Investa is prioritising the use of artificial intelligence (AI), as it gets set to transform the way data is used across its business.

The office market specialist has partnered with cutting-edge AI platform provider SparkBeyond, to accelerate and amplify the way in which the business collects, organises, analyses and draws insights from data, at a scale not previously possible.

Amir Haramaty, Chief Commercial Officer at SparkBeyond joined Nina James, General Manager, Corporate Sustainability & Responsible Investment and Joanna Marsh, General Manager, Innovation and Strategic Projects at a lunch today to discuss the intersectionality of real estate, investment and the global opportunities of AI.

The partnership is a first for the Australian property industry, allowing Investa to harness previously untapped insights from hundreds of internal, external and open-source data points - enabling unprecedented decision intelligence across a range of core business areas including acquisitions, tenant attraction and retention, pre-emptive building operations, optimal deployment of capital and aligning investors with the right opportunity at scale.

Ms Marsh believes the investment in the platform will allow Investa’s workforce to spend more time on value-adding, strategically oriented activities.

“We’re really proud to be the first to secure this market leading product for the broader industry,” she said.

“In a time of great transformation, many companies are struggling to innovate in a way that drives real business impact. Being able to see patterns, derive insights and solve business problems through artificial intelligence and machine learning, allows us to make better decisions.

As we move into the future, we will be able to leverage these insights to uncover opportunities that are not yet articulated clearly or adequately serviced in our industry,” said Ms Marsh.

SparkBeyond was founded in Israel by Sagie Davidovich and Ron Karidi in 2013. Since then, the platform has generated more than seven billion hypotheses and more than a $2 billion of impact for the companies it has worked with, which include McKinsey & Company, Microsoft, Pepsico and Anheuser-Busch.

While visiting Investa’s office today Mr Haramaty said he was very pleased with the unique way the SparkBeyond platform had been able to adapt to the commercial real estate sector.

“We are delighted that our platform has been able to deliver such impressive results to Investa, who have shown great foresight to develop a strong, data-driven culture internally. AI-driven decision intelligence is empowering Investa with strong and actionable insights for sustainable growth and measurable impact.”

Described as a ‘problem-solving’ platform, Investa sought to use SparkBeyond to identify on and off market acquisition opportunities based on very specific criteria. The platform produced more than 90 models and research cycles during the four-week experiment, analysing more than 500 buildings in five geographic locations.

“To put this into context, it would typically take a data scientist two months to complete one model and research cycle. SparkBeyond gave us 90 models in half the time,” Ms Marsh said.

“Over the course of the four-week experiment, instead of the two or three viable options that would typically be generated using standard practices over the period, we produced a list of 500 hundred properties, 36 of which were deemed viable options against the fund criteria.

SparkBeyond enabled us to democratise data science to create citizen data scientists within the business, able to plug gaps, cleanse data and make very educated predictions.

The platform moves beyond traditional numbers and typical data sets to characteristic mapping, giving greater depth of analysis and forecasting of trends,” said Ms Marsh.

Emily-Lee Waldao, Group Executive Brand & Innovation said Investa anticipates gaining a higher return from its AI investment than just great insights.

“The platform will be used to simplify complex decisions around how we can do more with less, whilst continuing to drive business strategy, growth and investor returns,” she explained.

We are committed to ensuring our people have access to the most sophisticated data and analytics in the market, providing a clear speed to market advantage.”

The partnership with SparkBeyond is one of a series of data, AI and systems-related investments made by Investa in recent years, as part of its long-term commitment to technology and innovation leadership.

Read more about our work in the AI space in our Advanced Analytics and Artificial Intelligence whitepaper, published in March 2021.