Skanska Commercial Development Europe and Innogy Innovation Hub, which is funded by Innogy SE, a leading German energy company, to invest in and mentor technology start-ups, have entered into an agreement on strategic cooperation regarding technology development in the commercial real estate industry. This is the first agreement between the fund, which invests in PropTech (property technology) and ConTech (construction technology) innovation as part of its investment strategy, with a developer company in Central and Eastern Europe. Under the agreement, Skanska will cooperate with PropTech and ConTech focused start-ups within the Innogy Innovation Hub portfolio. By the end of the year, the partners wish to carry out the first implementation projects with respect to Skanska Commercial Development Europe office building investments in Poland, Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary.
innogy Innovation Hub identifies, funds and provides a co-creation platform for technologies and businesses that have the potential to redefine the energy market of the future. With buildings responsible for 40% of global energy consumption, the construction and building industry is a key focus area for the Innovation Hub’s ‘Smart and Connected’ team. Their vision – ‘smart’ office buildings of the future – matches Skanska’s vision. For several years already, buildings have become increasingly autonomous, smart entities that monitor and optimize their resources in real-time. For example, by leveraging continuously gathered user data and information on occupancy with help of Data Analytics, buildings are able to conserve energy and heat, adapt temperature, humidity and lighting, while at the same time caring about the users’ health.
Under the agreement, Skanska Commercial Development Europe and Innogy Innovation Hub will focus on several key areas, such as data analytics from building systems, user comfort, and improvements in the construction process. Skanska will be able to cooperate with start-ups belonging to the Innogy Innovation Hub portfolio all over the world. Together with selected partners, Skanska will conduct the proof of concept for the available solutions this year. So far, within the framework of cooperation, Skanska’s representatives have participated in several sectoral conferences for start-ups organized by Innogy Innovation Hub in Germany and Israel.
“Cooperation with start-ups in the PropTech and ConTech areas is of major importance to us, because, as a developer and general contractor for office building investments, Skanska is responsible for the entire project lifecycle. We want to combine Skanska’s experience and business range with Innogy Innovation Hub’s innovation and operating range. Innovative solutions emerge when teams with various competencies work on them together. This way, together with Innogy Innovation Hub, we test and implement solutions that will make our office space even more comfortable and effective in use, and we will be able to learn from our experiences so far by creating a digital twin of a physical building,” says Anna Tryfon-Bojarska, Innovation Manager at Skanska office unit in CEE.
“We see huge potential for innovation in the building industry and believe that, in time, buildings may become an individual ‘client’ of energy companies of the future. We look for the technological solutions to achieve this vision and, using our collaborative platform approach, provide them with opportunities to test, refine and commercialize their products with the biggest players on the market. In Skanska, we have a partner able to use this vast potential to increase the efficiency of space use, optimize building productivity and safety, and enhance the wellbeing of building users. Briefly speaking, this is about us being healthier when leaving the building than we were when entering it,” says Alina Prawdzik, Managing Partner in charge of Innogy Innovation Hub’s operations in Central and Eastern Europe, and Head of ‘Smart & Connected’.
New technologies within an arm’s reach
innogy Innovation Hub has created a € 162 m portfolio (as of December 2018) through investing in disruptive individuals, start-ups and early-stage businesses, and has provided opportunities for nearly 90 start-ups and scale-up companies to collaborate. For example, one portfolio company focused on the future of buildings has created a platform tracking construction progress in real-time, thanks to 360° panoramic pictures. The software continuously updates construction status, which allows for more effective cost and schedule management and helps to avoid budget overspending, which is very helpful at the time of growing labor and material expenses.