One of South Africa’s leading commercial property groups is revolutionising the way that it markets commercial space to property brokers and their tenants.
Using the latest innovations in technology, Fieldspace has recently launched a Virtual Reality experience that will have a significant impact on property brokers, their clients, and the way that tenants select commercial property space in future. Estate Living sat down with Deborah Aremband and Ricky Tomaselli at Fieldspace to find out more about its latest innovations.
“The local property industry hasn’t yet come anywhere close to fully utilising the power of technology to market commercial space to clients,” says Ricky. “As a property group, we appreciate that one of the biggest challenges faced by our broker clients is convincing potential tenants that certain commercial spaces will meet their unique requirements,” he says.
“Using the capability of Virtual Reality technology, brokers now have the opportunity to show their clients a view of a fully refurbished space that will enable clients to visualise all the potential that each property has to offer,” adds Deborah.
The Fieldspace Virtual Reality technology was unveiled at a launch event in Midrand earlier this year and each broker who attended was provided with their own Fieldspace Viewer to use at their own leisure and for future visits to some of Fieldspace’s vacant buildings.
The history of Fieldspace Property Group goes back some 30 years when FedGroup founder, John Field, purchased a block of flats in De Korte Street, Braamfontein, and personally converted it into office space.
In 2015, the property division of FedGroup became independent, and formed Fieldspace Property Group under the leadership of CEO Scott Field. Today the company owns some 74 buildings in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape – managing a portfolio of commercial properties worth over R2 billion. The Fieldspace property portfolio boasts a number of flagship buildings with commercial space to suit a wide range of business requirements.
“The Virtual Reality renderings have been based on the latest trends in commercial property within different industries, including the preference for open-plan, glass and concrete, natural lighting and green building materials,” adds Ricky.
Working with brokers
Fieldspace works directly with brokers, partnering with them to create commercial solutions that will attract and satisfy tenants. They have a firm focus on the importance of client relationships and a ‘let’s make it happen’ entrepreneurial spirit.
While there is a trend in the residential market where developers and commercial property owners are dealing with clients directly, Fieldspace maintains that 99% of its business is conducted through property brokers who consult directly with Fieldspace to find properties that will suit their clients.
“When it comes to commercial rentals, clients do rely quite heavily on broker expertise to help them find the right space to meet their needs. Last year we started taking a good look at our business strategy and asked ourselves what it is that makes clients select a landlord and how we could better connect with client requirements,” says Deborah.
“We wanted to do as much as possible to help the brokers and clients to find the right kind of space, and we thought about some of the challenges that they could possibly face. If you’re a business owner with no experience in the property sector, it’s going to be very difficult for you to visualise the potential of a commercial building if all you have to look at are white walls in an empty space,” adds Deborah.
Working with a team of accomplished architects to create the renderings, the Virtual Reality technology provides several excellent examples of what a fully refurbished space may look like. Fieldspace has also created an option for clients who would prefer not to commute by creating 360-degree tours of selected Fieldspace properties available on its website.
This gives potential tenants the ability to experience a virtual tour of the premises without commuting to the actual building. “Although brokers and their clients do have the option to view our properties remotely using the technology that we have provided, we still want clients to visit the empty spaces and experience the transformation of each space first hand,” says Ricky.
With this in mind, Fieldspace has also launched its own broker concierge service. Accompanied by its broker liaison, Rebecca Fawcett, brokers and their clients are collected from their offices and driven to the relevant property space in a Mercedes Benz V-Class equipped with beverages and free Wi-Fi on board.
In terms of future growth, Fieldspace maintains that the commercial property sector is its ideal market. “While we are always looking at new opportunities, we are content to keep growing at a steady pace,” says Ricky. “As a family business with an entrepreneurial spirit, our company has maintained a personal touch when it comes to our clients. Any broker can call our offices at any time to ask questions and our operations team will easily be able to answer all their questions,” he says.
Ricky says that Fieldspace is always actively marketing its portfolio to brokers who work in a highly competitive environment. He adds that location and traffic play a major role in the value of rentals as well. “An A+ building in Midrand, for example, would be available to clients at a fraction of the cost, if that very same building were located in the Sandton CBD,” he says. “However, there is also a growing tendency for commercial space in Gauteng in areas like Fourways, Waterfall and Midrand, near the Mall of Africa,” says Ricky.
“While technology can never quite replace the importance of a trusted relationship with clients, our objective through this launch has been to make it as easy as possible for brokers to sell the concept of a space to their clients,” says Deborah. “Fieldspace is currently the only property group in South Africa that is using Virtual Reality technology, although the concept has been used in the international residential market.”
As a group Fieldspace says that it is always striving to improve its offering and provide potential tenants with everything they need to assist in the decision-making process. It’s very difficult to visualise your perfect space when looking at an empty shell, and Fieldspace want to assist with that process as much as possible.
Enjoy VR for yourself; fight cyborgs, fly space pirate ships or create beautiful immersive paintings and more at – VRCade
Create VR experiences for your businesses – Virtual Reality South Africa
and shop for VR Headsets and Equipment – Shop for VR on Google