When I was a kid, I had a poster in my room. It looked like some sort of funky art print, but it was much more than that. What most people couldn’t see, was that the poster was actually of a pod of dolphins swimming in the ocean.
In 1991, computer programmer Tom Baccei and artist Cheri Smith created the first color random-dot autostereograms. These autostereograms were created by blending similar but not identical images together with a computer program. The result: an image inside an image that could only be seen if you relaxed your eyes and focused on just the right plane of view. This technology was eventually marketed as the popular 90s fad, Magic Eye.
Data is like an autostereogram. On the surface, it looks interesting to have it, but it’s what lies underneath — what you can’t see — that really creates value. Data on its own is not intelligence.
Imagine this: You’re an operator or investor in commercial real estate. You understand the industry shift toward consumerization and as a result, have invested in technology to better understand the users in your building. One of those pieces of technology is a tenant application.
Your provider offers you a dashboard or some reports that tell you how many people have downloaded your application. They tell you how many people use it on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. They might even tell you what people do in the application, such as ordering food, RSVPing for events, booking a conference room, etc. Is this information really valuable? It’s a surface-level picture, but doesn’t show the true value that lies underneath.
Just like the Magic Eye technology, it’s the layering of data together that enables us to see the picture underneath. Pulling data together from multiple sources and systems into one interface where you can combine it to extract intelligence is much more valuable than simple user metrics.
At HqO, we’re using our real estate analytics platform — the HqOS Digital Grid — to combine building data, system data, and user data together to extract insights that can drive impact on net operating income. It’s not just about how many users are in the space, nor even about how they use it. Both of those are important, but what about how they feel about their space? The Digital Grid is built specifically for commercial real estate to provide true intelligence.
That Magic Eye poster on my bedroom wall was pretty cool on its own. However, it was even better when I was able to share its secrets with my friends. When they would come over, I would show them the dolphins. They were amazed every time. Not everyone could see it at first — but once they did, they all went out and bought posters of their own.