The development and use of data-driven applications need high-quality data. Still, the proper IT infrastructure is necessary to integrate and access the data to use the data. Without this, it is impossible to efficiently develop data-driven applications with all needed integrations to surrounding systems and data sources. Therefore, your organization must be enabling data integration for commercial real estate.

Strategies for data integration commercial real estate

There are a few strategies to get your IT infrastructure up and running to utilize data integration for commercial real estate. All of them, of course, come with their pros and cons.

What strategy you choose depends on the level of infrastructure control you’d like to have, how important it is that you own your solution, and what skills you have in your organization to develop and maintain the infrastructure once it is ready to be deployed.

The most common strategies to enable integration capabilities in the real estate industry are listed below. We will be covering them briefly. If you want to read about these in more detail, we recommend you download our guide to outline how to enable data integration for commercial real estate.

  • DIY – Do it yourself
  • Buy from consultants
  • Build applications on top of the Building Management Systems (BMS)
  • Use the Building Information Management (BIM) solutions
  • Buy an industry-specific integration platform based on industry standards – a Building Operating System (BOS)

Enable data integration for commercial real estate yourself

If you have the skills and resources in your organization, you can develop the data-driven application yourself. To succeed, you must have the capabilities to integrate and access data. This approach to enabling data integration for commercial real estate purposes can be tough to crack.

Pros of enabling data integration for commercial real estate yourself

You own and have complete control over the development. When the system is your own, you are more independent. That can be good from a safety perspective, and you do not have to rely on third parties.
The main drawback of doing the job yourself
You need to have all the necessary skills in-house. That can cause stress on your recruitment division. Also, you will be heavily dependent on the employees who built the initial setup. If you decide to go down this route, have apparent documentation.

Hire consultants to do the job

If you don’t have the necessary skills and resources in-house, you can still develop your data-driven applications. Your organization can use contractors to enable data integration for commercial real estate on your behalf to do so. To do this, you need to know all your specifications at a very detailed level before starting, or you risk it becoming much more expensive than you initially thought.
Main benefit: You own the applications, and others cannot reuse them in your industry.
Main drawback: You are dependent on the consultants that built the applications.

Build applications on top of the Building Management Systems (BMS)

Even though the primary function of the BMS is to run basic functionality in a building, rather than being an essential system in digitization, it can work as a platform for your applications.

The main benefit of data integration for commercial real estate with BMS

You own the applications, which can be a significant benefit. Since it is yours, nobody else can be reusing it. Hence, your competitors cannot benefit from your technology.

The main drawback of choosing a BMS

It is expensive to integrate business and BIM data into the BMS system. You’ll have to squeeze the new business applications into a system built for another cause. That can lead to the project becoming very costly and complicated.

Use the Building Information Management (BIM) solutions

We wouldn’t recommend this strategy, but BIM solutions can be used to build data-driven applications in the real estate sector. Since several systems exist for using the BIM result for daily operations, it rarely includes any data information from the building.
Drawbacks of data integration for commercial real estate with BIM
The numerous ways and file formats available to create a BIM model require significant work before they can be repurposed for data capturing. The workload can be costly, both in terms of money and time.

Now, let us turn our attention to the solution ProptechOS would recommend if you are looking for a way to enable data integration for commercial real estate.

Use a Building Operating System to enable data integration

Our recommendation is this; Invest in a Building Operating System, BOS, to enable data integration for commercial real estate in your business organization. It’s the best alternative since most BOS standards function as an open standard ontology. Many of them are made for the real estate industry’s needs.

BOS platforms can also include standard connections with regular data sources. For example, BMS solutions can be set up with various IoT devices and many different external data sources.

One of the most used standard ontologies is RealEstateCore which Microsoft has adopted. It is a standard ontology in the Azure Digital Twins platform. RealEstateCore works together with several other prominent standards such as:

  • Brick Schema
  • Building Topology Ontology
  • Haystack Project
  • And many more

RealEstateCore can be used to describe the interaction of data within a building. The ontology may keep track of the building’s management, storage, and data sharing.