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How can owners make better decisions with the help of analytics?

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How can owners make better decisions with the help of analytics?


Sasha Reed | October 1, 2015

At this year’s BIMForum, I was really excited to sit down with David Fano so I could share his interesting perspective on BIM and data analytics with you. You can watch the entire interview here.

Formerly with CASE, Fano is now the Chief Technology Officer at WeWork. Their famous T-shirt slogan, “bldgs = data,” has spurred some interesting conversations within the BIM community, but it’s their philosophy which continues to drive their innovative projects with WeWork. 

True confession: I’ve been a fan of Fano’s work for some time now and took every liberty I could to spread the word through tweeting a post-interview picture. Why the excitement, you ask? The main reason is because, like Fano, I believe we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of data analytics and the ways it can help us better understand the built environment and the processes we define to get there. 

At a time when many in the industry are working towards creating baseline standards in order to define BIM for the masses, Fano and his team refocused the conversation by tapping into pure, raw data.  Gathering data from various sources, then analyzing it and parsing it, is done by those the data science community refer to as “data wranglers.” Knowing the value of sourcing data from various sources, even outside of the model is where Fano believes analytics can be used to deliver the right information to the project team. 

Not long after starting CASE, the firm took on WeWork as a customer. Their aim was to help one of the fastest-growing office space lease holders in the US to redefine the commercial development of office space. As one of the tops startups in the world, WeWork has opened 42 offices in over 15 cities worldwide over the last five years. Together, they’ve leveraged data analytics to drive their building decisions at a level not seen outside of retail giants like Crate & Barrel. On August 5, 2015, WeWork acquired CASE and aims to continue to innovate the creation and function of office space as we know it.

Prior to the acquisition, Fano presented at BIMForum with Roni Bahar, Director of Development at WeWork. They co-presented the case study, “Delivering Data: Coordinating Building Information.”    Together, they showed how one client relationship was leveraged to drive multiple projects and prove the value of BIM through data analytics. When I asked Fano about this topic off stage, he shared his belief that analytics offer a way to measure and ultimately define a strategic path towards an owner’s “true north” or ultimate goal. They then work to use these analytics to help them create the procedural, technical and social infrastructure necessary to help the owner achieve their ultimate goal. Digging deeper into the effects on social infrastructure, Fano believes this type of work creates the need for translators and curators of information within project teams. Curious to understand who he sees filling these roles I asked how data analytics will affect the people on future project teams.  Fano states he sees the younger generation’s expectations of technology driving the movement towards change. 

Seeing this shift firsthand in the tech world, it’s not a huge leap of faith to imagine these young innovators finding themselves fulfilling Fano’s prophecy one day soon. I tell you one thing: if WeWork and Fano continue to set their true north to evolving the design of office space, the future may be closer than you think.

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