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3D Scans Bring Us One Step Closer To Digital Buildings

Trimble recently launched its MX9 Mobile Mapping System, a vehicle-mounted lidar solution with multi-camera imaging and field software for data capture by surveyor staff. The MX9 offers the opportunity for mobile capture of high volume mapping data for road surveys, 3D modelling, asset management and topographic mapping. Of interest here is its capabilities to create 3D models of buildings post-construction. This innovative product joins a nascent market offering digital reconstructions of the built environment as a value driver for real estate management. NavVis, a Munich-headquartered firm founded in 2013, offers a similar product, the M3 Trolley, enabling firms to build the underlying models from which occupants can look up detailed building information and to power navigation solutions.

With vendors releasing numerous new hardware and software to the real estate sector, 3D modelling through vehicle-mounted data capture offers a unique and valuable opportunity to open up the same possibilities for old buildings (in particular better space management) as those that exist for new high end buildings built from a BIM model.

In Trimble’s ecosystem, for example, its Basis module displays real-time, accurate space utilization metrics and floor plans combining data such as plans from CAD and BIM models, sensors, employee swipe badges, communication networks and IT systems. The MX9 and similar tools offer customers running older buildings, or where they change often and no accurate plans currently exist, with new options to adopt the latest space management technology.

Other movers in this market include global energy and facilities firm ENGIE who is partnering with NavVis to augment their services with regular digital data capture, indoor mapping services and an inventory of building assets, enabling building operators to create and assign maintenance tickets with high-resolution imagery and exact locations for each task.

With innovation comes gains, but also losses. Customers will enjoy speedier data collection, raising the market standard all vendors aim for. But FM firms’ P&Ls will suffer from shrinking value pools. Why is this? Key data capture on space, energy and financial metrics will become faster via digital tools, and customers will increasingly gain a clearer view of what they need from any menu of FM services and how long each task should take to deliver. This will squeeze the value pool of traditional FM services who will be under pressure to take up these technologies or face a gradual and painful squeeze.

For more insight on how technologies are reshaping the delivery of FM services see our recent report Verdantix Cushman & Wakefield Partnerships Push Industry Further Towards Customer-Centric Digital Offerings.