Singapore-based developer GuocoLand Limited, along with its subsidiaries, has established a series of partnerships with local technology companies to accelerate the digitalisation of its business. The Group plans to implement more than 20 digital-related projects over the next two years.
The partnerships with local companies, including Airsquire, Groundup.ai, Operva AI, SpaceAge Labs and Doxa, will focus on projects that will deploy artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), drone technology and smart devices, among others.
Facilitated by Enterprise Singapore (ESG), such initiatives will enable GuocoLand to enhance its productivity and efficiency, improve workplace safety standards and mitigate manpower constraints over time. These collaborations will also benefit the Group’s stakeholders, including consultants, contractors, buyers and tenants.
“The digitalisation drive will impact and uplift the entire value chain of the built environment sector, from design, procurement and contracts, construction methodology, site management and quality surveillance, to facility management,” said GuocoLand.
“The transformation of Singapore’s built environment sector requires all organisations in the eco-system to play their part,” explained Cheng Hsing Yao, CEO of GuocoLand. “As we studied the technologies available, we found many cutting-edge innovations being pioneered by local start-ups. We decided to support our home-grown companies and collaborate with them to co-create more innovative and sustainable solutions.”
GuocoLand will be deploying Operva AI for inspecting the facade of its residential developments. Utilising drone technology with infrared thermography and AI capabilities, this innovation could replace the traditional water test for detecting leakage in new buildings and aid in pre-emptive building maintenance of older buildings.
Airsquire’s technology will also be adopted to capture 360-degree site progress inspection photos of projects under construction, thus enabling project managers to remotely check and compare construction progress virtually. This technology will be applied at the site of Midtown Modern, GuocoLand’s latest development.
According to GuocoLand, Airsquire will also conduct a pilot test on the use of AI in producing an interactive 360-degree measurable virtual ‘street view’, which allows project managers to easily compare what has been built with the BIM designs.
Another application of AI in residential developments is the Groundup.ai solution to monitor the well-being of the elderly. Groundup.ai’s predictive algorithm works in tandem with computer vision technology to predict potential falls or distresses based on the person’s past movement patterns. GuocoLand is exploring how such technology can be scaled and integrated into future residential developments to meet the needs of an ageing population.
For commercial technology applications, the Group’s partnership with SpaceAge Labs will utilise wireless IoT sensors, IoT cloud and machine learning to monitor water meters on each office floor and lights in hard-to-reach areas like the crown of Guoco Tower (Singapore’s tallest building). Additionally, GuocoLand is working with Doxa on a procurement system as well as an application to streamline its facility management.
Four of the initial batch of digitalisation initiatives (by Airsquire, Groundup.ai, Operva AI and Doxa) are pilot projects. “They have the potential to progress to proof of concept, demonstrate new application in the built environment sector, and digitalise processes,” said GuocoLand. The Group further mentioned that for SpaceAge Labs, this will be the first time its technology is scaled up for tests and implementation in an entire commercial building.
Mr Cheng added, “We hope that these pilot projects will create game-changing technologies for the built environment sector and result in a faster and higher rate of industry adoption. Some of these innovations could even be exported to other countries and cities that face the same challenges as Singapore in sustainable urban development.”
Jane Ong, lead of digitalisation committee at GuocoLand said, “We have always valued innovation in our products and services. Covid-19’s disruption of the built environment sector has heightened the need to digitalise and innovate processes in creating our products and services. We recognise that, as a developer and building owner, we are the main procurer of products and services and hold a pivotal position in directing the development of the built environment sector.”
Innovations at Guoco Tower
Prior to these pilot projects, GuocoLand had already been using advanced technologies in its developments and rolled out a number of digital initiatives and solutions across its core businesses in Singapore.
For example, Guoco Tower’s innovative HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) systems keep the indoor environment cool and healthy through high-performance air filters rated MERV 14 with dust spot efficiency up to 95%. In addition, the filtered air goes through the ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) process which kills 90% of airborne pathogens.
More recently, several technologies in cleaning automation have been employed to improve Guoco Tower’s safety and wellness standards. A trial is also ongoing for the building to utilise indoor air quality sensors by air health company uHoo – another homegrown start-up – in keeping the workplace environment clean and healthy for occupants.
Furthermore, GuocoLand is collaborating with IoT-enhanced lift maintenance company WeMaintain, who is currently in discussion with Building and Construction Authority (BCA) for lifts equipped with remote monitoring and diagnostic capabilities to come under a testbed programme.
Lastly, homeowners at Martin Modern, GuocoLand’s recently completed condominium, may conduct home inspections with ease on their mobile phones through the Novade app. GuocoLand has also developed an in-house bespoke eSignature platform jointly with Australian tech company GetSignature to improve productivity and traceability of signed documents and agreements.