Kylie Davis: (00:00)
Welcome to The PropTech Podcast. It’s Kylie Davis here, and I’m delighted to be your host, as we explore the brave new world where technology and real estate collide. I passionately believe we need to create and grow a sense of community between the innovators, and the real estate agents, and property owners and sharing our stories is a great way to do that.
Kylie Davis: (00:21)
The aim of each episode is to introduce listeners to a PropTech innovator who is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. And, to explore the issues and challenges raised by the tech and how they can create amazing property experiences. And, this week it’s one for the commercial property owners and managers with an interview with Wayne Herbert from AI Assets. A smart new PropTech with some very big credentials that solves a problem nearly every building owner currently has with its asset register.
Kylie Davis: (00:53)
Now, AI Assets is an AI driven property asset management platform that makes it quick and easy to identify, capture, and manage the thousands of features, systems, materials, and devices that make up the asset register of any commercial or industrial building. The company used to be known as Aston Industries, but recently it changed its name to AI as to reflect the capability of its new platform. Which is used with some landmark projects with major property owners, including Woolworths, CommBank, and even the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Kylie Davis: (01:28)
Wayne has more than 20 years experience working in property valuations and asset management consulting himself. So, he knows firsthand how laborious, time-consuming, and problematic the traditional methods of capturing assets for an asset register is, and how powerful getting access to an up-to-date asset data can be when budgeting and reporting. So, here to explain more, Wayne Herbert, welcome to The PropTech Podcast.
Wayne Herbert: (01:56)
Thank you very much. Thanks for having me.
Kylie Davis: (01:58)
It’s great to have you here. So look, I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into this, because smart buildings and smart cities are part of my passion. So, I really want to understand what is the AI Assets elevator pitch?
Wayne Herbert: (02:14)
It’s really about data efficiency, data capture, data quality, and really getting from data of spreadsheets and really into the modern world. And cloud-based, easily accessible, and easily updatable.
Kylie Davis: (02:29)
So, what we’re talking about, though, is around this idea of capturing the assets for a property and turning them into data, right?
Wayne Herbert: (02:38)
That’s right, yeah. The physical assets of a property, so your air conditioning, your clientele your equipment, your building fabrics and finishes.
Kylie Davis: (02:44)
Yeah, and so we hear a lot about how they’re all the things that make up a smart building these days, but in older buildings, I imagine, making them modern is quite a task.
Wayne Herbert: (02:59)
Yeah, very much so, very much so. It’s funny, I was actually speaking to a potential client this morning around the way they do things and they’ve got no data at all on their buildings. They work totally reactive, and yeah they just wait until something breaks to fix it. So, it really is an issue with a lot of old property portfolios.
Kylie Davis: (03:17)
Yeah, okay so let’s wind back a little bit. Let’s talk about asset management in commercial property, how has that been done traditionally?
Wayne Herbert: (03:26)
Yeah, so there’s one example, so that they’re a client… They physically just wait until something breaks to fix it, so purely reactive and that’s the way it’s done a lot of times. And, a lot of that is because getting the data is quite difficult, or it lives in an old spreadsheet. Those that do have it, it’s a spreadsheet that it could be five, 10 years old and that’s why they work off.
Kylie Davis: (03:52)
Yep, for a filing cabinet, I imagined. Like when you bought it and they gave you the manual. It’s like, put that under someone’s desk, keep it from wobbling.
Wayne Herbert: (03:57)
[crosstalk 00:03:57] manager’s mind, it’s like, “Oh, I’ve been here since the start, so I know where everything is.” And it’s like, “Yeah, but then you leave and nobody knows anything.” So, and that happens a lot in the industry.
Kylie Davis: (04:08)
Okay, so I guess what we’ve got here inside existing and older buildings is a whole lot of unstructured data, haven’t we? We’ve got a whole lot of assets that no one really knows about. And, what we’re looking to do is to turn them into a data stream so that they can be managed more effectively.
Wayne Herbert: (04:29)
Yeah, that’s exactly right, yeah. Trying to get that data up to date, basically, and-
Kylie Davis: (04:32)
Yeah, so trying to try to turn something analogue into something digital.
Wayne Herbert: (04:36)
Kylie Davis: (04:36)
Okay, awesome. So, problems are doing it the old way, really slow. No one knows what’s what.
Wayne Herbert: (04:43)
Yeah, time is a big thing. So, to capture the data is really cumbersome usually. Really, and then, like I say, if it’s in an Excel sheet, it’s out of date and stored in that Excel sheet for years. So, people can be working on five, 10 year old data. Budget blowouts not knowing exactly what they’re going to be able to predict moving forward, so that’s a big thing, is cost. So, they really probably the biggest issues. They’re doing it the old way.
Kylie Davis: (05:10)
Yeah, so if I’m a building owner, what that’s making me at risk of is what, I guess, unexpected big expenses coming up, because I just didn’t realise something was wearing out.
Wayne Herbert: (05:21)
Yeah, that’s exactly right. Yeah, definitely. I mean, I’ll give you another example of a project we did a number of years ago. It was for a hospital over at Orange, and they just appointed a new service provider, and it was a service provider, got us in to help them. They was provided an asset register through the tender process. They had a five-year contract to maintain the hospital, and we went in and did a full asset register for them. And, they had over $2 million in variations from assets that weren’t listed in there.
Kylie Davis: (05:51)
Wayne Herbert: (05:52)
Yeah, so of course I [inaudible 00:05:53] it. So, that’s the owner that is paying an extra $2 million per year, because they didn’t know that. So, there’s an example of the budget blowouts from not knowing what your assets are.
Kylie Davis: (06:02)
So, just explain that to me, though, what was $2 million? Was that, that the hospital had $2 million worth of assets that they didn’t know about or [crosstalk 00:06:11]-
Wayne Herbert: (06:11)
There was variations to maintain the unknown assets. So, during the process that the hospital provided from their existing systems, this is the asset register what we need maintaining. A contractor came in, I won’t say their name. Am I allowed to say names? I don’t know.
Kylie Davis: (06:26)
Don’t [crosstalk 00:06:27].
Wayne Herbert: (06:29)
One of the large FMs service providers in Australia and globally. So, they came in, won the tender and then they went to sites, and we did our due diligence of capturing the actual asset registered for them and found a lot more assets. So, obviously then their maintenance fees went up by $2 million to the owner, which-
Kylie Davis: (06:48)
Wow, okay so does that mean that they were already paying the two million, because they were… But, they just didn’t realise that they’re attached the [crosstalk 00:06:53] or-
Wayne Herbert: (06:53)
Well, they weren’t fully maintaining all of their assets, but-
Kylie Davis: (06:53)
Wayne Herbert: (06:54)
They was only maintaining what was in their existing system, so yeah a lot of assets weren’t being maintained, were failing.
Kylie Davis: (07:05)
Wayne Herbert: (07:06)
Cost implications, they were pretty big.
Kylie Davis: (07:08)
Yeah, so does that make people a little bit… Like, this is a bit ostrich with head in the sand sort of stuff, are there landlords or owners out there who just don’t want to know? [inaudible 00:07:20].
Wayne Herbert: (07:20)
Yeah, you do, definitely. I’m not sure if… I wouldn’t say it’s the owners that don’t want to know. I think it’s the ones that are managing the portfolios, don’t want to know. Obviously as an owner, you’d want to know that you’d want to know. You’d actually want to know what’s there, what’s my true value, what’s my future costs, et cetera. But, if you’re managing the portfolio, sometimes it’s a bit, “No, hold on. You’ve exposed this here, and we’ve seen that a couple of times with clients as well.” And it’s like, “Hold on a minute, you showed me up. I should be looking after all of this equipment.”
Kylie Davis: (07:49)
Right, and I didn’t even know it existed. I’d been walking past it every day, and forgot about it. Well, I mean, you do. You go blind, don’t you, when you’re in a building or you’re in an environment all the time, you stop seeing things.
Wayne Herbert: (07:59)
Then you find it when it fails.
Kylie Davis: (08:02)
Yeah, that’s right. So, the problem that building owners have got at the moment with long standing existing assets is that they have a whole lot of assets sitting inside their portfolio that they may not know about until they fail. Then they’re going to be facing a rather large bill to get them fixed. But, if they’re aware of them in events, they’ll be able to start to budget, plan, and manage for upgrades, and updates, and things like that.
Wayne Herbert: (08:32)
Yeah, that’s exactly right.
Kylie Davis: (08:33)
Okay, cool. So, how big a problem is this in the commercial real estate sector?
Wayne Herbert: (08:41)
Kylie Davis: (08:41)
I can imagine, because I’m thinking there’s a lot of very old commercial buildings out there.
Wayne Herbert: (08:45)
There’s a lot of old buildings and it’s not just commercial, really. You can go cross all the sectors, yeah it’s a real big issue, and it’s well documented. The reactive maintenance is at least three to four times more expensive than plan maintenance.
Kylie Davis: (09:00)
Oh, I like that number. Yeah, okay and why is that? Because, something’s failed rather than just getting it [crosstalk 00:09:10]-
Wayne Herbert: (09:10)
Well, obviously. Yeah, now looking at from a-
Kylie Davis: (09:12)
Wayne Herbert: (09:13)
Yeah, exactly. Obviously, there’s a maintenance side of it, but also every asset in a building has a life cycle to it. Looking at, say, for example, lighting, for example, it might be a 20 year life cycle on a light. If a building was built in the year 2000, in 20 years time, all of those lights in that building are going to be coming to the end of their life.
Wayne Herbert: (09:32)
Now, reactive way is people will wait to light breaks. They’ll do a call out, you get the call out, minimum charges, et cetera, to change the lights. But, over the next year or two, they’ve got to constantly keep popping. And, they’re going to keep calling out different ones where if you’ve got a planned, you’ll know in 2020 that, hey, these lights are coming on to the end of their life. You can do it as a whole.
Kylie Davis: (09:52)
Yep, or you could even do something like, well, if they’re 20 year old lights, maybe we should upgrade them to LED or something and therefore improve the quality and do it in one year.
Wayne Herbert: (10:02)
Yeah, there’s a number of areas, you can do things. Yeah, but you can plan properly and you can save a lot budget power.
Kylie Davis: (10:08)
Okay, so tell me how AI Assets works, because you used to be called Aston Industries, which a few people might know about. But, you’ve now got some proprietary tech, so tell me how that works.
Wayne Herbert: (10:21)
Yeah, so it’s really about, it’s a two-part system. So, there’s an application for using on-site for data capture, which really makes that side of things much more efficient. You can really go in a building really quick and capture it. There’s nothing… It gets away from the old pen and paper methods, and that type of stuff to speed that process open.
Wayne Herbert: (10:44)
And, then the online database, which is through the cloud, that’s got life cycle data included in it. And, your cost replacement costs your life cycle data to help you produce those budgets. And, it’s really about bringing that asset register off the Excel sheet or the filing cabinet into the modern world and into the cloud, and keeping it active and live in the most efficient way. So, you’re not working off old data.
Kylie Davis: (11:12)
Right, okay so I’m imagining back in the old days, a couple of years ago we used to go around with what a clipboard or something, and write everything down on it. A facilities manager would maybe go around and write stuff on a clipboard, and then go back to their desk and type it into a spreadsheet. And-
Wayne Herbert: (11:29)
That’s exactly right. Yeah, and that’s my background, that’s what I used to do. That’s where this sort of came from, so I used to do that. You’d use clipboard pen and paper, your camera. You’d come and try and put it back together into an Excel sheet, or you’d use a couple of different systems that are out there, but they’re all quite cumbersome. And, you miss a lot of data because when you’re out in the field all day, yeah miss a lot of assets. So, the quality of data drops down, and it’s a slow cumbersome task.
Kylie Davis: (11:59)
Right, and so as an asset manager or capturer in this asset lifecycle manager in this space, you thought what stuff this free game of dominoes? There’s got to be a bit of way, or-
Wayne Herbert: (12:14)
Yeah, I’ve always had that sort of mind of like, “Well, there’s got to be a quicker way of doing this.” That’s always been my mind, and that’s what led to building this system. From using different systems, from the clipboard to pen and paper, to more numerous different systems. Just none of them were quick and efficient, and it’s just like, “How can you get data quicker than this?” My born frustrations, and then trial and error, and that’s what came up with what we’ve got.
Kylie Davis: (12:37)
Okay, and so when you’re out on site, you’re taking photos or capturing the details of things. And, what you’ve got a centralised database of common assets, and types, and classes that are kind of prerecorded or preregistered or-
Wayne Herbert: (12:51)
Prerecorded, so there’s over 1800 different types of building assets currently in the system, which is growing daily. That can be modified by the user, so they can add new assets in if they have different types of asset classes into that. Yeah, and that’s all in the central system, and basically the process is once you’ve been on site, you just synchronised to the cloud and you can generate the reports. There’s no collaborating it all on the back end, the system does that.
Kylie Davis: (13:19)
And, you don’t have to go back to the office, and get your girl to type it up or anything? Oh, I love that then.
Wayne Herbert: (13:23)
Nothing [crosstalk 00:13:24], even they would get the simple asset register out. You can get your lifecycle plans, your condition reports, just at a click of a button.
Kylie Davis: (13:32)
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Kylie Davis: (13:51)
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Kylie Davis: (14:12)
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Kylie Davis: (14:29)
To make the right connection and find out how Direct Connect can make moving easy for you and easy for your customers, visit agents.directconnect.com.au, or call 1-300-558-169. So, how does this help old buildings, or analogue buildings become smart and digital?
Wayne Herbert: (14:52)
Yeah, so that’s a good question. Obviously, I guess the key one is they’re going to be working on more modern and accurate data. And, that’s where we sort of see it, that we want to be. Smart buildings, it is a buzzword, isn’t it? But, are they really smart? And, I don’t think they are, because definitely if it’s a smart building, it’s got sensors here, sensors there. The BMS, all these different systems, none of them talk to each other and none of them are linked.
Wayne Herbert: (15:17)
So, how smart is it? And, it gives you data out, but somebody still has to analyse the data to do it. So to me, a smart system really is they should all be linked together and the system should be telling you what to do and when to do it. And, I think the key is central to that are all the physical assets of a building, which is where I see that we are. And, that’s where I want to be and linking with all of these other systems to truly make smart buildings.
Kylie Davis: (15:43)
Yeah, because we see there are sort of a growing number of solutions out there that are, collating and collecting all the data sources from the smart devices that are inside buildings and sending data streams in. But, I guess the missing link that you guys are feeling is that also that there’s an awful lot of buildings, and materials, and property features that aren’t smart. They got built as part of the building, but they still need to be maintained and managed. I mean, pipes aren’t smart, are they? No.
Wayne Herbert: (16:16)
Kylie Davis: (16:18)
I mean, God bless Septic Sewage.
Wayne Herbert: (16:21)
[crosstalk 00:16:21] the budget at the end of the day, it’s all goes into [crosstalk 00:16:24] of when should I replace an asset? And, so that’s where we’re really interested in linking into the smartest systems is to get the data from them so we can get our life cycle predictions much more accurate.
Kylie Davis: (16:34)
Okay, awesome. So, if every building in a property owner’s portfolio had its assets captured with AI Assets, how would that change their portfolio, or what they do with their portfolio?
Wayne Herbert: (16:47)
It really gives them better control over it. I guess that’s the key to it, we will give them much better control over future costs, future budgets, future maintenance, and a real overall picture of their asset portfolio. Which can lead into, obviously valuations, the purchasing and selling of properties. Because, obviously if you’ve got a good history when you’re in the sale processor that good history, and a good future plan in any way, it’s like a log book of your building portfolios. It gives a great insight to the purchaser, or the seller.
Kylie Davis: (17:23)
And, yeah I guess that’s true, isn’t it? Because, we have log books for cars and we’re able to see the sort of service history of a car. It’s very strange that we don’t have that yet for buildings.
Wayne Herbert: (17:38)
Yeah, now that-
Kylie Davis: (17:39)
Or, it’s not common practise yet, yeah.
Wayne Herbert: (17:41)
Yeah, and then you look at people when they do like in looking for investments, looking at, say, buyer’s agents in the residential area. I’d always look at the return on investments, but the one area that I miss is really about, well, what am I going to be spending on that property over that investment period?
Wayne Herbert: (18:00)
So, stripping it back to residential, it’s like buyer’s agent goes out, here’s 10 properties, here’s your return on investment in 10 years. But, they don’t look at, well, what you’ve got to spend on each of those properties in the 10 years in replacements and maintenance costs. So, what’s the real return on investments? That’s a big part that’s missed in throughout the industry in different sectors.
Kylie Davis: (18:18)
Yeah, awesome. So, your products primarily at the moment for commercial, but could it also be used for residential?
Wayne Herbert: (18:28)
Yeah, so certainly to a degree… Well, yeah kind of in that example I’ve just given there for the typical residential house, certainly within strata communities, they can, where they have to have a 10 year capital works budget in place due to the Royal Commission there was a few years ago and legislation. So, that area needs it. So, it’s built in, it’s there.
Wayne Herbert: (18:49)
And, the typical way that they do it, store managers go in, plug some numbers out of the air, put it on a sheet and go, “Here’s your capital works plan for the next 10 years.” And, then obviously it’s not accurate, so you get the special levies come through and the owners, they’re the ones that end up paying them because they miss certain big albums off.
Kylie Davis: (19:06)
Yep, yep. I believe I might be a member of a strata committee that does exactly that. So, well, you’ve got some pretty big clients, and you’ve sort of built the product out with… We’re talking about Woolworths, are we allowed to say Woolworths? We are, if we’re not, we’ll take that out.
Wayne Herbert: (19:29)
I guess so, I don’t know.
Kylie Davis: (19:29)
All right, I’ll start that again. So, you’ve had some pretty big clients, and in fact, you built the product out with the support of a major client. What was their experiences in using the platform? What kind of things were revealed? You talked about the hospital example before, I’m really want to pull apart the sort of things that came out of the audit that you did.
Wayne Herbert: (19:53)
Really, yeah it was the speed and efficiency of what which we did them. So, I think we can talk, it’s a large supermarket-
Kylie Davis: (20:01)
Wayne Herbert: (20:01)
… retail chain, yeah. And, we walk walking through their properties in less than a day for capturing six or 700 assets in detail. Actually putting barcodes onto the assets, getting all the details from the assets, et cetera. And the speed of it, yeah they was flabbergasted. So, we managed to do it-
Kylie Davis: (20:22)
Wayne Herbert: (20:22)
… through last year when it was through all the lockdowns throughout Australia, almost 2000 stores, Australia wide. Through all of that issues, and we did it in less than five months.
Kylie Davis: (20:36)
That’s awesome. That’s awesome, so just that’s phenomenally quick, isn’t it? And, so we’re talking metaphorical bar codes, don’t we, we’re not saying they’re labelled the building with barcodes.
Wayne Herbert: (20:47)
No, we physically type. Yeah, so maybe I’d say we physically put a tag on every… Or, not every assets, but all the key assets.
Kylie Davis: (20:53)
Right, okay. Okay, awesome. And, so-
Wayne Herbert: (20:57)
It’s the process down itself, so we would have got through that portfolio quicker if we weren’t physically-
Kylie Davis: (21:01)
If you weren’t barcoding them.
Wayne Herbert: (21:02)
Kylie Davis: (21:02)
Well, look, they understand barcodes. They [inaudible 00:21:05], as a supermarket chain, they understand barcodes. So, as part of that, you discovered, I imagined assets that they didn’t know they had. And, assets that they thought they had, that they didn’t have any longer or-
Wayne Herbert: (21:18)
Yeah, that’s exactly right. So, we covered that off basically in the pilot, we did a number of stores in a pilot run. Compared it to the existing data, and yeah they realised that with the data they had was, like I said, in the first instance, extremely out of date. It was in a typical CMS, it was in Maximo.
Wayne Herbert: (21:36)
When they was updating to a new version of Maximo. And they knew that what they had just was… Because, it was implemented properly 20 years ago when they first started using Maximo. And, that’s another big problem is the CMS systems is typically, they give you the system, you put your asset data in, then you work from it. But, the asset register doesn’t get updated as efficiently or as good as it should.
Kylie Davis: (22:02)
No, because rubbish in, rubbish out, right?
Wayne Herbert: (22:05)
Yeah, that’s right.
Kylie Davis: (22:06)
Yeah, yeah and so how big a gap was there between what they thought they had and what they actually had? Can you give us some examples of-
Wayne Herbert: (22:16)
I[crosstalk 00:22:16], I don’t think it’s an issue, is it? So, it’s well over 50% inaccurate.
Kylie Davis: (22:22)
Oh, wow okay. So, they had 50% more or less of what they thought, or just-
Wayne Herbert: (22:29)
Both, I had some assets there that didn’t exist and a hell of a lot of assets there that did exist that I didn’t have in their systems.
Kylie Davis: (22:38)
Wow, okay. Wow.
Wayne Herbert: (22:39)
Yeah, so what they’re moving to is more of the IOT type of section. They want a scan to fix sort of system where the staff can use the little PDA scanner assets, and log their work orders simply.
Kylie Davis: (22:51)
Yeah, perfect. Perfect, and I mean, look, I imagined that solves a lot of… Well, you don’t need to fill in a form. You don’t need to do any of that stuff. All the data is captured, right, when you scan it? Yep.
Wayne Herbert: (23:01)
That’s exactly right, yeah.
Kylie Davis: (23:02)
Yeah, perfect. Okay, and you don’t need to worry about ordering the wrong part or-
Wayne Herbert: (23:06)
Kylie Davis: (23:09)
It’s like, “Oh, no it’s the 20BE not the 20BC.”
Wayne Herbert: (23:12)
Yeah, that’s right. We had a mining client that was doing it and they said one of the areas would be just simply knowing what air conditioning unit they had in the dongas, the accommodation. Because, each time one fails, they have to call the technician. He has to go out to site, looks at what the unit is. Goes back to the yard, picks up the pieces, goes back to the units. Whereas, if he could just click on site and go, “Okay, I know that’s a visit Fujitsu aircon.” It could just go straight to site with that, and he’s saving a few hours each time.”
Kylie Davis: (23:41)
Well, and also the people in there desperately waiting for the aircon to be turned back on [inaudible 00:23:45] having a better experience too.
Wayne Herbert: (23:47)
Lose the tenancies or whatever. And, if-
Kylie Davis: (23:50)
It’s 45 degrees.
Wayne Herbert: (23:52)
If you transfer that to commercial buildings, and think about the say an air-con unit or hot water going down. It’s quite critical to all the tenants in there that it gets up and running as fast as possible. I think We’ve all worked in offices where the aircon’s been down and either freezing cold or stinking hot.
Kylie Davis: (24:08)
Yeah, yep we certainly have. Yeah, I think it’s why we were enjoy working from home now. So, how big is AI Assets? Tell us about your team.
Wayne Herbert: (24:16)
Yeah, so we’ve been expanding, so we’re growing now too, there’ll be eight members in the next few weeks. We’re just recruiting in the final stages for our fourth software developer, and then we started with a BD guy. A new BD salesperson in the last two weeks. And-
Kylie Davis: (24:36)
Mm-hmm (affirmative), and so just to be clear, if you’re selling your product to… Sorry, Chanel’s is in the background. You’re selling your product to landlords and building owners, or you’re selling your product to asset capture firms, or [crosstalk 00:24:57].
Wayne Herbert: (24:57)
It’s a few, actually, so yeah typically building consultants who do this type of work, they’d have primary target for us so they can use the system, and go and do their work more efficiently, and increase their profits, and the outputs to their clients. There is obviously service providers, building managers, FM managers, those types of areas. And, ultimately it’s the building owners, because they’re the ones who fought all the costs, basically. So, they should be realising that things can be done more efficiently and they can get more value out of it.
Kylie Davis: (25:33)
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Kylie Davis: (26:02)
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Kylie Davis: (26:24)
Listeners to The PropTech Podcast receive a 14 day free trial. Now, that’s twice as long as the normal free trial. So, go to homeprezzo.com.au and click the up button and use the code PropTech to get your extended free trial, or click the link in our show notes. So, tell us a little bit about your background. You’ve been an asset or a building consultant?
Wayne Herbert: (26:48)
Yeah, yeah so originally in the UK, I was a carpenter enjoying it. That’s where I first started, and [crosstalk 00:26:52]. That’s so many moons ago, and came over towards in the mid ’90s and really transitioned, yeah got into doing condition audits on properties. So, my first one job with 99 was doing condition audits on TAFE in New South Wales, and using this really old cumbersome system that to put one asset in your act to enter about 30 fields, and it was just… Yeah, you do about five assets an hour. It was shocking, so we went through TAFE.
Wayne Herbert: (27:21)
And, even then we started trying different ways of doing it, using a little video recorder and record it, and then going to type it up and using voice recognition. But, yeah really from that, started doing that for many years, really. I’ve been doing that for over 20 years now. I’m doing condition audits, asset registers, lifecycle modelling, and that type of stuff for properties.
Wayne Herbert: (27:44)
But, yeah using all the different sort of facilities, so that’s where I started Aston in 2011. And, originally as a building consultancy to do that type of work, we started building the product to help us do that work. And, then we soon realised, once we got it, it was like, “This is really working well, it makes a huge difference.” We’ve shifted to now be the PropTech company and step away from the consultancy.
Kylie Davis: (28:05)
Okay, awesome. If we change the valuation model… So, IA Assets, I guess, has the potential to change the way that we’re valuing buildings, or is it just going to make those valuations a lot more accurate?
Wayne Herbert: (28:24)
Yeah, I think it can enhance the valuations. You’re going to get greater insights into the building, obviously valuation’s a different area. But, it’s really going to enhance it because, you’re going to know past costs, how the building’s been maintained, what the future costs involved are, et cetera.
Kylie Davis: (28:40)
I guess, it’s going to be interesting if in the future we start to understand running costs, isn’t it? Because, okay I mean, it’s a little bit like when you own a car, if you buy a brand new car that the running costs are going to be pretty low. And, if you buy an older car that the running costs are going to be higher, but it’d be interesting to see how that then impacts on the final value.
Wayne Herbert: (29:05)
Yeah, that’s exactly right. It’s a big part of the buildings, isn’t it? Like you say, there’s that many existing buildings out there. The old cars, and what’s the cost on them?
Kylie Davis: (29:14)
Yeah, yeah, yeah and is there the potential for this to help feed into things like neighbours ratings or things that we’re trying to understand? Yeah.
Wayne Herbert: (29:25)
Yeah, so I’m talking to a company at the moment about linking it into doing energy audits, and future writings and that type of stuff for it. So, without a doubt, yeah does fit into that area. And, it’s not really something that… We want to link into the third party systems to help us do that. Get those experts helping us.
Kylie Davis: (29:48)
Yeah, okay. So, what’s the competitive landscape like? Who are your main competitors or who else is out there doing this sort of stuff?
Wayne Herbert: (29:59)
Do I name them? Or, what do I do? I don’t want to name competitors.
Kylie Davis: (30:07)
Well, no, normally we put them. No, we don’t, but I mean, is there a lot going on in this space? Or, is it like why-
Wayne Herbert: (30:11)
There is to a degree. Probably, there’s four or five close competitors. They do things a bit differently than what we do. And, then you’ve got the fringe competitors, so there is like, you get systems where it’s a form builder and you can build your form to help you capture data. And, then obviously you get the same thing, I see a lot of them say, “We do this type of work, but they don’t.”
Wayne Herbert: (30:36)
It’s quite clear they don’t when you use a system, but they’ll say, “Yeah, no, we help you cut to your data.” But, they don’t do it to the depth, and the speed, and the accuracy that we do. So it’s really, we don’t see them as competitive CMS, is we you hope to partner with those. So, we can help be in their sit, audit tool, life cycle tool that plugs into their systems and makes their data more accurate. And, what you say crap in, crap out. We’re able to make it good in, good out.
Kylie Davis: (31:03)
Yeah, okay. Okay, I mean, I guess the issue really is that people don’t think in spreadsheets. Which are too, when we’re going around looking at a building, you don’t tend to think in spreadsheets yet all of the systems and structures that we’ve created involve you’re required to think like you’re in a spreadsheet. So, what you’re doing is you’re using an iPad, aren’t you? So, sort of capturing photos, and tagging, and-
Wayne Herbert: (31:32)
Soon it will be cross-platform, so we’ll be addressing that, so it’s going to be cross-platform. Yeah, that’s what you’re using, but you can get the Excel output still at the cross-platform.
Kylie Davis: (31:39)
Yeah, yeah, yeah, so obtain that unstructured data into structured data. Cool, so what do you think the next five years holds for commercial real estate, especially in this kind of asset space?
Wayne Herbert: (31:51)
Yeah, I think we touched on it earlier is that the smart buildings actually becoming smart buildings and not what smart buildings a class does now. I think that’ll go to the next level where the systems do all talk to each other, and they all get valuable insights from each other that affects everything else. And, I think that’ll give you the smarter outputs.
Wayne Herbert: (32:10)
You don’t still need the expert, their research to go and tell you what those outputs mean. I think the systems will talk together, and I think it will be more smaller companies linking together. I don’t think it will be… There’s so many systems out there that say they do everything, and in my experience, they’re big and cumbersome. And, people just get frustrated with them, I think it’s going to be more of an ecosystem, which is great for the PropTech sector we’re all in. Is there’s going to be a lot of collaboration between these smaller PropTechs to make truly small buildings.
Kylie Davis: (32:41)
Yeah, so we’re seeing expertise being like an inch wide and a mile deep now, and then sort of that expertise handing off rather than kind of being sort of generalised and pretty crap until it across everything, right.
Wayne Herbert: (32:58)
[inaudible 00:32:58] this is from doing what I’ve done as a consultant for years. That’s my expertise, so I’m not going to try and build something. That’s not my expertise. When somebody over here has got that expertise, and I can join in with them and link together.
Kylie Davis: (33:11)
Yeah, yep. Perfect, okay so what does the future hold for AI Assets? What’s on your roadmap?
Wayne Herbert: (33:16)
Yeah, so our roadmap really is to push our software further afield. We want to look at, obviously it’s going to be difficult at the moment, but we want to go overseas in the next 12 months. But, in the short term than that, we want to start linking in and having the discussions and linking into these other third-party softwares to see what we can get out of our systems together and how we can collaborate.
Kylie Davis: (33:41)
Cool, so the platform’s working, it’s completely functional and you’re just really in scale mode, right?
Wayne Herbert: (33:47)
Yeah, that’s exactly right. Yeah, so we’ve been using it in its first iteration for a number of years now. And, really in the last 12 months, that’s more been the beta testing from our side of it in the last 12 months we started to get in some clients on more word of mouth. We haven’t really marketed huge, but now we’re in the stage of yes. So, we’re there now ready, we know it’s stable. We know it’s working, we’ve got a good client base. So, really now it’s at scale mode, yep.
Kylie Davis: (34:15)
That sounds fantastic. Well, look, I’m really looking forward to watching the future of AI Assets, turning, making sort of dumb buildings and analogue buildings, digital and smart. It sounds like a great goal, and I think our cities will be better for it.
Wayne Herbert: (34:30)
Yeah, hopefully and I think together, the PropTech, will all make a great difference to the industry.
Kylie Davis: (34:35)
Yeah, Wayne Herbert thanks so much for being on The PropTech Podcast.
Wayne Herbert: (34:38)
Thank you very much for having me.
Kylie Davis: (34:40)
So, that was Wayne Herbert from AI Assets. And, asset register consultancy that has pivoted to become a PropTech after being able to see how they could capture assets, and build asset registers more efficiently and easily using the power of big data and AI. What I love about AI Assets is that it’s solving an immediate pain point, which is seriously painful for commercial property owners and managers.
Kylie Davis: (35:05)
I mean, imagine owning hundreds of asset, millions and billions of dollars in assets to only really have a vague idea as to the state of the age of those assets equipment, and the features of the building. And, only really truly understanding the details about them when someone rings up to let you know that something’s broken. AI Asset is a great illustration of how PropTech is helping us as an industry to move from being reactive, to proactive as building owners and managers.
Kylie Davis: (35:36)
And, one of the biggest issues we face in trying to execute these ideas around smart cities, and smart buildings is, well, where do you start? So, much of the building stock in our cities is dumb. It’s a legacy of when they were built, and the disappearance of the information over time around the assets that are in those buildings.
Kylie Davis: (35:55)
But, starting with an asset audit that captures exactly what you’ve got, and lets that quickly be updated so that you’re dealing with an accurate flow of data will surely that’s the first step to transforming our buildings and our cities. I think is really exciting.
Kylie Davis: (36:10)
So, now if you have enjoyed this episode of The PropTech Podcast, I would love you to tell your friends or to drop me a line either by email, LinkedIn, or Facebook. And, you can follow this podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Anchor, and Apple iTunes. I’d like to thank my audio support Charlie Hollins, and the fabulous Jill Escudero. And our sponsors Direct Connect, making moving easy. Smidge wines, exclusive wines made in limited quantities and available only via the cellar door at smidgewines.com.
Kylie Davis: (36:40)
And HomePrezzo, now part of active pipe and helping you create engaging content for your email marketing. If you are a PropTech, please make sure you join the PropTech Association of Australia. Why? Well, because it means you’ll be able to enter the very first ever PropTech awards.
Kylie Davis: (36:58)
We’ve got 21 awards up for grabs for startups, scale-ups and even established real estate property technology suppliers. So, check out proptechassociation.com.au, and go to the awards page. It’s really easy to enter, but entries close on March 19th, so get cracking. Thanks everyone, until next week. Keep on PropTeching.