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digital twin

CBRE Packages Its 360 Workplace Management Service With Microsoft’s Digital Twin Infrastructure

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about Microsoft’s announcement that it was adding a “digital twin” IoT service to their Azure platform. This is in line Microsoft’s reorganization efforts that de-emphasizes the Windows operating system as a business line and focuses a lot more on the IoT sector. It is also a big deal because Microsoft is now a competitor in the PropTech space, already counting one of the biggest property firms in the world as their client. CBRE has been promoting their partnership with the Azure Digital Twin service for a while as part of their CBRE 360 program.

I wanted to learn more about how CBRE planned to use Azure in their services so I asked Sandeep Davé, CBRE’s Chief Digital and Technology Officer for Global Workplace Solutions, a few questions about their use of Microsoft’s newest platform. Sandeep first explained that Microsoft’s Digital Twin program is a hosting service that allows multiple points of data to be shared within the model, and that integrates easily with other programs. This allowed them to focus on the work of creating better spaces.

“Many of our everyday experiences have been digitized and made available in the palm of our hand, from hailing a cab to ordering food,” he said. “However, the workplace experience part had largely remained unchanged. We set out to change that with CBRE 360, which was easier said than done. We learned that it is really challenging to build a platform that caters to digitizing various workplace experiences. To that end, we partnered with Microsoft to provide us commodity IoT management infrastructure, so we could focus on developing next-generation workplace experiences.”

“Our focus was on creating a holistic workplace experience platform and, of course, smart building technology can provide the data to power those experiences. We installed sensors at client sites that provide valuable information, and Microsoft’s Azure Digital Twins gives us the IoT infrastructure to enable the workplace experience our CBRE 360 app provides,” Sandeep added.

“…We partnered with Microsoft to provide us a commodity IoT management infrastructure, so we could focus on developing next-generation workplace experiences.”

CBRE 360 is a lot more than just a tool for facility management. Sandeep saw that the entire employee management system needed to be interconnected in order for it to work properly. “The combination of an employee facing app, analytics and an operating platform that connects the physical and digital worlds enables smarter workplaces that contribute to increased occupant productivity, improved health and wellness, improved asset reliability, optimized building utilization, and lower operating costs,” he said.

CBRE 360 technology has already had real-world impacts to their clients. “The results from our deployments have been phenomenal. For one client, employee satisfaction increased 30% after the first 90 days,” Sandeep told me. “This was driven in part by a 70 percent daily user adoption, utilizing over fifteen thousand map views that feature real-time, live occupancy and space availability, over seven hundred spaces booked, and more than two hundred locations shared among users.”

I wasn’t sure if this new program was just a one-time engagement with their clients but Sandeep informed me that these programs only work when they are done over a long time span. “The spaces within buildings are dynamic, floorplans change, amenities change, so we need to match the needs of our clients and their employees and tenants on an ongoing basis,” Sandeep said.

CBRE has lofty goals of deploying their 360 program all over the world, and it’s safe to expect the property company to maintain a partnership with Microsoft, as the firm sees their use of Azure hosting as a critical way to scale. “We have a great relationship with Microsoft and will continue to leverage Microsoft’s Azure Digital Twins as we scale-up across the globe,” Sandeep said.

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