A recent press release has announced that Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions and Trimble are launching the first mixed-reality program for property and facilities management. But getting to the point of a program launch is not like shopping at a local market and picking some technology off the shelf. For technology innovators, be they the developers of new technology or the practitioners who put it into use, the journey takes careful planning and the development of a very trusting relationship.
It has been just about a year to the day, I had just returned from an amazing week in Sydney, Australia and I was deliriously on my way to IFMA Facility Fusion Canada. My week in Sydney included my first experience with ANZAC day, when the people of Australia and New Zealand remember their war heroes and all those who have served. A wonderful day all around that was, while my colleagues and I had another first brewing. We had brought the Microsoft Hololens to Australia along with two applications for demonstration and piloting. Both firsts of their kind.
Introducing new technologies is exciting, though we had further “firsts” in mind that would drive the impact of these technologies deep into the industry. We were kicking off an innovation lab, specifically for real estate, construction and facilities, to be a hub of experimentation and piloting of technologies that would advance the property and facilities management industry.
This was not my first trip down-under in 2016. Earlier in the year, my colleagues and I traveled to Melbourne and Sydney for some presentations, meetings and a collaborative discussion with Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions to explore how Trimble and Brookfield GIS could work together to take advantage of the Australian culture of innovation to advance the use of technology with their clients, improving operational efficiency and the overall experience for users of buildings and the workplace. Our collaboration became a catalyst for myself and my colleagues to know we had found the right partner to bring transforming innovation to the region with.
I am an admitted geek when it comes to technology for the built environment, and nothing gets me quite so excited in my work than when I find a kindred spirit. In the case of Brookfield though, it was not just one kindred spirit, but a whole room full!
Brookfield GIS had started their implementation and deployment of Manhattan IWMS in 2014, close to the time that Trimble acquired Manhattan Software. By early 2016, Brookfield GIS had successfully on-boarded dozens of their clients onto Manhattan IWMS. When we met early in 2016, we were introducing the Brookfield GIS team to a broad Trimble vision of an ecosystem of interoperable technologies for the built environment. And it was in these discussions that we realized the alignment and complementary nature of Trimble’s technology vision and the Brookfield GIS services vision. Over the first few months of 2016, we hatched a plan to kickoff the innovation lab and bring the Microsoft Hololens to Sydney as an inaugural innovation for experimentation. In our minds, it would be an amazing event, but little did we know just how truly epic it would be until it happened.
The inaugural event was a 1 day immersive experience into mixed reality via the Microsoft HoloLens and two Trimble applications. One that allows the user to view a holographic model of a new building or workplace design, the SketchUp Viewer for Hololens, and the second, Trimble Operations for Hololens, allowing the user to simply look around a room to see assets highlighted as clickable holograms to access and interact with asset and work order information. We took the Brookfield executive and leadership team of about 20 though personalized demonstrations each and followed up with an innovation workshop to devise a vision of how the technology transforms various workflows and adds value to the array of services Brookfield GIS offers their clients. We capped the day with a presentation that would flood the discussion with innovative possibilities for a combined audience of Brookfield GIS, joint customers and partners in the Australia region. Of course, we found it completely necessary to follow that with a reception to celebrate our collaboration and keep the conversation going late into the evening.
That experience was certainly not the end of what our collaboration set out to do. We left Sydney at that time with a very different relationship blossoming between Brookfield GIS and Trimble. No longer would we be simply a technology vendor and customer, but a collaboration, working together to best apply and improve technology and its use to raise the value and competitiveness of Brookfield GIS service offerings, while driving greater technology adoption to improve the facility end user satisfaction. This was the birth of a Building Digital Workplace Virtual Lab that would embrace the inevitable blending of the physical and digital workplace through a relationship that would blend the physical and digital products and services from two organizations.
Throughout 2016, our collaboration continued, as did the experimentation with the Hololens and our Trimble applications, all while the deployment of Manhattan IWMS as foundational technology continued to be now over 60 Brookfield GIS clients. Presently, as the holographic technology matures out of experimentation, we are formally announcing the pilots underway by Brookfield GIS; using Hololens and Trimble applications with their customers in live environments. I am extremely pleased to be part of such a great story that is transforming the way organizations use real estate and the workplace. And with this kind of relationship, with Trimble as a technology partner in the built environment, I am confident there are many more great stories to come.