Interview by Miguel Pinto in Expansión: "Vía Célere allocated 15% of costs to innovation"
· April 20, 2018 | Expansión
The development sector must advance in its industrialization process, with digital transformation as a major outstanding issue, and find the way to innovation. This is one of the mantras of Miguel Pinto, Director of Strategy at Vía Célere and one of the five general managers of the developer controlled by Värde.
“It is essential to invest in innovation in order to advance. Approximately 15% to 20% of our costs are allocated to innovation”, said the manager in an interview with EXPANSIÓN.
In particular, the company is currently working on several fronts: sustainability, adaptive building, BIM projects (Building Information Modelling); Last Planner Systems, corporate social responsibility and digitalization and big data.
“We want to create refuges for customers, which help them be isolated from external noise but, in turn, connected to the world with a single click, which requires investing in home automation”, he said.
For Miguel Pinto, customers are increasingly looking for sustainable buildings, to have spaces that allow them to interact with friends or neighbours and, in turn, keep their homes as a "refuge" For this reason, Vía Célere works to develop buildings with almost zero energy consumption –with thermal enclosure, underfloor heating or renewable energies such as geothermal or aerothermal– and in the creation of community environments –study areas for children, social and gourmet rooms, sports facilities, children's playgrounds, vegetable gardens or rooftop zen areas–.
Pinto recognizes that there is a cost when implementing an idea in the market, but the return, as regards growth, "exceeds this effort". And he highlights: “From bearing the costs to delivering the homes, we must have an internal control of all the departments and monitoring of any outsourced construction work. We have a long-term relationship with the constructors and we have a project audit service”.
In terms of technology, he explains that digital transformation is one of the sector's major "pending issues" and one of the company's priorities. "In the planning department, for example, it is critical to know the general and partial plan to meet the permit deadlines. This requires reading many extracts from the Property Register which follow a pattern. If we can develop an algorithm to extract the relevant information, this will allow us to obtain useful information for the town planner".
In addition, the company wants to advance in the development of big data solutions. "We know a lot about the customer. Confidential information that, once anonymized, allows us to adapt to the needs of potential buyers".
Regarding the industry, Pinto believes that consolidation will be achieved. "We have a sector that is still very fragmented and there is room for concentration, since none of the current developers will have more than a 5% market share. We see ourselves as agents in the natural concentration process of the sector".
For the manager, the consolidation will increase volume and professionalize the sector. "The new competitors listed on the stock exchange are very good professionals but they lack an optimized value chain because they have not delivered 2,300 homes like we have.
However, they are very fast, which will result in new standards for the sector and more innovation".