Guests: Oscar Brooks, Director at Moda Living and Jonathan Burridge, CEO of Utopi

Having a better grasp of data in residential offers a multitude of benefits to customers, operators and investors. Moda Living and Utopi sat down to discuss the benefits they have already reaped from their own partnership. They joined Blackstock’s founder Andrew Teacher for a RESIcast on this topic in the lead up to the Property Week RESI Conference 2020

Making better use of data will play a pivotal role in building strong residential brands in the future, a panel of experts told Property Week on the latest RESIcast.

Oscar Brooks, director at Moda Living outlines how harnessing data has been a crucial part in their aim to become the UK brand leader for customer service.

With the help of Utopi, Moda is already using data to inform decision making across all levels, from design through to maintenance.

“We want Moda to be the first proptech build-to-rent. What I mean by that is that data guides everything we’re doing at the moment. From a design perspective, we can talk about the nuts and bolts, how the areas are used, what type of environments are going to be created in the common areas and which sort of areas people are spending more time dwelling in,” Brooks says.

However, at first we found it difficult to find a partner that could provide a one-stop solution. 

“When we embarked on the build of Angel Gardens, we spent about two years researching the market and speaking to a lot of engineers. Whilst you’ve got all the different systems in place, we thought surely there’s got to be one place where we can look at exactly how our building is performing and how all the systems are performing. That product wasn’t simply there at the time,” says Brooks.

But since partnering up with Utopi, a smart building technology integrator and managerial service provider a year ago, things have been ‘progressing at a rate of knots’, especially with teams which may not be natural fits to use tech, says Brooks.

“One of the good things about the partnership so far is that for teams of people who might not necessarily be that tech-focused, there are so many solutions out there which previously had been bypassed or shelved because people don’t always understand it. The Utopi team have certainly helped us to see the wide ranging benefits of the technology available.”

Utopi’s Jonathan Burridge describes what the company does as pulling ‘all the data out of the systems to create one version of the truth, which allows users to make the building smart, effectively’.

Utopi then gives that information to their clients through a single dashboard, essentially offering management information which can help make the building operate more efficiently. 

However, some may have concerns that taking data from residential buildings and using it to inform decisions may raise data privacy issues. Burridge says that this is not the case.

“We’ve deliberately designed our service architecture to be GDPR compliant. So all the data that we operate with is anonymised. It’s specific to a site and asset, but it’s not specific to an individual. So everything that we’re doing with Moda, and any other client, sit in that anonymised data pool. We are aggregating significant amounts of data.”

Ultimately, understanding data produced by residential assets is part of a greater drive towards operators like us to embrace technology in order to engage with the digital-savvy resident.

Visit Property Week for the full article.

Participants

Oscar Brooks

Director

Moda Living

Jonathan Burridge

CEO

Utopi

Andrew Teacher

Managing Director

Blackstock Consulting