We spoke with one of our PropTech Gold Members, Will Hulls, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Demand Logic who provided extensive insights into how they are using technology for good, what seperates them from their competitors and their exciting plans for 2020.
Could you tell us in more detail the problem Demand Logic is trying to solve?
Energy costs on average represent 1% of a business’ entire annual budget and upwards of 10% of the property budget. Based on research by Innovate UK in 2017, they found in a study of 50 new build commercial offices were four times less efficient that the UK Building standards recommended level. The major plant within properties relates to approximately 70% of overall energy costs which is largely due to poor management of the major plant through the building controls strategy; which has led to a huge amount of energy and cost wastage across every type of property across the globe.
Most commercial buildings are operated through a Building Management System (BMS) which are extremely unintuitive and difficult to navigate. This in conjunction with the inability of many systems being unable to provide trended analysis meant that it was, and still is, extremely difficult to identify issues with building operations, without having to wait for something to go wrong first. This led to a Facilities/Property Management industry which was constantly ‘Fire Fighting’, on the back-foot trying to resolve problems.
The aim of Demand Logic is to help simplify property performance; to provide a data driven insight into the operation of property; opening the complex information and data within a BMS and illustrating it in a usable format which can be analysed, interrogated and utilised to implement strategies, resolutions and remedies to reduce energy cost and Carbon Emissions, improve maintenance efficiency and effectiveness and create a more comfortable and productive environment for the building users.
Demand Logic were shortlisted for both Service Excellence and Tech for Good Award at the UK PropTech Awards, could you give us an insight into how you are using technology to make a change?
Demand Logic provides live data intelligence, in particular the Heating, Ventilation & Air-Conditioning (HVAC) systems. Utilising the existing infrastructure through our Data Acquisition Device, we can link directly to the systems and plant; providing a cost-effective and accurate visualisation of the plant operation. This provides the ability to quickly identify any outstanding issues which are causing energy wastage, comfort and maintenance issues. Better still, through the system we can pinpoint the exact piece of plant which is causing the issues and in-turn provide our client’s engineering teams with the information required to repair and resolve; increasing first time fixes and reducing reactive comfort calls.
The service uses live operational data to prioritise actions which fix faults, reduce energy consumption and improve comfort. When Demand Logic is used as a collaboration tool in standard operating procedures then the property will run better and more profitably. Demand Logic is also used in commissioning and environmental testing to quickly identify defects. The holistic analysis of HVAC systems highlights a range of common faults in major plants as well as small equipment, such as terminal units. Using data intelligence has been shown to expedite this phase of construction and to ensure a soft landing for the building operation. Our clients often seen returns on their investment of less than 9 months.
What separates Demand Logic from their competitors?
We are all about getting buildings to work better. An award-winning company forging new paths in PropTech with our ground-breaking approach. Our software is used to reduce energy; to increase the comfort and well-being, and to reduce the maintenance costs all the while providing an unprecedented level of insight to property performance. We can provide a more efficient, effective and sustainable offering which sees returns of over 30% savings in energy, over 15% savings in maintenance costs and up to 100% reduction in comfort complaints from building users. All with an average ROI of less than 9 months sets us apart. There are several areas in which we believe Demand Logic excels in the market;
- Data Acquisition – Our unique Data Acquisition Device (DAD) connects in to the client’s BMS from which it can poll all the data sets connected to the BMS, on a number of sites we are polling 175,000 + data. Providing our clients with a broader insight, as well as provide an unprecedented level of data for new builds.
- Speed of Deployment – The deployment of our DAD typically takes less than 3 hours, from which we are able to build a virtual asset model within 48 hours of deployment.
- Agnostic approach – We work with all major manufacturers and systems. We can operate with over 80% of the market.
- More than just Energy – We believe strongly in not solely using the data to identify energy savings; as we often state that we are not Energy Consultants. We have three core areas of KPIs which are Comfort, Maintenance and Energy.
What can we expect from Demand Logic in 2020?
We are continuing to work with our existing and new client base to expand our operations across various portfolios and continually deliver cost effective solutions; growing not only in the UK but also globally.
In addition to expanding our existing offering we are working on a number of projects to support our existing offering. We are working on several projects which operate on new models to enable a wider span of partners across different industries being able to utilise Demand Logic; making it ever simpler to introduce Demand Logic to properties.
We are continuing to work with our partner network and internally for integration with wireless sensor networks for more remote and smaller properties. These projects are looking at monitoring several aspects of operation including; office/meeting room utilisation, air-quality, humidity, temperature and lighting levels and a number of technical sensors looking at remote leak detection, water temperature monitoring amongst others.
We are also exploring the utilisation of the Demand Logic software within the insurance industry; identifying how understanding the optimised operation and maintenance of a property can reduce the risk profile of a building.
Finally we are working with Government departments, existing and new partners to develop a true, live Building Operational Score which will provide a foundation for an industry-wide illustration of building performance. A score which is live and continually monitored, rather than those existing models which are easily manipulated or a poor reflection of the true performance of properties. This will allow the investors and owners to easily see how their assets are performing, and where improvements can be made.
Lastly, where do you see the industry heading in 5 years time?
The PropTech industry is booming currently, with a huge element of excitement around the benefits of embracing technology in the archaic world of Property. Investment in PropTech has been steadily increasing, as investors see the opportunity for growth and PropTech specifically is one of the fastest growing investment sectors. This will not slow down, in fact, we believe there will be an even bigger emphasis being placed on embracing technology. This is simply due to the fact that, although 90% of Property companies see PropTech as an opportunity, there is still a large proportion of the industry which has not embraced any element of technology into their core business.
Over the next five years, the property industry will become more technology focussed, with the implementation of CTOs as a key role in any property business. Therefore utilising technology as part of the day-to-day business in the property industry will become the ‘norm’. However there will be some key areas, we believe, will expedite the growth and embracement of technology.
We are already beginning to see the demise of ‘proprietary’ or closed-protocol software and manufacturers and suppliers are opening up their proverbial doors to allow ease of access to the data from the systems. This will continue and closed-systems will become a thing of the past and a new open, collaborative world will take-over; allowing for interconnected systems to take over.
The interconnected network will allow the growth of more building user focussed approach. The growth of ‘Well-Being’ as a buzz word in every boardroom around the world has led to a desire for building users and property experts alike to be eager to have access to how their property is performing for their building users; looking at key metrics around CO2, humidity, VOCs, temperature, light and noise pollution and how these affect the ‘productivity’ of their teams. There has been a huge amount of academic research into the effect a space can have on the people that are using it – who would have thought? – and with the ever-decreasing cost and increasing availability of wireless sensor networks which can identify and illustrate this information – it has and will continue to be something which will be monitored and even whole property strategies developed around. This will fundamentally have the end-goal of telling teams and building users that their space is safe and productive.
The availability and continual development of technology, combined with the natural evolution of building users into data hungry consumers will also change the way in which we communicate and use properties and the services within them. The aforementioned ‘WELL’ information will be a key element of this, but moving to an app-based world will potentially overshadow this as the main future of PropTech. From room bookings, to way-finding, hot-desking and even order a coffee or lunch – everything will be linked and booked through a personalise phone application which will allow building users a direct link to the systems which are utilised to effectively run a property. This will become an expectation of building users and tenants; so property companies will have no choice but to embrace and implement such systems – and needless to say, with the building users having direct access and insight, a much higher level of service and responsiveness.
Ultimately the PropTech industry will grow, becoming solidified in its own right as an industry; accelerating the property industry out of the 20th Century and into a technology-based world of open access and communication in which information and data is available at the touch of a button.
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