DisruptCRE Q&A: Nirva Fereshetian

Nirva Fereshetian, Chief Information Officer, CBT Architects spoke with DisruptCRE about the impact of increased connectivity, and the merging of the digital and physical worlds in commercial real estate.

In what areas of your business do you see technology making the greatest impact?

Individually, all of them are making an impact but I think the bigger aspect really is getting out of this traditional model of siloed progress into connecting design, construction, asset management, and user experience all together so that we deliver a really impactful product. I think that’s where the real forward-thinking companies are coming through…individually, all of these aspects are making progress, it’s when we’re trying to put them all together that really makes a difference. Whether it’s the digital technology or the data, or how to explore the new opportunities that all these things are bringing together.

It’s more about connecting the dots and getting out of this current model where the traditional perspective of divisions between design…construction…handing off the building and making the asset management people start to work. I think the integration across the board is where the greatest impact is.

Can you give an example of how the digital world is being blended into the built environment? What are some of the implications, whether it’s for occupiers or landlords?

I think sensor technology is the highlight of that blending, because it provides the tools and the data that hold the answer to all the questions, whether it’s opening up new opportunities, improving efficiencies, or creating a totally different experience whether it’s an office building or a residential building, ultimately it’s just enhancing usage of the space, usage of the building overall.

[Also] interpreting the data that’s getting collected  in terms of intent to use versus actual usage and how you can make improvements to modify or help figure out a better way of using it.

Technology is deepening connections not just with people and their spaces, but people and each other.

I think the workplace strategies of enhancing performance, enhancing health and wellness, enhancing communication between people or even…creating spaces where different types of people and explorations- accidental explorations…that are happening to improve creativity is what the connection between the people [has created]. Potentially the spaces and the technology…[connect] people who would not come together or would not see each other…would not have been exposed so that you can have a better collaboration. On the residential side…it’s an access to things, beyond even health and wellness…whether this is crowdsourcing, noise control, indoor quality choices, whether it’s making employees or being residential tenants being more engaged with each other.