Vicinity Centres |

Executive Summary

Vicinity Centres are a world leader in retail asset management. The vast property group manages over $23-Billion in retail assets following the merger of two of Australia’s most established names in the business, Federation Centres and Novion Property Group. Vicinity has some major flagship shopping centres across Australia, Chatswood Chase, Chadstone and DFO South Wharf to name a few. The $20-Million Vicinity Environmental Data System (EDS) infrastructure project contracted to Buildings Evolved is one of the most comprehensive applications of sustainability and technological systems on Australian soil. The overarching framework eliminates $400-Thousand in disparate software infrastructure per-annum, unifying data sources from all areas of business operations and distilling information into a single-source-of-truth. The EDS gives stakeholders and end-users unparalleled insights into consumption, billing, waste and marketing data for advanced reporting capability and operational control to better decision-making predicating business intelligence (BI) and competitive advantage. The works undertaken herein are our flagship project, a fusion of our capabilities with the Vicinity business case through a relentless curiosity for innovation, passion for improvement and development of agile business solutions.

Location: Australia

Industry: Real Estate Investment Trust

Employees: 1,200

www.vicinity.com.au

Business Drivers

The procurement of machine data is the fastest growing sector of the information and communication technology market. A new forecast from International Data Corporation sees machine data technology growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.1% over the 2014-2019 forecast period. Experience has shown that machine data applications can provide a dramatic increase in the efficiency and effectiveness of decision-making in complex organizations and communities.

The Environmental Data System (EDS) builds upon big data analytics and storage, unifying consumption metrics and other data sources such as marketing and sales for cross-business analysis. Data paths are established and normalised via an in-house data model allowing dynamic reporting tools such as Tableau to tap into data feeds in near real-time. The overarching data system surpasses mandatory reporting requirements providing limitless combinations of ad-hoc reporting to drive efficiency and innovation programs.

A documentation review outlined the existing infrastructure and requirements to be supplanted by the EDS framework. Several stakeholder engagement sessions were held to identify the Vicinity business case, the best-of-breed technological systems available to satisfy the functional requirements. Quality specification and procedures fueled systems architecture, paths and the massaging of data into usable schemas for output. Market research was conducted to evaluate software solutions for the user interface from which Tableau was the victor and voila! The most comprehensive in-house EDS in Australia was born.

  • To develop a culture where all business sectors are familiar with the new ‘language’ of technology
  • Internal technologies and infrastructure ownership, security and control
  • Deliver direct cost savings;
    • Eliminate $400k per-annum in redundant vendor-based products and services
    • Delivering HR efficiencies – Portfolio specific queries can be performed at will, no need to make requests to outside teams, spend time having a request fulfilled or compile awkward metrics from disparate data sources and vendors
    • Efficiency programs – BI and strategic management processes
  • Increased metric analysis capability to drive efficiencies – new and diverse performance analytics can be automated and are delivered in a matter of seconds
  • Errors are tracked and machinery faults detected – underpinning efficiencies
  • Feedback and compliance monitoring is enabled – allowing management to gage effectiveness and further develop and manage quality systems
  • Development opportunities for growth and innovation through decision science – experimenting and analysis of non-transactional data

Business Drivers

The procurement of machine data is the fastest growing sector of the information and communication technology market. A new forecast from International Data Corporation sees machine data technology growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.1% over the 2014-2019 forecast period. Experience has shown that machine data applications can provide a dramatic increase in the efficiency and effectiveness of decision-making in complex organizations and communities.

The Environmental Data System (EDS) builds upon big data analytics and storage, unifying consumption metrics and other data sources such as marketing and sales for cross-business analysis. Data paths are established and normalised via an in-house data model allowing dynamic reporting tools such as Tableau to tap into data feeds in near real-time. The overarching data system surpasses mandatory reporting requirements providing limitless combinations of ad-hoc reporting to drive efficiency and innovation programs.

A documentation review outlined the existing infrastructure and requirements to be supplanted by the EDS framework. Several stakeholder engagement sessions were held to identify the Vicinity business case, the best-of-breed technological systems available to satisfy the functional requirements. Quality specification and procedures fueled systems architecture, paths and the massaging of data into usable schemas for output. Market research was conducted to evaluate software solutions for the user interface from which Tableau was the victor and voila! The most comprehensive in-house EDS in Australia was born.

  • To develop a culture where all business sectors are familiar with the new ‘language’ of technology
  • Internal technologies and infrastructure ownership, security and control
  • Deliver direct cost savings;
    • Eliminate $400k per-annum in redundant vendor-based products and services
    • Delivering HR efficiencies – Portfolio specific queries can be performed at will, no need to make requests to outside teams, spend time having a request fulfilled or compile awkward metrics from disparate data sources and vendors
    • Efficiency programs – BI and strategic management processes
  • Increased metric analysis capability to drive efficiencies – new and diverse performance analytics can be automated and are delivered in a matter of seconds
  • Errors are tracked and machinery faults detected – underpinning efficiencies
  • Feedback and compliance monitoring is enabled – allowing management to gage effectiveness and further develop and manage quality systems
  • Development opportunities for growth and innovation through decision science – experimenting and analysis of non-transactional data

Building Shared Values

Consultation in quality technological systems - Identify value, ethos and culture necessary to drive efficiency and discover innovations

Requirements

To implement a robust, enterprise wide environmental data system to automate and streamline reporting requirements, including compliance reporting, and to utilise the data captured to deliver insight into managing business more effectively. The EDS can integrate various data sources and types for output into a dynamic user-interface with strong reporting functionality, featuring;

  • Unilateral and easy access to analytics specific to user roles.
  • Multi-dimensional, interactive analytics.
  • Ad-hoc reporting on demand.

Key functional requirements;

  • Data ownership – data and data paths to be established with internal control and ownership.
  • Development – the system needs to be accessible in-house and thus evolve with future business needs.
  • Flexibility – ability to integrate various data sources and systems, including BMS data, utility data, metering data, ad-hoc sources, and internal systems i.e. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform and marketing data.

Technical Overview

Infrastructure

  • Utility NEM12 and smart metering
  • Data importing functions (FTP/email) for location and external services
  • BMS data feeds
  • Provisioning of embedded network operators
  • SQL data-lake and database provisioning
  • Tableau – user interface integration

Data Capture & Validation

  • 15-30-minute interval data or smart metering device data
  • Data input – normalise and lay down data through ETL and APIs into storage
  • Range of file formats, from CSV to XML to Excel
  • Automated data capture requiring no human intervention
  • Record external services data, tarrifs, emissions, calculations and benchmarks for output
  • Ensure the ETL program stores data quality information in the database such as number of readings, expected readings and missing data reports
  • Provide an exception report of missing data sets, or data quality issues
  • Provide a visualisation of data availability and completeness

Data Storage and Security

  • Hosted on VPS with high availability for storage
  • Encompass onsite and offsite backup files and procedures
  • HTTPS for websites and data connections
  • Adhere to IT network security policy

Data Sets

  • Finance
  • BMS/PWMS
  • Electricity
  • Solar Generation (gross)
  • Natural Gas
  • LPG – Stationary
  • Water
  • Air Travel
  • Diesel – Stationary
  • Waste
  • Refrigerant
  • Weather

OPTIMISING TECHNOLOGY

Develop organisational goals - translate problems into opportunities through technology to deliver value and return-on-investment

INTELLIGENCE IN BUSINESS

Turning data into knowledge at a building and portfolio level - provide business solutions that are specific and actionable

The EDS builds on Vicinity’s exploration into big data analytics and storage across environmental systems for cross-business analysis with marketing and sales data sets. The EDS establishes data sources through specification, development and maintenance of ETL programs and APIs composing an overarching data model. Once in place, data sets can be unilaterally sliced and diced, the facilitation of ad-hoc cross-metrical analysis through Tableau’s user-interface.

The EDS exceeds mandatory and voluntary reporting requirements. Data is provided in schema to a broad range of internal and external stakeholders through customised dashboards developed in Tableau.  Centre Operations are supplied with simple performance metrics, accounts payable run reconciliations against a machine data source, while sustainability and regional operations can data-mine for energy efficiency opportunities. Moreover, the unified access to data, the single-source-of-truth model facilitates data exploration utilising the Tableau user-interface, the instantaneous cross-metrical analysis of data sets that were formerly disparate and incompatible. An example in Vicinity’s shopping centre space is the ability to analyse energy intensity normalisation factors over;

  • Occupancy rates
  • Degree days
  • Operating hours
  • Weather conditions
  • Footfall

As more data sources are connected, the reporting and analytics capabilities expand exponentially to achieve a complementary set of energy performance indicators that can offer control for variables. The outcome being that past consumption patterns can be used for future projections, to preempt consumption and curb the spikes in peak demand. Predictive analysis along with like-by-like, comparative analysis and bench-marking form the cornerstones of proactive governance, a forward-thinking ethos and holistic model for efficiency.

Report Examples

Report Examples

Summary

Extracting value from large volumes of data requires investment in technologies, processes and governance. A key challenge to effective performance management strategy is to avoid processes driven by IT rather than business factors. Considering this, the focus of the EDS is defined by organisational objectives first and foremost. The EDS program integrates multiple variables necessary for uninhibited access to information irrespective of format, protocol or platform.

A holistic Environmental Data System has been sought after by the property industry for many years. Integration of data sources across operational business sectors has proven elusive due to the variety of solutions and vendors seeking to take their cut of the big data pie. Traditional vendor methodology results in closed systems, disparate reporting capabilities and ultimately limits the data set and scope of analysis whilst adding to the cost due to external ad-hoc reporting and private subscription-based platforms. The Vicinity business case puts an end to leeching vendor-based solutions. The EDS is the first of its kind in Australia, an uninhibited, unified, in-house reservoir of user-defined cross-metrics ready to report at the touch of a button.

Realise direct cost savings
Unlimited cross metrical analysis
Multi-dimensional, interactive analytics
Ad-hoc reporting on demand
In-house data management
Operational control