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Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL), a major global comprehensive real estate services company, has operations at over 300 corporate offices in 80 countries. In addition to the conventional buying & selling and management of real estate, JLL also provides support for corporate value enhancement, analyzing the “work styles” and “workplace conditions” of companies that seek to improve the productivity of their workforce. In light of these activities, JLL took notice of Hitachi's IoT technology. Using the Hitachi Singapore office as its test subject, JLL carried out a verification test by using AI to analyze the motions of people, conference room usage, and other such factors after converting such information to data. This article discusses a new future for the relationship between people and the workplace that has been brought into view by collaborative creation between Hitachi and JLL.
Since its founding in the 18th century, JLL has recorded over 200 years of history while providing expert comprehensive real estate services for maximizing real estate value. “Work style reform,” an initiative taken up in Japan under government leadership, represents a social issue shared worldwide. International data reveals a correlation between the shortness of per capita working hours and productivity: it is reported that a 10% decrease in per capita working hours results in a 25% increase in hourly labor productivity.（*1）
*１：Annual Report on the Japanese Economy and Public Finance 2017, Cabinet Office, Japanese Government
Just as improving the efficiency of factory work leads to improved productivity, work style reform achieved through effective office use also leads not only to productivity enhancements, but also to corporate value. JLL has a long history of providing recommendations on office use to companies in different countries having different types of businesses, operational scales, and cultures. The foundation for this is JLL's extensive experience and its detailed analysis of office workplace data.
According to Iain Mackenzie, international director at JLL, "To improve the efficiency of labor environments, we combine and analyze multiple types of data. These include conference room reservations, utilization of office desk, the movements of people, and the observation of human relations. In the past, we dispatched investigators to corporate offices where they tackled the work- and time-intensive task of examining the usages of facilities and the motions of people."
JLL is a global service provider. While managing a real estate portfolio consisting of 409 million square meters, JLL is also expanding its operations in Asia.
JLL's belief that the future of the real estate business will depend on data collection using IoT and data analysis using AI was behind its selection of Hitachi as a business partner. Both have been involved in a number of cooperative efforts in office management and operation throughout the world. Reflecting upon this, Mackenzie says that this history made it "only natural" to select Hitachi as a guide for taking on challenges in unknown specialized areas. "We wanted to enhance our capability to provide real estate business solutions. Hitachi possessed the technologies for this. This was no gamble, either. We were confident that working with Hitachi would produce ideas for the next step. In fact, ever since the start of our joint undertaking, I have been quite impressed with the dynamism."
Collaborative creation between JLL and Hitachi began with a verification test that used the office space inside the Hitachi Asian headquarters building in Singapore. In this test, conventional investigators were replaced by a suite of mini-sensors for the real-time collection of data on conference room and desk usage. Employees also put on wearable accelerometers(*2) to allow the collection of individual behavior patterns.
As Mackenzie says, "Companies pay a considerable amount for office space. But the reality is that many companies do not effectively make use of such space. The ability to quickly gather detailed data on how offices are used will also let us come up with creative real estate solutions for achieving highly productive workplaces."
The objective of the verification test was to employ AI in the analysis of the massive amounts of collected data and then to connect this to office use solutions. Southeast Asia, a region of remarkable economic growth, is also seeing a rise in urban development. By delivering knowledge that will serve in enhancing JLL services, Hitachi Asia and Hitachi's digital technologies promise to contribute to social innovation for the region.
Lumada, Hitachi's IoT platform, was a crucial ingredient in the collaborative creation between JLL and Hitachi. Combining Hitachi's highly refined OT (Operational Technology) for running the workplace and Hitachi's industry-leading, state-of-the-art IT, Lumada delivers a one-stop digital solution.
Iain Mackenzie: "Collaborative creation with Hitachi was an opportunity to encounter great thinking and discover great ideas."
Says Mackenzie, "The global real estate industry missed the technology wave. But during collaborative creation with Hitachi, our mutual ideas meshed so well, devising new projects became a reality. Now that we have worked with AI utilization, next we have a strong interest in the application of Hitachi's signature robot technology. I expect that our collaborative creation will go on to change real estate services in innovative ways."
"Game changer" refers to something that produces an impact capable of bringing about innovation in a certain field. Mackenzie makes the case that "game changer" perfectly expresses the collaborative creation between JLL and Hitachi, and that this collaboration will bring about substantial changes to the real estate market.
Concludes Mackenzie, "JLL and Hitachi are at the forefront of a revolution in the real estate business that will be propelled by data utilization. In the near future, this phenomenon is certain to find its way to our clients in the form of new services."
Release Date: December 2017
Solutions By: Hitachi, Ltd. Urban Solutions Business Unit