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Report from the Digital Disruption Down Under: The 4th Industrial Revolution Hits Australia
I am here in Melbourne and Sydney this week with my colleague Joe Poskie to do a future visioning presentation at a Brookfield Global Integrated Services (BGIS) internal meeting and connect with some of my colleagues in these two wonderful cities. Joe and I are here to speak about the digital era we find ourselves working in and how Trimble’s Real Estate and Workplace Solutions group is experimenting and piloting some interesting new technologies, that when combined with the Manhattan Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS), will transform the way we work, including the Internet of Things and mixed reality brought to us by our partnerships with Microsoft and Google. Narelle Bray, Strategic Account Advisor for BGIS from our Sydney office was on her way to meet us when she sent a link to an interesting article that appeared in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald[1] on the advent of what is being called the 4th industrial revolution. According to Klaus Schwal, the founder to the World Economic Forum, “We stand at the brink of a technical revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another. In its scale, scope and complexity the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.” The article describes an innovation hub sponsored by private industry and a local university located in Central Sydney and focused on smart cities and agriculture. The work of this center will be creating new businesses with the technologies that are emerging in this era of digital business, particularly the Internet of Things (IoT). In a conversation later that evening with Duncan Waddell, an old fellow disruptor of the FM business model through the years and now head of Global FM, he mentioned that Australians being so far away from other centers of creativity have had to be innovative out of necessity and it is now being recognized by the international community. Another article I found published in the February issue of Boss, a magazine published by the Australian Financial Times was very interesting on the topic of “Digital Disruption” as authored by Joanne Gray. She described a talk recently given by Peter Weill, an Australian and now the chairman of the MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research, he discussed the rise of the position of the CIO, not unlike how we talk about the rise of the FMer and CRE Executive: how they are rising “out of the basement” and joining the executive and boards of directors in creating new “ecosystems” where the lines of the corporation and its key partners are blurred. In speaking how this transformative work can occur, Weill said they “evaluate the threats and opportunities of digital disruption and invest in growth options of the future, while continuing to manage the traditional business.” This is exactly what we are doing at Trimble as we create the Digital Workplace of the future for FM and RE, while at the same time tending to the core functional needs of the traditional business in areas like the FASB/IASB lease accounting changes. To be continued….

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