Digital Transformation in Commercial Real Estate A Case Study on Creating Digital Twins of Existing Buildings

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Examensarbete för masterexamen
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2021
Författare
ENGVALL, REBECCA
LARSSON, ANNA
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Smart cities use information and communication technologies in response to urban challenges to ensure sustainable development. Such cities are networks of digital in frastructures which comprise multiple integrated and interactive components, where smart buildings are real estate components that adapt their operations in response to gathered data. Real estate has ample opportunities to contribute to smart cities by digitalizing their portfolios, however, the effort for existing buildings with lim ited digital infrastructure is unclear. This thesis aim was to research how existing buildings can be transformed into smart buildings using digital twins by studying a case where a commercial real estate portfolio is digitalized. To realize the aim, ten qualitative interviews were held and provided material was analyzed. The results suggest that digital twins in real estate can be described as a digi tal ecosystem where data flows from existing facility systems to a data cloud that enables applications to access the data. This is an industrial approach where in teroperability is solved using ontologies and real estate owners utilize its existing platforms rather than purchasing a packaged product that hampers interoperability further. Previous research identified the benefits of digital twins in operations and maintenance. However, real estate is undergoing a transformation from asset to service provision where emerging business models entail service packages of flexible nature. In those business models, data can play a significant role in analyzing how spaces are used, best utilized, and easily accessed. The modeling to support this does not require high fidelity and existing basis can be sufficient. The models are in stead refined to higher fidelity levels as changes occur in facilities’ life cycle and thus enable object-oriented benefits. Life cycle management, i.e., keeping information updated, is argued as the primary challenge. However, it appeared that it would be sufficient incentives for life cycle management if the business model is dependent on it. To succeed, strict guidelines are required in project commissioning and day-to day information management. User provisioning is identified as an essential tool for operative real estate personnel to easily add or alter information.
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commercial real estate, digital transformation, digital twins, existing buildings, smart buildings
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