Underexplored space – The journey to digital real estate (part 2)

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This is part 2 of a 2-part series on the digitalization of real estate. Read part 1.

In buildings, the cost-efficient documentation of floor spaces with digital indoor technology creates both a “point cloud” by scanning the building with laser technology, and 360-degree pictures by capturing the building with digital high-definition photo cameras. This raw data forms the basis for various areas of further use and processing of the collected data. Below we describe a few of the many possibilities for using the collected data on the journey to digital real estate.

Creating / updating of maps

By further processing the scan data, the relevant map formats for CAFM systems can be created, thus showing the full potential of CAFM systems and the existing possibilities as to evaluation, enrichment of data with additional information or planning of logistics processes. These maps will then be permanently updated and maintained in the respective systems. Maps can also be updated and complemented by new scans as appropriate. Thus, valid maps will be available for well-founded decisions.

Documentation of construction / construction progress / maintenance

The low cost and quick scanning of buildings allow the documentation of the progress of construction and the creation of the basis for future technical management of the building. The different layers of the technical construction, as well as the infrastructure technology and supply systems in a completed wall, can be documented layer by layer and stored for future projects. The respective layer can be visualized, depending on the specific information needed. There are technologies that can be used to analyze deltas in technical recordings at different points in time during construction, for inspection purposes, to support acceptance of construction work and to document defects electronically. The collected data can be used as an input for BIM models.

Indoor viewer 3D worlds / indoor navigation

In addition to the laser scans and the point cloud, which are the basis for the subsequent creation of maps, the recordings of the photo cameras will also be further processed. These recordings will be compiled to provide a 360-degree view of the environment, creating a virtual tour of the recorded object. The 360-degree view may then be enriched with points of interest using freely selectable content such as texts, links to ERP and CAFM systems, emergency routines, maintenance information, acceptance documents, voice files, etc. But the 360-degree view can also be used for navigating the user through the building to a destination “behind the entrance.”

The future: Navigation apps

An Indoor Viewer can be used for virtual tours or navigation within buildings, and for finding offices or points of interest. This is done either on a desktop or on mobile tablets or smartphones. Navigation apps enhance the indoor navigation by new dimensions. They use the localization features of the mobile device to localize an individual within the scanned building, similar to outdoor navigation systems. Apps navigate the user through a building, analogous to the navigation system of a car that takes the driver directly to the desired destination. Localization can also be used while moving through the building, but especially to initially identify a location within the building. This provides various possibilities for using the feature — for example, to show the quickest escape route or to clearly identify several equal locations or similar furnishings requiring maintenance or repair.

The circle is closing.  Good and reliable maps and cartographic materials are still a decisive competitive advantage, especially today, as the development, utilization and manageability of the unknown territory, the yet non-digitalized real estate, continues to gain importance. The use of state-of-the-art techniques to free white spots from uncertainty or, what’s worse, false certainty, and make digitalization a decisive competitive advantage in real estate management. The journey leads to completely digitalized real estate and the digital twin of a building, forming the basis for all processes in state-of-the-art and up-to-date real estate management.


Bernhard Albert is a business architect and project manager in DXC’s Consulting Real Estate Management practice. He has many years of national and international experience in real estate management processes ranging from implementing and migrating ERP systems to integrating CAFM systems, relocation, designing facility management processes for the management of project houses, and implementing and moving customers into new work environments. His customers include banks, asset management and insurance companies, and the public sector.

RELATED LINKS

Underexplored space – The journey to digital real estate (part 1)

The digitalization of real estate management

Accelerating digital transformation: Overcoming the illusion of expertise

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