To imagine how real estate will look, feel and function in the future, CapitaLand starts by imagining how people of that time will live, work and play. It believes in spaces that are inspired by its inhabitants—spaces that anticipate and actualise people’s needs.
In sharing CapitaLand’s vision for real estate of the future, Mr Lim Ming Yan, President & Group CEO of CapitaLand Limited, said that the group “will be using digital technology to decode the art of human needs and wants, so that we can create smart buildings for smart customers”.
In 2015, the Group started to shape its vision of ‘smart buildings for smart customers’ through its #BuildSG2065 initiative, where it crowd-sourced over 2,000 ideas from members of the public to paint a picture of Singapore’s built environment in 50 years’ time. Regardless of whether communal farms in the sky, floating gyms and underwater malls will eventually become reality, the campaign has given CapitaLand valuable insights into people’s aspirations for their Singapore of the future.
From inspiration to implementation
Journeying into the future, however, will require some help from technology. CapitaLand’s technology drive— is one that Mr Lim believes will help the Group “sharpen [its] customer-centric focus to develop real estate of the future – integrated and interconnected smart communities through smart buildings as well as seamless online and offline customer experiences.”
This technology drive is being led by Chief Corporate Development Officer Ng Kok Siong. His mandate is to make technology work harder for the business, and for customers.
“Technology is an enabler to our business of providing real estate products and services to our customers. We rely on the ingenuity and teamwork of our colleagues to apply technology in innovative, integrated and impactful ways to meet our customers' needs. It’s important that we nurture a culture of innovation so that leveraging on technology becomes a natural part of what we do." said Mr Ng.
This cultural change is slowly but surely gaining ground within the Group, thanks to a combination of top-down and bottom-up initiatives that Mr Ng’s team is leading. Guided by a Digital Innovation Framework, which aims to explore new possibilities, equip staff with the right capabilities and execute ideas through pilots, projects and partnerships, the team spearheads numerous initiatives. This includes fireside chats where CapitaLand staff get to hear directly from leading industry experts on the latest market trends and developments.
An experiential introduction
To generate buzz and awareness of how technology can be leveraged throughout CapitaLand’s various business sectors, a Digital Festival was held for the first time on 27 November 2015. The carnival-esque event saw technology partners and business units setting up booths to showcase some of their latest innovations and pilots to an eager internal audience.
“The Digital Festival is a good opportunity for our colleagues to see, feel and touch some of the technologies that we’ve been talking about. The experience helps them better understand how innovation can be part of their daily work. Since this is the first time we’re organising such an event, the team was quite nervous about the response. But looking at the crowd today, I think we can look forward to this becoming an annual affair,” said Head of Corporate Development Wong Hwee Lim on the sidelines of the event.
True to its name, Digital Festival was a fun and engaging showcase of technology and innovation across all of CapitaLand’s major businesses. Here are a handful of highlights:
For office tenants
The Digital Online Tenancy System (DOTS) is a paperless on-boarding experience for CapitaLand’s office tenants that replaces physical checklists and handover forms with electronic convenience. Tenants are now brought on a walk-through of their new premises with DOTS loaded onto a tablet PC, allowing staff to quickly and accurately record feedback and hand over the premises on the spot. Tenants will receive the digitally-signed handover form and a copy of the feedback instantly via email. Any further follow-up required will be conducted via this same platform. Since its implementation in April 2015, DOTS has gathered much praise from tenants with some giving it the “thumbs up” and others calling it “fuss free”.
Enhancing the customer experience was also a key motivation behind the Home Buyers e-Management System. Currently being piloted at Sky Habitat, the system is an electronic platform for residents to report home defects. With this, residents no longer need to fill, scan and submit paper-based forms. The system allows them to conveniently enter defect details, capture photos and make annotations all in one place. This efficiency extends to staff as well, as records are now clearer and more accurate.
For serviced residence guests
For the Digital Festival, Ascott transformed an unassuming meeting room into a smart serviced residence powered by Internet of Things technology. Through a partnership with Samsung Asia, Ascott, the world's largest international serviced residence owner-operator is leveraging Internet of Things technology to create an ultra-connected, smart living experience for guests. Through this smart home demo, Ascott demonstrated what it’s like to live in an apartment that wakes up with you—by pulling data from a sleep sensor under your bed. The moment you open your eyes, curtains glide open, the TV comes on and your kettle starts boiling water for your morning cuppa. Step out of the apartment and the robot vacuum cleaner gets to work, ready to dock the moment you return. The technology is currently being test-bedded and is expected to undergo a robust pilot programme before Ascott implements it across its properties.
Also showcased was the Park & Go solution, which will be implemented in selected new CapitaLand malls in China and projects undergoing car park upgrading works. After a day of shopping, customers can use an app or a conveniently located kiosk to locate their vehicle in the massive carpark. Along the way, they can use the integrated mobile payment solution to settle their parking charges electronically before breezing out of the carpark. The solution also equips exit gantries with anti-tailgating capabilities to alert personnel to non-payment attempts.
These and many, many more innovations presented at Digital Festival and the staff’s enthusiastic response prove that CapitaLand is on the right path and moving steadily into the future. As Mr Lim said in his opening remarks: “Let’s define real estate of the future and let’s do it together.”