Advances in technologies like artificial intelligence, big data and analytics have the potential to transform the real estate industry. Real estate companies who are using these technologies in their strategies are achieving greater efficiencies and identifying and mitigating risks. I caught up with Lauretta.io Founder, Galvin Widjaja, one of Singapore’s brightest PropTech companies to find out more...
ND: In BWT tradition, please start by giving me the Lauretta.io elevator pitch.
GW: Lauretta.io is the autonomous property management platform for retail and commercial property. We provide an engine that converts every action in the property into actionable data. Using the existing CCTV cameras and WIFI with a proprietary deep learning stack, we monitor mall utilization, shopper intentions and demographics. This powers a real-time dispatch engine that allows for maximization of facility management staff, leasing analytics and retail analytics. The average mall using our system runs on 30% less ground crew and we are targeting up to 10% greater rental per square foot.
ND: How is facilities management drastically changing as technology comes to the fore? Can you give me some examples?
GW: Like with everything in property technology, the core of the change comes from a change in mindset driven by a renewed trust of data. In the past, facilities management was a combination of two extremes. Fully scheduled maintenance activities such as cleaning and security patrols, as well as fully unplanned, reactive activities such as repairs.
Adopting many philosophies of aerospace engineering, today intelligent IOT sensors and video analytics have changed this by providing real-time actionable data on what is happening across the building.
This is creating an effect very similar to when BIM became widely adopted by construction, where from a lack of data, now we have a tidal wave of data that property organizations are not structured to use. Examples of this are things like toilet analytics suites made of over a dozen different sensors and WiFi based people analytics. From a single survey a week, now WiFi, provides 500,000 lines a day. This allows for predictive and ad-hoc activity to replace planned activities. Not only is there immediate impact, but it opens the gates towards continual improvement.
ND: How can facility managers leverage AI technologies?
GW: This data driven approach provides both potential and pitfall. How do you handle so much data and can you trust it? Why would you replace a human with a machine when a human is doing well. AI is the system to handle the data. Just like how to can identify constellations in the sky rather than individual stars, the ability for AI to handle pattern recognition at scale allows us and managers to not think about the data, but more so about the business outcomes. Over time, AI turns a data driven approach, to a knowledge driven approach. Rather than building complex rule sets around the numerous IOT devices, AI can effortlessly identify the pattern of data that translates into timing and action. More excitingly, this allows the building to codify into itself, its own best practises.
Predictive maintenance and on-demand dispatch driven by AI means that older buildings learn how to keep themselves up and running and flattens the constantly rising costs of maintenance.
ND: What are the biggest challenges in the implementation of these AI technologies?
GW: The biggest challenge in implementing data is in implementing the network of trust. Do you trust a computer to help you do a job you have been doing for 20 years. AI is a fledgling technology in property tech and still needs time to grow. Today’s solutions are at risk of eroding the limited trust the property managers have in AI.
ND: How was Lauretta.io founded?
GW: Lauretta.io was founded at first as a way for me to manage my restaurant’s manpower. As a part-time owner, I didn’t have the time to be at the store all the time and relied on my store manager to tell me what was going on. In 2013, that manager was incarcerated for dishonest behaviour and I realised that I had no source of truth. Lauretta.io was built to create the database of truth that allows me to have honest conversations with my team about what is going on in the store. We then scaled in to the entire building and discovered many more opportunities were found there.
ND: What's been your funding model so far, and are you currently raising capital?
GW: With me and my co-founder’s strong credentials in AI and technology product delivery, we were able pick and choose projects that we wanted to do so as to build our knowledge of property. This included facility teams, security, major developers and even other propTech startups. With our new found knowledge, we were able to achieve a deep product market fit for a few key products. We are know raising our seed round to fund the development of their products and transit into a full product company
ND: What's the next big step in terms of growth?
GW: On top of our seed round and many projects in Singapore, we have started two iconic projects in the heart of Jakarta and KL that will set up the seeds for our regional expansion.
Lauretta.io was a Featured Technology of BWT Asia 2019.
Interview conducted by Neall de Beer, Director, Built World Technology Alliance