Last month, our Associate Director – Digital, David Bender, joined Phil Clark (Aegon Asset Management), Neal Gemassmer (Yardi), Elisabeth Kohlbach (Skwire), Richard Starr (Palace Capital) and Simon Creasey (Property Week) for a roundtable discussion on future-proofing assets post-COVID 19.
We caught up with David post event to discuss his key takeaways.
1. There is a general sense of uncertainty about not only the length and impact of the coronavirus crisis, but on the long-term effect that it may have on our industry. The prevailing sense from the panel is that we in the industry should recognise that it is still the ‘early innings’ in terms of measuring the impact, and that adaptability and agility will be paramount.
2. COVID-19 has caused many firms to move quickly, for example Elizabeth Kohlbach at Skwire shared how they immediately shifted Airbnb properties onto long-term rentals by leveraging pre-existing digital tools. Or, how Phil Clark and his team were not shying away from asking fundamental questions about the needs of their tenants and their employees.
3. Understanding downstream impacts is key now more than ever – so getting deep into how space or design will impact all stakeholders i.e., employees of tenant firms, your own employees, communities, etc. will be a differentiator for investment firms.
4. One thing that has really come out of this experience is a greater appreciation from everyone across the business of the value of data and the need to invest in tools that can track metrics, whether it is inside the building, across the portfolio, tenant engagement or whatever the case might be. So people who would not call themselves tech-savvy are suddenly on Zoom meetings and realising: ‘Wait a minute, we need to be doing this in every context of the business’.
So in that sense, what we are going to start to see in terms of investment decision-making and how technology is going to drive that is more data-driven decision-making, more integration of monitoring tools inside buildings and making sure that the decisions are frankly just going to be happening faster, because we will have more data at our disposal and people will have greater comfort with the tools that can give them that access.
5. In general, it has been a good exercise in terms of understanding the kind of data that perhaps we had not necessarily been considering capturing that we do need to start capturing. And in the long term, it will be good in the sense that we have built up habits around how to engage with tenants and property managers that will be valuable down the road.
To see the full roundtable discussion, click here.