Investa had already set industry-leading standards for digital twins – virtual replicas of physical assets – prior to Covid-19. Digital twins replicate every floor, wall, stair and lift at four Investa buildings: 567 Collins Street in Melbourne, and Barrack Place at 151 Clarence Street, Sixty Martin Place and 40 Mount Street in Sydney.
Investa initially embraced digital twin technology to capture information created during construction and often lost over time, like the architect’s original drawings or warranties and service histories of equipment. But live data gathered from sensors and Internet of Things devices turns this information into an interactive tool.
The digital twin at 567 Collins Street in Melbourne, for example, maps more than 57,000 building elements and takes feeds from 14,000 live data points in the building. This digital twin enables Investa to manage the building with greater efficiency, fix problems before they occur, better manage sustainability and improve the occupant experience.
During Covid-19 lockdowns, Investa’s big data depository took on a new dimension. The digital twins helped Investa to gain a clearer picture of how people were using offices and hinted at new trends heading our way. “Access to data at our digital twin properties gave us insights into how our buildings responded to having less occupants,” Lyon says. “We saw new patterns emerge and new opportunities to enhance our operations.
“We’ve seen a measurable reduction in the number of people turning up to work on Mondays and Fridays. And interestingly, on a wet Friday people appear three times less likely to come into the office,” Lyon adds.
This quantitative data “substantiates a known truth,” Chiu adds, and reinforces other industry data. The Property Council’s Reimagining our economic powerhouses report, published in March, found 3.3 days in the office is the preference of most workers moving forward, with Mondays and Fridays the least popular. With powerful insights at their fingertips, Investa’s facilities management teams can make tweaks so the building can perform at its peak. “Say Level 20 doesn’t have as many occupants on the floor on a Monday. In that case where possible, we can adjust the air-conditioning so it doesn’t work as hard in unoccupied spaces – and that saves both money and carbon emissions,” Chiu says.
“Whatever the cause, whether it’s Covid or a new policy or an upgrade to infrastructure, we can see how people respond to change. Then we can tailor our capital decisions, our technology selection or even our energy efficiency strategies to suit.
“Understanding how people are working in our buildings is the next focus for us because it can help us unlock value for our tenant customers and our investors.”