Studies about digitalization in real estate show that it is mostly understood that data is the key to future-proof portfolios. However, the industry is facing something of an uphill battle. This intensive requirement for high levels of granularity (resolution), accuracy, currency and richness in data has become a major challenge, not to mention the explosive growth in data being generated and accumulated – commonly known under the catch-all term of Big Data – is something every industry is grappling with, real estate being no different. All manner of data, structured and unstructured, is piling up from the real estate sector, be it intentional from smart building sensors (automated systems, IoT technologies, wireless technologies, intelligent building management systems, digital infrastructures, remote monitoring, etc.) or retroactively implemented data parsing and generation from existing, traditional buildings.

No single instrument can be used to make a large impact, building portfolios have to implement a combination of effective tools and emerging technologies to be able to integrate profitability targets, decarbonization and people wellbeing goals.

At its core: data which are mostly trapped in physics or locked in data silos.

Unlocking new and unforeseen possibilities

A Common Data Model can be described as Lingua Franca for data in the real estate industry. It forms the basis of the BuildingMinds real estate management platform and serves as a backbone all real estate-related business processes. By integrating all relevant data it provides investors, owners and process-stakeholders the exactly right information: from a holistic, birds-eye view of the portfolio to grassroots, granular building focus, effectively integrating a long-term strategic view and day-to-day operational processes.

In combination with the integration of all data in a single platform, a Common Data Model is the key to

  • Safely store all data in a single, centralized platform
  • Create a fast and scalable environment
  • Provide all stakeholders with the exact right information at the right time
  • Ensure compliance and data governance
  • Smarter and more informed decision-making based on requirement-specific reports and dashboards
  • Leverage advanced automation by utilizing emerging tech such as artificial intelligence and machine learning

Inspired by a famous role model

Open Data Initiative by Microsoft, Adobe and SAP

The concept of the Common Data Model is derived from Microsoft’s Open Data Initiative and already established in other industries such as automotive or pharma. Microsoft, SAP, and Adobe launched the Open Data Initiative in 2018. It brings together and enriches data from all lines of business and across all systems to deliver real-time intelligence back into your applications and services. While real estate comes with its own, individual challenges, these examples make a Common Data Model a tried and tested solution

How we make it work

Enabling a process-based view

Real Estate business consists of many processes throughout the value chain. The underlying systems are identified and data are validated with specific standards. Process-specific data is then defining and prioritizing related clusters, identifying relevant documents, tools, and KPIs.

Process Specific Data

Establishing the Digital Building Twin as a central component

The Digital Building Twin is the core of the BuildingMinds platform and acts as a central cluster for data. It creates a framework that connects all other clusters to it, which include real estate processes and data clusters for the entire lifecycle of assets.

Building-specific data is extracted by identifying the building structure from the Digital Building Twin, defining the building master data cluster, and identifying relevant documents.

Common Data Model for Real Estate

Creating a Common Data Model as a common language

A Common Data Model provides self-describing data based on its common language. It keeps all of the data to be shared between applications as well as data sources in one place, a data lake. In this data lake, predefined schemas include entities, attributes, semantic metadata, and relationships are maintained and they represent commonly used concepts and activities in the industry. These help organizations build their own data based on the Common Data Model.

Enabling streamlined reporting

Data consumer, such as reporting tools, can leverage the Common Data Model language and present it in customer-specific dashboards and reports. Applications and data sources can be decoupled from each other and a report using the Common Data Model can easily be applied to a similar scenario, even if the data source is different.

A screenshot of the sustainability dashboard of the BuildingMinds platform
Sustainability Dashboard of the BuildingMinds Platform


To make data available in the most valuable, insightful and comparable way BuildingMinds, Microsoft, pom+ and RICS have founded the “International Building Performance and Data Initiative” which has the target to integrate international and national standards into the Common Data Model.

To ensure an unprecedented level of value and usability, the Common Data Model will be developed based on market feedback and will be continuously assessed and improved.