News Article Cushman&Wakefield facility management Hungary interview proptech
by Property Forum | Interview

Propetch is far more than buying a gadget to replace humans. It is a disruptive tool to think over the whole value chain in managing commercial properties. No players in this chain can avoid using it properly, says István Rézsó, Head of Business Development at Cushman & Wakefield Hungary.

Is there any major change in the attitude towards a quicker implementation of proptech solutions from owners of commercial properties in Hungary?

Proptech has been present in the real estate market for decades, its importance was highlighted in the past 5-6 years when start-up companies boosted the potential users with various segmented products and solutions. All newly built developments have proptech supports implemented, let that be a design tool, in the beginning, an operational method, or a user/tenant support system when the building is handed over. The pandemic also changed the attitude towards introducing these applications and systems in a positive way.

How about other players - facility managers, tenants, investors, construction companies - in the value chain?

It is important to note that new commercial RE developments are becoming rather communities and micro eco-systems with various occupiers, providers, retailers, and visitors on these campuses. Every player or segment is now provided with proptech solutions, and now it goes beyond the level of a cleaning robot. FM companies can use it for example in maintenance planning, failure prediction, or in monitoring zones of a shopping centre to set the intensity of cleaning. Applications and sensors can aid to compose a tenant mix in retail assets. Tenants can have their offices automated by using smart card systems which sets the temperature of a room according to user preferences, they can book a workstation from home and then set the desk height automatically for the worker, etc. Investors can digitally model their available spaces and market them without physically being present, whilst construction companies can for example use BIM (Building Information Modeling) technologies in the planning phase. In the long term, proptech can make our lives easier and also more sustainable these are just a few highlights among the tons of technology supports available.

Are tenants spending more on catching up with the latest technology and IT trends or it is more typical that the CFO puts a brake on spending, saying there is no more money in the overall budget?

As always, it depends on the expected return, let that be short or long term, direct or indirect, when speaking about employee retention and satisfaction by providing a modern and comfortable high-tech workplace for example. It is aligned either to the asset strategy of an investor, or a tenant’s wellbeing policy. One thing is for sure: you cannot simply go around proptech in 2022.

How can Cushman & Wakefield implement the latest results of using VR, AI, and other modern technologies when serving different clients?

In leasing procedures, when landlords make it available, we can use virtual tours in buildings to present an area. By using Power BI, we can demonstrate market research analytics, and trends in a more transparent way by combining a lot more data sources and parameters. We are using Salesforce applications that make business opportunities and connections available globally, with business case drafts, established client relationships, etc. We can monitor a building’s performance via BMS (Building Management System) system reports, analyze and even predict equipment life-cycle milestones. Intelligent access systems can replace manned receptions, parking, visitor registry, and authentication levels.

What are the preferred steps towards sustainability in real estate maintenance and how proptech can add value to this?

ESG (Environmental – Social – Governance) is the new buzzword to integrate sustainability into commercial properties. It soon will be inevitable to use proptech tools when it comes to reporting and clustering the assets alongside the three pillars. A continuous, and even snapshot-based status report on building characteristics, emissions, energy performance, and technical readiness will require proptech support. This is an opportunity and can open a new field in the business for software developers or start-up companies.

Using Big Data properly is a must in every form of real estate management. How does Cushman & Wakefield use that tremendous amount of information to raise the level of service?

It is correct. We handle a massive amount of data and the keys are security, punctuality, transparency, and immediate availability. For instance, as we are handling a building in our property management database, that building’s basic data cannot be any different in the capital markets department or the leasing agency teams. When operating an asset, all tenant data with regards to invoicing, indexation, expiries, bank guarantees, and arrears need to be available at hand and without mistake. To support this, we implemented “Yardi 7s” tailored to the Hungarian market (taxation, accounting, etc.) which is used in many other countries across EMEA. This enables us to serve cross-country clients and provide them with unified reports and benchmarking possibilities. In the platform “Engage2”, we can manage clients, opportunities, contacts, and relationships collected globally and ensure secure access for internal and client benefits as well. Data is a currency, as long as it is solid, securely recorded, and promptly available. Proptech tools can support this as well.