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May 25th, 2018: EU GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION

most important facts to know for the real estate sector

On 25th of May 2018 essential changes are coming for all companies that are processing personal data. For example, corporations who recording data of suppliers, customers, sending newsletters, and so on are directly affected. In fact it is relevant to all companies – especially in the marketing department. In the real estate sector, the new regulation relates to data of tenants and lessors as well as data of tenancy agreements.

To be well prepared for the new regulations, metamagix offers an advanced anonymization and data extract module (metamagix.ICRS Anonymization & GDPR). Primarily corporations should do an analysis of the actual state of the handling of personal data. This means to become clear which personal data is processed as well as which personal data is recorded and how long the personal data may be stored. It is important to have a record of processing activities (including contact data of your own business, purpose of the processing, description of the categories of data subjects and of the categories of personal data, envisaged time limits for deletion of the different categories of data and a general description of the technical and organisational security measures).

Especially in the sector of data handling we are expecting big changes. From May 2018 persons have to assent the recording of their personal data – currently this is only necessary with sensitive data. A further subject is to automate conversion of personal data to be able to supply information in the future. All persons have to be informed about the data handling and for the automatization of targeting, the users have to agree as well. For printed mailings you do not need an explicitly agreement from the consumer. When using digital media, the regulations a bit different: in this case you need the unambiguous agreement from the users, e.g. in showing interest or an interaction with your company.

A further task is the obligation to disclose the held data to persons. Therefore the company has to provide information of the recorded data and the use of it on request. To support companies to handle with this new regulation and to avoid penalties, metamagix developed an advanced anonymization module in cooperation with clients. “In the real estate sector the primary field of application of GDPR is handling data like name, address and birth date of tenants. This data has to be recorded for at least seven years after expiration of a contract – the ‘Right to be forgotten’” explains Randolph Kepplinger, managing partner of metamagix. “Software accordingly has to automatically delete or anonymize this personal data after expiration of the deadline – and ICRS does exactly that, reliable and automated.” elaborates Kepplinger. In addition to the automated processing the new module offers the possibility to manually anonymize the data in case of a request. And the software covers the regulations of “Right to Access”: this is also easily done in ICRS.  In case of an enquiry of the contract partner, a zipped information file with all data stored for the person can be generated and handed over to the person.

Furthermore it is possible in the ICRS-CRM module to incorporate checkboxes and attributes like consent for newsletters or mailings so that this information can be stored alongside contracts and other agreements with clients and suppliers.

In general the GDPR will harmonize the data privacy laws in the EU and replace the national laws. The institutional rules of action bring clear structures to the individual legislations of the member states that currently have a high level of creative leeway.

According to Kepplinger it is a critical point of GDPR to record and store personal data outside the EU because you need an explicit agreement of the parties – and this agreement may be withdrawn at any time. This also affects cloud hosting as well as development and support in non-EU-countries.

If there is a data breach you have to inform the national regulation authority and the aggrieved client within 72 hours. Violations of the new regulation can also be caused by a data loss. The punishment in case of a violation of the new regulation range partially lies in a range of million Euros. More

Innovation and integration by metamagix

capture the whole life cycle of real estate

“We see ICRS as a real estate life-cycle platform”, explains Martin Gilly, managing partner of metamagix, “and the new functions of our real estate management system bring us a big step closer to our goal.” From the acquisition to the exit, from the first letter of intent to the handover in the active portfolio, from daily asset management to the sale of the property: with ICRS it is possible to capture the whole life cycle of the real estate. This supports the individual teams in their daily work because they work together in only one system. “Each department benefits directly from the fact that their processes are structured in ICRS – but when the handover from investment management to asset management is done with just one click, this adds a significant value to the corporation,” states Gilly.

The ICRS acquisition module makes the vision of deep integration visible – that a real estate goes through different departments during its life cycle: the module structures the acquisition process as well as documents and tracks the milestones. At the same time, the module provides the data, documents and approvals for the next department, asset management. The modules “Sales Pipeline” and “Development Management” bring also these processes to ICRS and thereby create an integrative platform for the real estate business which holds not only the whole portfolio data, standing and pipeline but also all processes and their documentation.

To guarantee smooth transactions a smart handling of documents is necessary. A central feature is the multi-upload which is combined with a drag and drop function so it can save several pictures and documents to one object and unit within the system in one step. In addition, the data can be processed automatically via this function: rent rolls or accounting data are loaded directly by dropping them into a list in the system.

The intelligent search function that ICRS offers is state-of-the art: with this service it is possible to search personal data independent of spelling. This is especially useful when searching addresses because the local spellings are often different internationally and all the systems processes benefit from the optimized matching.

Furthermore, the problem of the different spellings of company names (e.g. “A.B. GesmbH” for “A. Bau GmbH”) is also solved with this module. Last but not least, the intelligent search facilitates data transfer from one alphabet to another (additional character, Cyrillic to Latin,…), e.g. for names. “ICRS is running in all of Europe.”, says Gilly.

“A challenge in the enhancement of ICRS in the direction of deeper integration is usability. It is important for our users to keep the handling easy and the processes transparent.” Gilly sums up. Conseqeuently, metamagix also focuses more and more on mobile access to the system. “For us it is important to offer our clients an easier daily work life with ICRS.mobile. In our fast-living society, a mobile version provides a substantial benefit for our users.”, Gilly is pleased to say. The mobile version of the system is currently in the beta phase – watch out for more on this topic in our next newsletter.

One click to the strategy

“The derivation of standard strategies for real estate based on the standardized market-attractiveness competitive-advantage-matrix according to the Boston Consulting Group which offers a great tool for a supportive one-click strategy analysis for the modern portfolio manager,” describes Lasse Cziesla of the portfolio and risk management of the Federal Real Estate Agency BIG the common tool for the creation of standard strategies. One problem, however, is the simple, fast comprehensible representation of the data.

This is where metamagix comes into play – we have implemented an application for the analysis and presentation of large real estate portfolios. The data can be represented in four dimensions: with the help of abscissa and ordinate, as well as with the size of the bubble and colors, it is possible to simply display static variables in a dynamic environment and make them accessible to interpretation. Through a “multi-stage zoom function” into the matrix, cluster collections can also be viewed and analyzed visually in detail. “The requirements were that the system can be individually adapted, that there are individual settings for the strategy department that can be customized, and that the system will remain powerful and responsive, even with large amounts of data,” explains Martin Gilly, managing partner of metamagix. “Portfolio managers want to quickly analyze their assets to derive strategies based on their profiles. With our tool, they get a solid decision-making aid to answer the essential questions – which properties are core objects, which assets should I keep and which ones to sell. ”

Certainly, an automatically derived standard strategy represents only a theoretical strategy optimum. Concrete single-asset strategies are superior to the standard strategy by their direct reference to the respective property. However, the standard strategy is, among other things, a great instrument for the controlling function of the portfolio manager. Lasse Cziesla sees the implementation of the portfolio matrix by metamagix as an enriching analysis possibility: “The freedom from analysis is virtually without limit. When configured accordingly, the system enables analyzes of self-levied rent-increase-potential in relation to the achieved total return according to IPD guidelines for partial portfolios of the asset manager in selected regions and for various financial reports. ”

Data matching with Fuzzy Logic

Many users of ICRS (Real Estate Controlling & Reporting System) regularly receive monthly rental lists. One problem: since the information is fed from different data sources, it is often unclear, for example, when the name of a tenant is once registered as “Alpha Beta GmbH” and once as “AB GmbH”. This can prevent the tenant from being clearly identified – the quality of the data is reduced. The naming of units also is often inconsistent and the information about the duration of tenancy conditions can vary because of the input of different start and end dates. However, since many companies need reliable rental histories, data often has to be edited manually. Thus the question arose whether metamagix has a technical solution to this problem.
Our answer was “intelligent data matching”. The core is to define an operating scale of similarity for different parameters. If we take the example mentioned above, our software should now be able to recognize independently that “Alpha Beta GmbH” and “AB GmbH” are very similar to each other and – in deduction – are identical. In addition to tenant names, also information about type of use, areas, price per sqm. and contract start dates are checked to what extent they match. With “fuzzy matching”, probabilities of which parameter from the previous period corresponds to the value of the current period are now calculated. Through the algorithm, data comparisons can now be analyzed better, even in the case of inadequate data quality. Customers already use this solution for the analysis of thousands of properties.

ICRS for one of Austria’s largest real estate holdings

ARE is wholly owned by Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft (BIG; federal real estate company) of the Republic of Austria and manages a portfolio of hundreds of marketable office, commercial and development properties.

Professional software for strategic portfolio and asset management is essential, especially for Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft m.b.H., one of the largest real estate owners, which has approximately 2,200 properties with a fair market value of nearly 12 billion euro.

At the BIG, the use of ICRS is implemented in several stages. During the first stage, the most essential modules for asset management were implemented at ARE Austrian Real Estate GmbH. In the meantime, this project has been completed and has proved to be a complete success; it was implemented within just five months and within budget. Our customer particularly appreciates the combination of an appropriate IT solution and metamagix’ specialist real estate know-how.

At the next stage, ICRS will be introduced and further refined at the BIG, too.

A market environment that is moving ever faster, increasing complexity and increasing demands on reporting call for a system that enables each user to get the right information and KPIs in a simple, fast and reliable manner to in the end be able to optimally and professionally control the real estate portfolio. We are pleased to note that ICRS has been selected for that purpose.

ICRS: New Release “Astove”

Martin Gilly and Randolph Kepplinger, the two owners and managing directors of metamagix, stated, “ICRS has proven absolutely successful at a national and international level. Astove is a product that has been even further improved in response to customer requirements and based on recent years’ experience.”

While ICRS is becoming ever more efficient, metamagix makes sure to design navigation and operation to be as simple and intuitive as possible. The new dashboard function provides a quick overview (including trend graphs) and enables the user to choose from a number of specific portfolio data. Greater ease of input, such as text suggestions in selected fields, and additional filters for search functions also go in this direction. Improved query options as a result of additional operators allow the user to create even more detailed and meaningful reports. A separate feedback tool allows the user to report suggestions for improvement or problems, including screenshots, to metamagix in a single step, in an even simpler way. Such feedback will contribute to continuously developing ICRS; we are looking forward to your suggestions!

We will make available ICRS Astove to our customers free of charge.

Please click here to see screenshots of the new features.

metamagix is doing research on a “digital bulletin board”

ourhouse1b
So far, digitization and networking have played a minor role in information systems in residential and commercial properties. The “Infos@ourHouse” research project provides a promising, sustainable perspective: Interactive, gesture-controlled multimedia info displays.

 
 

Especially real estate management companies can considerably benefit from it. Information needs can be satisfied more quickly and reliably, at lower costs, by announcing specific deadlines or site information for the respective property. Moreover, the publication of general operating cost statements or current energy consumption can raise awareness and readiness for changes in action. On the displays in the entrance area, a property manager can also offer vacant apartments and other rental units in this or other properties directly from ICRS by a single click and thus quickly reduce vacancy rates at low costs.

The occupants can also benefit from a number of advantages. General information is now offered promptly, reliably and in a state-of-the-art-form. Additional information such as weather forecasts, traffic information or departure times of nearby public transportation will enhance convenience. For the future, one could imagine extending the system to include the integration of IP cameras, for example, for live display of garage entrances or other locations, to increase building safety.

The user can select content using hand gestures, which is up-to-date and hygienic. Additionally, gesture control instead of touch screen control allows the user to place the displays at a higher level, in a vandal-proof position.

Interfaces to real estate management systems―and this is where the expertise of metamagix and ICRS come into play―allow the user to display a wealth of information and ensure user-friendly system maintenance and management. Optionally, the info displays can be loaded in a concentrated form, and additional functionalities and interfaces that are already available can be used, which will minimize expenses and training periods for property managers.

“Infos@ourHouse” is designed for stable 24/7 use in residential and commercial buildings; it consists of a low-cost hardware-software combination and involves low energy costs.

Jointly with for-lan, a Viennese company specializing in IT security and IP, and the Computer Vision Lab (CVL) of the Vienna University of Technology, metamagix is doing research on Infos@ourHouse,” sponsored by the Research Agency of the City of Vienna.

Effective immediately, the system is tested in Austria. We would be pleased to welcome your company as a new research partner. Except for a small amount of work to be performed by you for power connection and installation of the monitor, no further expenses will be incurred by you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at +43 1 9902 804 and office@metamagix.net.

Cross-border use of ICRS in Europe

ICRS, our real estate controlling and reporting system, can beat its competitors in EU-wide tenders and is already in use in several European countries. One of our international customers uses ICRS in a total of eight CEE countries. What is so special about the scenario is that the subsidiaries of the company in the these countries benefit from ICRS although the company uses ICRS as a centrally controlled system, since data ownership remains with the respective country and the subsidiaries can create their own reports and analyses. The headquarters has the same view of the system in terms of time and content because the data entered by the companies is immediately avialable centrally.

Actually, ICRS is used by companies in Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro. The fact that three different data flows (costs and revenues, book values and spaces, contracts and, portfolio structure) in each national company, totaling 24 data flows, lead to a reporting system and different currencies, data systems and, which is obligatory at ICRS, different languages are taken into account demonstrates metamagix’s exceptional interface expertise.

metamagix.ICRS has won an EU-wide tender from ARE

An outstanding success for metamagix: Our ICRS real estate controlling and reporting system has secured metamagix a contract with Austrian Real Estate (ARE).

ARE is wholly owned by Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft (BIG; federal real estate company) of the Republic of Austria and is one of Austria’s largest real estate owners. As of December 31, 2014, it managed a portfolio of 610 office, commercial and development properties with 1.6 million square meters of rentable space. The fair market value of the portfolio is 2.3 billion euros.

So far, ARE has made available properties primarily for federal purposes. One of ARE’s main strategic goals is to further increase its sales with private business partners, including establishing and developing a housing portfolio. In that area, ARE is going to invest up to two billion euros over the next few years. Currently, developments with well over 4,000 apartments are under construction or being prepared, with the entire portfolio being located in Austria.

ICRS is designed to play a part in implementing that strategy. “We are delighted with winning this contract, considering the accuracy and wide scope of the tender,” Martin Gilly, Managing Partner at metamagix, states. ARE has opted for a comprehensive system with a range of modules. Implementation of this system has already begun, and launching the first stage for going live in summer will mark the first major milestone.