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In addition to the current impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19), generational technology changes and contractor fragmentation have created significant risks and opportunities for you as a real estate executive. Its critical to know the history of how you got here and to create a simple, manageable plan for mitigating these risks and creating success in the Smart Buildings era.

With the onset of digital building systems in the 1980s, such as HVAC, elevators, lighting, metering, and parking, the real estate industry was unprepared for this new technology. Nearly 40 years later, the industry still hasn’t caught up to the rapidly changing technology. Today, contractor pre-site visit health screening and remote access management add even more dimension to an already complex environment.

The construction industry has been slow to react to the information technology (IT) realities in our buildings systems, and traditional IT solutions providers are distantly unfamiliar with the culture and operational technology (OT) in commercial buildings.

With subsequent developments in middleware, big data, Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI), as well as coworking and overall increased emphasis on occupant experience, there is further confusion and operational risks, such as cybersecurity. Additionally, uncoordinated fragmentation of systems and contractors drives up overall capital and operational cost structure. This fragmentation also increases identified insurance gaps and the need to manage and restrict contractor access to buildings and spaces.

Due to this technology market shift and the need to address public health in your buildings, data has become a utility requirement in real estate, much like electricity, water, and gas. As with the three original utilities (water, electricity, and gas), data also requires an infrastructure for building systems interoperability, analytics, visualization, AI, and cybersecurity. We call this The Fourth Utility™ Approach.

You can use this approach for new standards in design and construction, updated policy for the portfolio and contractors, and more effective departmental alignment that will spare you from major operational risks and allow for new levels of personal and organizational success.

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