Facilio raises USD 35m for real estate AI initiative
DUBAI, UAE; NEW YORK CITY, USA, 22 February 2022: Property operations software platform company, Facilio said it has raised USD 35 million in Series B financing led by Dragoneer Investment Group, with participation from Brookfield Growth and existing investors, Accel India and Tiger Global Management.
“Our customers understand that success in a post-pandemic world will be achieved by driving efficiency gains and delivering smooth customer experiences,” said Prabhu Ramachandran, Founder & CEO, Facilio. “We are uniquely positioned to accelerate digital transformation in the built world and lead the industry’s transition towards IoT-led connected buildings. This investment will allow us to extend our market leadership, expand sales and marketing, and enable more companies to reach success through a predictive, connected model of real estate operations.” Facilio claimed it has emerged as a next-generation leader in the USD 50 billion commercial real estate-focused operations software market.
It said it has established a broad, global customer base and is rapidly gaining share with faster-than-market-sales growth across multiple geographies.
The company said its growing list of portfolio-scale deployments include commercial office buildings, retail chains, hospital systems and higher-education campuses.
Eric Jones, Partner, Dragoneer Investment Group, said: “Facilio has unlocked a world of potential with its AI-based predictive approach to increase operational effectiveness. We were blown away by the customer-love that Facilio receives from their diverse roster of global clients. The company is on its way to revolutionizing operations for real estate portfolios, and we are proud to support this customer-obsessed team.”
Facilio said it excels in guiding real estate portfolios through their digital transformation journey with its advanced IoT-native and mobile-first product offerings. As a result, it said, many leading organisations dealing with outdated solutions from incumbent vendors are turning to it for digital support.
Josh Raffaelli, Managing Partner, Brookfield, said: “We have been customers of Facilio, and now it’s incredible to be a partner in their journey. What Prabhu and the team are building isn’t merely a great product portfolio but a movement towards data-led property operations. The company is writing the blueprint for how modern real estate portfolios will operate in the next decade and beyond.”
CriticalAsset to unveil building maintenance automation software at AHR Expo
LAS VEGAS, Nevada, 31 January 2022: CriticalAsset, Inc. (exhibitor booth N11531), announced it will be unveiling its new flagship facilities management platform, CriticalAsset, on Jan 31 at the AHR Expo in Las Vegas. Making the announcement through a Press release, the company also spoke of USD 1.2MM in funding from Tamarisc VC, one of the country’s leading PropTech investors.
CriticalAsset said the platform is a beautiful software that simplifies facilities management, service, maintenance and documentation; lowers operating costs; and improves a building’s environmental footprint. It’s also the first software to offer a truly interactive digital twin, closing the gap between construction handoffs and building stakeholders, the company claimed.
The platform is a next-generation, mobile-first CMMS, which includes a suite of smart features, including:
- Smart Interactive Floorplans, which converts paper plans and assets into interactive digital documents
- Smart Electrical Panels, in which panel schedules, fed-from, fed-to and affected areas will be completely digital
- Smart Maintenance Scheduling, which automates service and maintenance scheduling
- Smart Work Orders, in which work orders with all key asset data can be created effortlessly by anyone and automatically shared with facilities teams, field technicians and others
- Smart Document Storage, in which all building documents, pictures and plans are securely stored in one place and instantly accessible 24/7.
According to the company, it is the first platform to incorporate AI into all critical aspects of facilities management. The platform solves some of the biggest problems facing virtually every building stakeholder, including facility managers, technicians, contractors, engineers and building owners, the company said.
Building information is scattered all over the place, is difficult to find and is inconsistent. Facilities teams still depend on messy plan rooms, paper notes, complicated spreadsheets, incompatible software apps and risky guesswork, and key knowledge often lives in one person’s head, creating single points of failure, the company pointed out.
Without automation, facilities teams are reactive versus proactive, which takes extra time, results in more asset breakdowns, increases operational costs and creates unnecessary safety risks, while worsening their environmental impact, the company pointed out.
Covid forced many facility managers with institutional knowledge into early retirement, leaving building and property stakeholders with knowledge gaps, creating new risks.
The CriticalAsset platform, the company said, solves all these problems with a single platform for facilities managers and all building stakeholders, offering instant, 24×7 remote access to all building information and tools needed to keep buildings healthy and operational.
“CriticalAsset makes it effortless for facilities managers, contractors and commercial property stakeholders to run their buildings remotely,” said Stewart Padveen, CEO, CriticalAsset. “It lowers operational costs and improves the safety of all occupants in buildings and facilities. There is nothing that compares to CriticalAsset’s simplicity.”
Carel signs agreement to acquire 51% of CFM Soğutma
BRUGINE, Padua, Italy, 10 May 2021: Carel Industries, on May 5, signed a binding agreement for the acquisition of 51% of CFM Soğutma ve Otomasyon A.Ş., a long-standing distributor and partner in Turkey as well as a provider of digital and on-field services and solutions dedicated to OEMs, contractors and end users in the Turkish HVACR market.
CFM’s workforce, based in its 6,500-square-metre Izmir facility, in Turkey, numbers 34, half of whom are part of the technical and engineering team, Carel said.
With major expertise in thermodynamics, mechanics, control and connectivity, CFM offers complete solutions, starting from system design and technical support, during the start-up phase of the plants, up to the remote monitoring and supervision service, Carel said. The offer, which is based on the proposal of the best brands and includes software development and customisation, customer training in its Academy as well as energy management services, allows CFM to stand out significantly, Carel said.
According to Carel, CFM has created a unique business model, demonstrated by its high rate of customer loyalty, its long-standing relationships with the country’s main retail chains and its particularly high profitability.
A peculiar feature of CFM is also that it invoices almost all its sales in euros, thereby protecting itself from fluctuations in the local currency, Carel pointed out. In 2020, CFM reported revenues of 14.5 million euros and EBITDA of five million euros, it said. It is expected that at the time of the closing of the operation the net financial position will be slightly positive, it pointed out.
Carel said the transaction is aligned with two of its key strategic directions: geographical expansion outside western Europe and the development of the services business – on-field and digital. The acquisition, the company said, will allow it to not only establish a direct presence in the important Turkish market and to have a solid platform for the development of its Middle East market but also to adopt a distinctive business model, characterised by a wide range of complementary services. The transaction will also allow it to further develop its potential in synergy with its hardware, IoT and thermodynamic competence, it said. After having established its success in the refrigeration sector, CFM, in fact, has extensive growth potential in air conditioning and humidification, it added.
The closing of the part-acquisition is expected by the end of July 2021 and is subject to obtaining the approval for the transaction from the local antitrust authorities, and meeting other conditions precedent that are characteristic of this type of agreement, Carel said. With this transaction, Carel said, it will take control of the Turkish company through the acquisition of 51% of the share capital of CFM, with an enterprise value of 23.1 million euros for the stake. The acquisition of the remaining 49% of CFM, the valuation of which is tied to the Turkish company’s future results, is governed by a cross-option mechanism between the parties, exercisable between 2024 and 2027, Carel said. This structure in which the current management is heavily involved in the company in the medium term, it added, ensures a complete alignment of interests during the integration period of CFM into CAREL.
Carrier launches Abound
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida, 27 April 2021: Carrier Global Corporation on April 26 launched Abound, which it described in a Press release as a new cloud-native platform, as part of its growing investment in digital solutions designed to give people confidence in the health and safety of their indoor environments. Abound is an open-technology platform that aggregates data from different systems and sensors and provides building owners, operators and occupants transparency into relevant and contextual insights about air quality, thermal comfort and other performance data, the company said.
“Abound will transform a building owner’s ability to optimize the indoor environment, boosting the confidence of each visitor and occupant,” said Dave Gitlin, Chairman & CEO, Carrier. “The access to real-time actionable data for indoor air quality and other building systems and sensors embodies the future of building health and performance for customers around the globe. With this launch, we are moving closer to establishing industry standards that will provide owners, operators and occupants greater confidence in their indoor spaces.”
According to Carrier, Abound is a cloud-native offering that uses advanced technology to make building environments more intelligent, efficient and responsive. It connects directly to existing building systems and sensors with no need for upgrades, retrofitting or replacements. And, unlike other building management platforms, Abound is designed to easily work with all systems regardless of manufacturer, to unlock and unite siloed data to provide more powerful, actionable insights, Carrier claimed. The platform can be rapidly installed and scaled and showcases data on a single pane of glass and via remote readings, the company added.
According to Carrier, a hallmark feature of the platform is the ability for building operators to benchmark building performance related to air quality, ventilation and humidity against the thresholds identified by certain air features within the WELL Building Standard (WELL) from the International WELL Building Institute, which works for achieving healthy buildings. Building owners will have the ability to display real-time information and messaging about a building’s health through the Abound application programming interface (API), which can be used to create digital wallboards and support mobile experiences, Carrier said.
“We’re proud that the thresholds in the Abound platform are based on the WELL Building Standard’s air quality features, helping Carrier to make something as invisible as air quality more visible and actionable,” said Rachel Hodgdon, IWBI’s President and CEO. “This platform will help streamline pathways for customers to measure, communicate and report their progress toward WELL Certification, advancing IWBI’s overall mission to advance people first places around the world.”
According to Carrier, Abound is currently being piloted across the United States, with customers in the commercial building, K-12 education and sports and entertainment industries, including Trust Park, home to the Atlanta Braves. It is also operating at Carrier’s world headquarters and building technology showcase, the Center for Intelligent Buildings in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
“We are thrilled to participate in the pilot of the Abound platform to give fans a safer and more informed spectator experience,” said Jim Allen, Senior Vice President of Corporate and Premium Partnerships for the Atlanta Braves. “The visual displays strategically placed throughout the stadium will provide our guests a real-time look at how our systems are working together to improve air quality. Sports bring people together, and the game just isn’t the same without our incredible fans here at the ballpark and we’re excited to welcome them back.”
While a tool for building owners, Abound was designed with building occupants and the general public in mind, Carrier said. It will make the invisible – air quality – visible through a smart, simple interface, and using its API and responsive display generators, building owners can communicate building health strategies, health performance metrics or the live indoor air quality summary through in-building digital displays, mobile applications or existing digital experiences.
“The launch of Abound underscores Carrier’s leadership in digital innovation and ability to move quickly to exceed our customers’ needs,” said Bobby George, Senior Vice President & Chief Digital Officer, Carrier. “The platform came together in a fraction of a year, and I couldn’t be prouder of the team. Abound’s platform architecture was designed around open standards and modern cloud native technologies and can quickly adapt to a wide range of integration and connectivity and scaling needs. The platform is comprehensive and delivers value to our customers through the complete integration of software, hardware and digital analytics.”
Digitalisation of cold chain assets
While 2020 will undoubtedly join the pantheon of eminently forgettable years in modern recorded history, it will be remembered as the time when we further strengthened the food sector by making use of opportunities presented by technology and other disciplines. Indeed, it would be accurate to say that the pandemic sent food retailers into a tizzy with consumers relying on e-commerce platforms more than ever.
Now, amidst the melee that ensued on the front end, very few noticed the steady rise of IoT acceleration at the back end or the machinery. With that, the need for digitalisation of refrigeration technical assets started gaining pace with the objective of improved energy efficiency.
Since October 2020, companies such as Eliwell Schneider Electric, Danfoss, Carel, Carrier, Emerson, Bitzer and Daikin vigorously started showcasing their digital solutions through such shows as e-Chillventa. The digital ‘show of strength’ highlighted the importance attached to digital transformation and its vast positive implications on operational efficiency. Based on these developments, CPI Industry, which is organising the Food Chain conference – and in doing do so, stands on the threshold of conducting the 10th edition of the event – has aptly themed it as, “Digital transformation of cold chain & food machinery technical assets”.
Apart from the topic of food safety, the conference will be a platform for brainstorming on IoT acceleration, which is one of the main pillars of Industry 4.0 in back-end technical assets. Digital transformation is the current business buzz-term in the GCC region, and I do believe there is considerable untapped market potential for this in cold chain verticals.
What is digitalisation? How is it different from digitisation? Is it technological or cultural?
Who are responsible for making it happen? How does it help the cold chain verticals? Whom does it benefit? Why do we need it? To what extent does it play a role in energy and eco efficiency and sustainability? What are the human and technology-related processes? What are the skills required and their availability in the region? Is digital transformation a bane or a boon? Do we indeed need to incorporate digitalisation to progress?
I look forward to answering these and more in the April issue.
The writer is an independent cold chain consultant after having served in the refrigeration sector in the GCC region as part of major MNCs. In May 2021, he will serve as Chairperson of the 10th edition of the Middle East Cold Chain Food Safety Conference, popularly known as Food Chain. He may be contacted at email@example.com
Empower reveals AED 901 million net profit in 2020
According to Empower, performance in a nutshell
- Total cooling capacity crossed 1,640,000 RT, maintaining the position of the largest district cooling provider in the world
- Over 140,000 customers
- Total energy saving AED 3.4 billion in 2020
- A total of 350.474 kilometres of district cooling networks
DUBAI, UAE, 20 January 2020: Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) reported a net profit of AED 901 million, with a total revenue of AED 2.26 billion in 2020. Making the announcement through a Press release, Empower said its revenues grew by three per cent, with a net profit increase of 3.4% year-over-year (YoY). Empower added that the performance has been commendable, given the difficult economic conditions resulting from the global pandemic.
Commenting on Empower’s financial results at the annual press conference, Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO, Empower, said: “2020 has been another successful year for Empower, with growth in its financial as well as operational performance, which is clearly evident from increase in revenues and net profit, additions in the number of district cooling plants, expansion of district cooling pipeline network, increase in customer base and the number of buildings connected with our district cooling services.”
According to Empower, the number of buildings it provides with its district cooling services exceeded 1,252, and the customer base has reached more than 140,000. The total cooling capacity has reached 1,640,000 Refrigeration Tons (RT) during 2020 that covered various projects, such as Deira Waterfront, Blue Waters, Jumeirah Group, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai International Financial Centre, Business Bay, Dubai Healthcare City, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Palm Jumeirah, Discovery Gardens, Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai Design District and International Media Production Zone, amongst others, the utility said.
“Empower has also saved a total of 1,312 MW of electricity worth AED 3.4 billion, as of the end of 2020,” Bin Shafar said.
On the sidelines of the press conference, Bin Shafar also said: “We are proud of our achievements in terms of increased number of district cooling plants that has reached 84 plants across Dubai, including the world’s first unmanned district cooling plant in Jumeirah Village Circle project, along with having the largest district cooling network.
“Empower is committed towards efficient utilization of energy resources and supporting its customers and real estate developers, by providing high-quality and eco-friendly district cooling services.”
Bin Shafar also stated that Empower had reduced its fuel surcharge rates by approximately 25%, effective December 1, 2020, in line with the initiative of the Dubai’s Supreme Council of Energy.
He added: “We will continue our endeavors in 2021 to increase the number of district cooling plants and expand our district cooling network across Dubai.”
ASHRAE, CIBSE sign strategic partnership agreement
ATLANTA, Georgia, 15 December 2020: ASHRAE and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) have signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA) formalizing the organizations’ relationship, ASHRAE said through a Press release.
Charles E Gulledge III, 2020-21 ASHRAE President, and Stuart MacPherson, CIBSE President, signed an SPA during a virtual signing ceremony on December 10. The agreement outlines how ASHRAE and CIBSE will work cooperatively on activities that serve their respective memberships, to promote the advancement of a more sustainable built-environment through HVAC&R technologies and their applications.
According to ASHRAE, areas of collaboration include:
- Joint initiatives aimed at accelerating the progression of digital technologies and research
- Virtual design and construction to improve the resilience of buildings and the health of occupants in an increasingly challenging climate
- Coordinated promotion of joint grassroots meetings and conferences
- Advocacy and work on common public affairs goals and ideologies
- Consistent leadership communication
- Publication development and distribution
- Education and professional development co-development and cross marketing
“Our continued collaboration with CIBSE provides a meaningful opportunity to coordinate efforts on innovative technologies and resources to advance the growth of the built environment,” Gulledge said. “We value this partnership with CIBSE and are excited to leverage this collaboration to move the industry and buildings towards a more sustainable future.”
MacPherson said: “We are delighted to sign this agreement with ASHRAE and strengthen the long-standing relationship between our organisations. The increasing local and global challenges of maintaining safe, healthy and efficient built-environments marks this as a particularly auspicious time to share knowledge and expertise to enhance our offerings for the benefit of both our members and wider society.”