Acquisitions, partnerships and investments are playing an increasingly important role in implementing strategic goals for major stakeholders in the built environment, particularly in providing access to the range of innovative technologies being developed in the smart buildings space.
We have seen a wave of investment by real estate services firms into technology solutions in 2021 with M&A continuing into the first half of 2022. The major firms, as outlined below, have undertaken deals and partnerships to exploit digital transformation in their property portfolios.
Cushman & Wakefield
- C&W entered a strategic partnership and investment in Pupil, a spatial data company to improve the speed and accuracy of digital measurements and produce digital floor plans and digital twins of properties.
- C&W participated in a Series A funding round of Upflex, a US provider of a suite of SaaS solutions for the hybrid workplace in May 2022.
- JLL Spark participated in a June 2022 Series A funding round of ecoworks, a German provider of climate-neutral prefabrication, digital processes, and efficient energy systems to retrofit multi-family houses.
- In January 2022, continuing its strategy of investments in 2021 (BuildingEngines, HqO, GoSpace AI), JLL Technologies acquired Sacramento-based Hank, a virtual engineering platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that autonomously optimizes the management systems of commercial buildings to deliver increased comfort, air quality and energy savings.
- CBRE announced in Jan 2022 that it had acquired Buildingi, a leading provider of occupancy planning and technology services, to meet growing occupier demand for holistic occupancy management services. Buildingi will fully integrate with CBRE’s Occupancy Management team and initially transition to “Buildingi from CBRE.” Founded in 1994 and based in Seattle, Buildingi provides real estate-focused software including an integrated workplace management system (IWMS) and computer-aided design (CAD) services. With the acquisition, CBRE will also acquire the Buildingi’s service center in Costa Rica, enabling the company to provide 24/7 occupancy planning services and support.
- Grosvenor Hill Ventures, the UK proptech investment subsidiary of Savills, a global real estate services provider listed on the London Stock Exchange, acquired UK tenant and workplace experience platform Cureoscity in February 2022. Founded in 2018, Cureoscity provides a digital platform which connects and enhances smart building capabilities with modules that improve occupier experience and engagement. Leading real estate investors, developers and advisors who have implemented services provided by Cureoscity include CC Land, Stanhope, Mitsui Fudosan and Oxford Properties.
Cresa announced its Smart Buildings Solutions program to establish strategic partnerships with national and global firms within the smart building technology sector.
- Partnership with wtec, the German developer of a smart lighting platform in March 2022. Wtec’s smartengine platform comprises network-powered, low voltage smart building technology that delivers real-time IP data from its fine-mesh sensor network while powering and controlling LED fixtures with best-in-class energy efficiency and achieving savings up to 75%.
- Cresa has selected Prescriptive Data as its partner for workplace operations and sustainability solutions. Utilizing Prescriptive Data’s Nantum OS tool will enable Cresa advisors to assist clients in multiple ways, including measuring space utilization across office portfolios; measuring and reporting energy and carbon footprints to local reporting bodies; tracking and mitigating against water, leaks, and floods; and utilizing AI/ML to automate workplaces to reduce energy use, utility costs, and carbon emissions.
- Cresa announced the addition of Igor, Inc. to their Smart Buildings Solutions platform. Igor offers its Nexos IoT platform, an end-to-end IoT platform that connects office devices and sensors through a digital ceiling. The platform enables users to concurrently manage a multitude of different systems, sensors and equipment across a building or workspace, including lighting, access control, heating and cooling systems, occupancy sensors, audio-visual equipment and window shades.
- In January 2022, Cresa also acquired Agile Work Evolutions (AWE), a real estate technology company focused on workplace strategy and implementation.
With technology solutions addressing a diverse range of occupier issues from hybrid working, occupancy planning, tenant engagement, workplace experience, asset maintenance and energy cost reduction in building portfolios, real estate service firms are striving to update and refresh their offerings to keep pace with customer requirements.
This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson, Senior Research Associate at Memoori.