Shopping Centers Today International

NOV 2015

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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funding from Simon Venture Group and Plug & Play Ventures, rent-free office space for a year at a Simon prop- erty and other benefits. Several real estate startups are on a fast track to commercialization at MetaProp NYC, a New York City– based startup-accelerator firm. Each year MetaProp NYC selects eight startup companies for participation in a 16- week program to help spur their growth. MetaProp NYC cofounder and adviser Zack Aarons describes the companies he looks for as "basement tech" providers, because their offerings generally support functions carried out by commercial property managers and others working behind the scenes. "I view basement tech [as] encapsulating a few different subcategories," Aarons said. "One of those is just creating a better way for facilities managers who operate in the basement to communicate with asset and portfolio managers who work in an office above the basement." LogCheck is one such startup. This New York City–based firm's tablet- based system helps track the equip- ment-maintenance information that building engineers collect when making their rounds at a property; the system makes this information available for a specific property or across an entire portfolio. "Now there are massive amounts of transparency and data that go up and down from the basement," Aarons said. Washington, D.C.–based Aquicore provides technology that reads and analyzes data from utility me- ters and other devices, and the system even invoices tenants automatically. Tampa, Fla.–based Ravti furnishes software to track HVAC performance and help spot weaknesses before a breakdown; the firm also assists land- lords in sourcing replacement parts. "We're in the first inning of this stuff," said Aarons in assessing the current s t a t e o f a l l t h i s b a s e m e n t - t e c h innovation. "What I'd like to see as a landlord now is one 'dashboard' that integrates all these platforms." Some commercial real estate ser- vice providers are developing their own tech tools, either to bridge gaps between their existing platforms or to address specific needs as those arise. JLL's Blackbird, for one, is a 3-D tool the firm developed for clients, which can zoom in from a bird's-eye market view to sighting specific properties — calling up floor plans, tax incentives, demographics and similar data. Keeping Blackbird flying requires dozens of profes- sionals, some of them working ex- clusively on the program, according to Michael Startin, a JLL vice presi- dent who directs the company's GIS (geographic information systems) platform. "The basement tech that's going on to create one of these proj- ects is massive," Startin said. "We have many people in our IT group that are behind the scenes on our team that allow these projects like JLL Blackbird to thrive because of the work they put in, that the client doesn't necessarily see." Information technology has greatly 48 S C T / N o v e m b e r 2 0 1 5 Information technology has greatly improved transparancy and information-sharing in the real estate industry. S e n S i t y S y S t e m S ' L e D L i g h t f i x t u r e S , L t h e S e a t B r e a ( C a L i f . ) m a L L , C o n t a i n C a m e r a S a n D D a t a - g a t h e r i n g S e n S o r S t h a t C a n m o n i t o r C a r S a n D m a i n t e n a n C e o f t h e g r o u n D S .

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