COVID-19 has been disrupting the world of real estate, land use and construction, yet the biggest changes may be coming as the property sector gets to know its digital twin.
Digital twinning is one of the tools at the front end of a technology revolution in property technology, or proptech, that has been picking up speed since the first lockdowns in March.
“It’s the virtual representation, on a screen, of the static and active assets in a building,” says Terry Olynyk, managing director of Multiplex Construction Canada Ltd. and a member of the management committee at the Toronto chapter of the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
With worldwide consulting firm PwC, the ULI, an international network of property and land use experts, has released a new Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2021 report. This report identifies proptech, including digital twinning, “at the top of the list of real estate disruptors” in the sector in Canada.
“After years of talking about how the real estate industry was on the cusp of proptech adoption, digitization has truly accelerated during the pandemic,” the report says.
“From tools to monitor buildings remotely to project management software that streamlines operations on a single platform, interviewees [in the property sector] have told us how the pandemic has sped up their search for efficiencies through proptech,” it adds.
“Digital twinning and other proptech tools allow owners and operators to not only understand everything that’s going on in that building, but also to optimize performance,” Mr. Olynyk says.
“It’s really a way of constructing a building in a digital world,” says Noah Dolgoy, chief executive officer of Tread Inc., a four-year-old Toronto-based company that puts together digital platforms for developers to manage job sites and building material deliveries.
“The technology helps people on a site manage the logistics of moving aggregate, soil, rock, asphalt, concrete,” he says. “We create a virtual fleet, so everyone knows where all the materials are and when they’ll arrive.”
This proptech can also enable real trucks to move 25 per cent more material with the same fleet, Mr. Dolgoy says.