable · Viewing and processing data on mobile devices

Aareon DesignLab and design thinking

It is important to consider why the company wants to focus on one issue or another. For this purpose, we opened our Aareon DesignLab in the summer of 2016.

Here we work together with property companies in line with the design thinking approach. This user-centric problem-solving method, which is already quite common in other industries, is the methodical basis of the DesignLab.

Read more:

→ DesignLab: Free Thinking
→ Design Thinking

Cooperative development as a guiding principle

At Aareon, solutions are not developed behind closed doors. On the contrary: It is part of our innovation culture to bring in selected property companies as early as possible so that we can get to know their practical viewpoint and incorporate it in our developments.

The Aareon Group invests a lot in research and development of convincing solutions. Our transnational development team always takes social, political, economic and technical influence factors into consideration and integrates them in existing and new digital solutions.

Read more:

→ Innovating together – How synergies are being created in the CRE sector (Interview in the Aareon annual report)

Dialogue with customers
Cooperation at Aareon · How can the app be made more user-friendly?

To be able to carry out intensive testing early on and go from idea to prototype as quickly as possible, Aareon relies on an agile development approach. Taken over from the field of software development, this procedure has participants work in iterative optimisation cycles, drawing closer step by step to a mature final state. The aim of this streamlined process is to achieve maximum quality within a predefined time frame and budget.

No matter whether the topic of the day is building information modelling (BIM) or the Internet of Things (IoT) – for all the opportunities offered by digitalisation, Aareon is able to provide the property industry with forward-looking solutions for a networked world.

Suggested reading

Geared to the future – How innovative are housing companies?
Big Data, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Building Information Modelling (BIM) – how innovative are housing companies when it comes to technology like this? What are the trends and challenges facing Europe, and how good are companies at positioning themselves with new products and services for tenants? In a pan-European study, Aareon obtained some interesting answers to just such questions.

→ Read the article in the Aareon Annual Report.

Innovation! – How PropTechs are setting trends in Europe
Proptechs are driving digitalisation of the property industry throughout Europe. These start-ups represent both a challenge and an opportunity for the established players in the sector and have long since been identified as potential cooperation partners by Aareon.

→ Read the article in the Aareon Annual Report.

PropTechs: The best of two worlds?
Young, digital companies are giving impetus to established industry sectors – with new technological concepts, but above all with new business models. In the real estate industry, these start-ups call themselves PropTechs. What significance do they have for the future of the real estate industry?

→ Read the feature in AareonMAG. (in German)

Everything keeps changing: How to shape change management
The world is changing – whether through digitalisation, demographic change or new methods of cooperation. How can the necessary changes be shaped to meet the needs of a company? What should the related change management look like?

→ Read the expert discussion in AareonMAG. (in German)

The city is on the move
Cities have a strong appeal, whether as an urban place of residence or a place of work for commuters. If the number of inhabitants and daily visitors continues to increase, the traffic flows swell and can become a burden. What solutions are there to master this situation?

→ Read in the article in AareonMAG. (in German)

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