Client Collaboration Brings 3D Conceptual Planning
Software to Life
Technology promises a lot: better results, increased efficiencies, cost savings—the list goes on. Despite historically (and famously) lagging in tech, the commercial real estate industry is now making record-breaking investments in technology solutions. Beyond investing capital, a primary factor that can help differentiate a new, innovative solution is collaboration with end users.
The Trouble with Test Fits
The conventional test-fitting process - evaluating, planning, rendering and validating an occupier’s use of space - has been cumbersome, inefficient and expensive. It can often hinder a corporate real estate team’s ability to respond to their businesses’ real estate needs in a timely and effective manner. Not to mention, every change to an architectural plan incurs a fee, and 3D renderings and tour simulations can send costs skyrocketing.
With this in mind, CBRE recognized that integrating conceptual test fitting and space planning with 3D visualization in a single, user-friendly product was an area of need and opportunity - especially for large occupier clients. The rise of virtual reality and interactive 3D graphics for personal use contributed to the feeling that similar technology could be harnessed for the evaluation, planning and modification of space in real-time.
A New Way to Plan Space
Enter Plans Pro, an enterprise Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) test fit 3D visualization tool for quick, efficient space planning based on a client’s unique design standards. With Plans Pro, users can view, edit, visualize, manage and download test fits in real-time, via their own browsers. The tool takes 2D plans and instantly renders them into 3D virtual tours matching the company’s specific design standards and making the user feel as if they are standing in the office themselves.
Plans Pro provides real estate professionals with an interactive way to make decisions about space and also the ability to easily share concepts with non-real estate-minded stakeholders. Further, it provides the opportunity for CRE leaders to be more directly involved in the design development instead of relying on architects or designers for the initial space layout. Plans Pro offers ultimate editing flexibility and customizability, allowing CRE professionals to upload specific design standards in both 2D and 3D, including custom furniture, finishes and room configurations across projects.
From Pilot Program to Premier Product
When CBRE launched a pilot program of Plans Pro in January 2019, four of the firm’s large, global clients were eager to beta test. Over the next few months, the four client pilot participants and corresponding CBRE account professionals introduced and utilized Plans Pro within their respective organizations. During the trial, the combined CBRE and client teams leveraged Plans Pro to create test fits for properties around the world, which were automatically tailored to the clients’ unique, custom design standards. After having explored the tool, the client pilot participants and CBRE account professionals provided critical feedback that helped inform the product development team on features and identify additional use cases for the product.
In the pilot, it was clear that presenting to key stakeholders and non-real estate decision-makers through a real-life iteration of space concepts within the tool was an effective way to share and communicate a strategic vision. In this way, Plans Pro supported faster decision making and helped address change management concerns by enabling the client teams to more efficiently and accurately test fit spaces.
Through the pilot program, the product development team gained a more comprehensive understanding of how the tool could be used in an occupier’s space planning process. This enabled CBRE to make the modifications necessary to produce a stronger tool capable of increased efficiencies and the ability to help occupiers cut costs across space planning. Thanks to the collaborative partnerships between CBRE and its clients, key features of the product were refined and finalized for release in fall 2019. Plans Pro has since been successfully rolled out not only in the Americas, but also in the EMEA and APAC regions.
Plans Pro was conceived from an idea that was intended to help advance the industry and solve for a longstanding (and costly) pain point: the test fitting process. In addition to cutting-edge software, however, what has helped differentiate this product in the marketplace and truly make it a success has been our clients’ willingness to work together toward a shared vision for innovation.
This Week’s Sponsor
CBRE, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm based on 2018 revenue. It employs 90,000+ people and serves real estate investors and occupiers through approximately 480+ offices worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.
UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS
The 5G Future – Assessing the Landscape for IN-BUILDING COMMUNICATIONS - 2/20/2020
The next generation of wireless – 5G, CBRS, Wi-Fi 6 and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) – is on the horizon. Increased speeds, low latency, and reduced congestion on mobile networks will revolutionize the way we use an ever-increasing number of IoT devices and design in-building communication infrastructures. 5G and CBRS are technologies providing cellular service, WI-FI 6 is a short-range wireless access technology, and BLE is a wireless personal area network designed especially for short-range communication – all technologies are complementary and will each support different use cases in the built environment. This webinar will provide an overview of the different technologies and discuss how they will work together to provide enhanced mobility, capacity and data rates. First generation use cases in the real estate industry will be presented.
Nicholas Stello is the SVP of IT Infrastructure for New-York based Vornado Realty Trust. His responsibilities include leading the company's IT initiatives as they relate to in-building cellular, networking, cyber security and smart building connectivity. Vornado’s unique assets have enabled Mr. Stello to both differentiate and increase the value of its properties by structuring innovative agreements with national cellular carriers and other related technology providers.
Luke Lucas manages the Build Your Own Coverage (BYOC) program for T-Mobile USA. His focus is on enterprise and in-building coverage, furthering the role of wireless in buildings as a 5th utility-like service. In his role, Luke is involved with smart building and smart city technologies, 5G wireless and the relationship between enterprises installing infrastructure and the connection to T-Mobile signal source and backhaul.
Richard J. (“Dick”) Sherwin has been involved in wireless communications and radio frequency transmission for the past 30 years. Together with a number of telecommunications veterans, he founded and funded Spot On Networks, LLC, a provider of wireless telecommunications for the Multifamily Residential and Multitenant commercial building industry. Previously, he was CEO of Metromedia International Telecommunications Inc. and as a member of the Board of Directors of Metromedia International Group, Inc. since its inception. He was instrumental in establishing approximately 47 wireless and wired telecommunications ventures in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union Republics in wireless telecommunications including cellular telephony, cable television and radio paging.
Alan Ni is the Director of Smart Spaces and IoT for Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, with over 15 years of technology and financial expertise with mobile computing. Alan’s team is responsible for developing Aruba’s Smart Spaces and digital workplace strategy.
Jeff Hipchen is EVP of RF Connect where he oversees marketing, sales and services. He also serves as President of the Safer Buildings Coalition, an industry group focused on indoor public-safety communications. Prior to RF Connect, Jeff founded Digital Data Solutions, Inc., a Midwest Voice and Data Network solutions provider. Jeff has previously been an advisor to several start-up companies, assisting them with the development of their business plans, funding and sales execution.
John Dulin is a 30-year global telecom and enterprise executive and has held senior positions in product management, marketing and sales in the areas of fiber optics, wireless and new technology development. Currently with Corning, John is focused on introducing its fiber optic and wireless innovations to the commercial real estate market.