It Is People That Makes Technology Great

Autonomous Buildings
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  • Lendlease Podium
Harvey Worton, Co-CIO Lendlease recently joined the 6 Degrees AI conference which celebrated technology, AI and Innovation. Sharing the journey to cloud, Harvey shares moments of wow, learnings and the biggest contributor to the success of a digital strategy: People.


Autonomous buildings are no longer a futurist concept but embedded in the design, planning and re-development of our places of work and habitat, Lendlease Co-Group CIO, Harvey Worton explains the interplay between technology, autonomy and the cloud at the Six Degrees AI- The Future of Tech, Innovation and Work conference.

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The pandemic proved that necessity is the mother of invention, ushering in new ways of working locally and globally in quick response to shifting parameters. At Lendlease, digital inventiveness took a transformative turn as the COVID crisis hit the property sector. Lendlease Co-Group CIO, Harvey Worton reveals that the pandemic served to accelerate digitization in the property industry at warp speed.

“For Lendlease it was the first time in our history that a large part of our organization had to rely on technology to work globally to talk to colleagues etc. The speed in which that occurred due to the situation was absolutely another great lesson learned because we all had to adapt to technology in our day to day lives, at scale.”

The pandemic also allowed Lendlease to look at future proofing the organisation to prepare for similar situations and address ways in which Lendlease could help not only its staff across the globe, but also help and enable the people that are designing the next building, or working on a digital twin project.

The answer, in many cases was to embrace digitisation and move to 100% cloud based operations. “We have partnered with Google to break down the sort of traditional barriers that occur around data knowledge across the property lifecycle, but also as supply chain. If we can do that- then that is true digitization. There's all of the productivity savings that we can achieve, but we can actually achieve more meaningful results around sustainability. And actually, meaning that the people that are within the places that we create the buildings are healthier, happier humans, which I think is a great opportunity,” Worton states.

As part of this shift, Lendlease has embarked on the process of migrating out of all their third party data centres over the next 12 months. “Shifting into the cloud gives is the ability to manage our infrastructure platform scale up and down globally, based on the needs of the business. It will also help improve our security posture and business resilience posture. I think the other thing about moving to cloud which we're we're starting to see in our early wins is just the pure innovation part,” he says.

Podium is Lendlease’s transformative concept of autonomous buildings coming to life. “It is where we can optimize things like electricity and gas usage in our buildings. But equally, we're also seeing innovation on the internal side with IT.”

Lendlease, itself went autonomous globally for its contact sector business transitioning from an outsourced model to Google's AI contact centre driven model. It was a shift that Lendlease was able to do in six and a half weeks from start to finish.

“That was a ‘wow’ moment in terms of what we could do with cloud and it’s just the start. We're also seeing the traditional roles that technology play has a far more direct link to the outcomes of the business around productivity sustainability, which we haven't seen before. So that's another key part of what we're going to achieve through our shift.”

“Our concept of autonomous buildings had already been evidenced by some great early signs as mentioned around electricity and gas, but we will be part of creating buildings that self-manage and respond in real time to the wellness needs of the individuals with within them. There will be a relentless pursuit through that around our sustainability targets and what we need to do as an industry to drive that shift. And so the role that Google plays in that is really as I see a huge acceleration platform from a technology point of view.”

Worton adds that at the core of these digital transformation is that people make technology great. “What really excites me is that the technology tools are becoming easy to use, they're being more commoditized and the ability for us to be able to deploy them in whether it be a digital twin for buildings or a digital twin for supply chains or solving some of the world's most intractable problems and democratizing that. That's the thing that really excites me. I think we're just scratching the surface of what the opportunity of these types of technologies could be in terms of buildings, and technologies impacting building sites. I do think in that five to 10-year period, we're going to see some a real shift to autonomous buildings actually be a force for good for the environment.”
Innovation Technology Autonomous Buildings