Return to March 2021 Update
- 6.a) Virtual communication & collaboration (Zoom, BIM360, Virtual site inspections, AR/VR, etc.)
- 6.b) Robotics, Automation, Mobile Unmanned Systems (MUS); 3D printing (additive manufacturing); etc.
- 6.c) Smart buildings: IT+OT; IoT, digital twin, big data – analytics & processing, sensors, AI, proptech, etc.
- 6.d) Other concepts (VDC, management, blockchain, smart contracts)
- 6.e) COVID-19 related innovations (for public); contact tracing, etc.
- 6.f) Cybersecurity / Privacy
The interest in this category has slightly dropped in March (22.4% in March vs. 24.5% in December) due to a higher interest in workflows shifts happening now at the start of the pandemic’s end. Nevertheless, digitalization and automation continue to be the most important strategies during the pandemic and in the next normal. We reported in December that the pandemic has accelerated contech adoption threefold; the industry has adopted in 2020 in one year what would have normally taken three. In March only one subcategory is experiencing interest increase; Cybersecurity / Privacy, due to countless news of cyberattacks and ransomware. We can expect substantial increase of similar events in the future, proportional to the increase of digitalization in all aspects of our lives. Other 5 subcategories are experiencing decrease of interest, especially in COVID-19 related solutions (for public); contact tracing, etc. since the solutions have been developed last year. Extreme digitization of work is one of emerging trends that will shape the future of business (specifically, sales, general & administrative – SG&A). There is a shift of work from data manipulation to insight, decision-making, and rapid execution. Two out of three executives said that they had already increased spending for digitization and plan to do so in the future.  The importance of software development to business performance had already grown significantly before COVID-19 and it accelerated during pandemic. McKinsey’s 7 lessons on technology and business: 1) technology investments are creating significant business value; 2) people-focused plays result in the most value; 3) talent remains the holy grail of technology transformations, valuable to pursue but difficult to execute; 4) the talent challenge has clear implications for sourcing; 5) no silver bullets, the top performers execute more transformation plays than others; 6) the broader use of advanced technologies supports greater value creation; and 7) bridging the business-technology chasm is critical to outperformance. 
In 2020 funding for construction-related technology startups hit $1.3B, a 56% year-over-year increase from 2019. Investments in contech continues at the same pace as in 2021. Investors have backed companies that are offering faster, easier technology for a wide variety of construction tasks, on and off the jobsite. 8 contech startups have been highlighted in the publications : 1) Built Technologies  (construction finance platform Built Technologies, which has helped fund $68B worth of construction projects across 130,000 commercial, homebuilder, land development and consumer deals, raised $88M in a new funding round in February); 2) DroneDeploy  (raised $50M in Series E financing brought the drone data company’s total funds raised to $142M; it uses drones and ground-level cameras to collect and analyze visual data for companies across many sectors. The startup has seen 259% annual growth in enterprise use in 2020, according to its announcement, and an increase in adoption from Fortune 500 companies in many areas, including engineering); 3) GoContractor  (is a worker and subcontractor onboarding and data management solution that raised $5M in Series A funding); 4) Matrak  (is a tracking network that provides end-to-end supply chain information for contractors that received $5.85M in funding, the Series A round valued the startup at $30M); 5) Soil Connect  (is a digital marketplace for the soil and aggregates industry, received $3.25M in seed funding); 6) Swapp  (is an artificial intelligence-powered construction planning company that generates and optimizes design options supporting the coordination of structural plans, producing detailed construction drawings and plans according to customers’ needs; it had raised $7M in seed funding); 7) TraceAir  (is a construction site development platform that uses drones to develop 3D maps of construction projects, announced it had completed a $3.5M Series A funding round – reaching in total $7M); 8) Versatile  (is the developer of machine learning and AI service CraneView, which optimizes the construction process via data captured from a camera mounted at the bottom of a jobsites crane hook announced $20M in Series A funding.) 
The subcategory for Virtual communication & collaboration (Zoom, BIM360, Virtual site inspections, AR/VR etc.) had the lowest drop of interest (11%) since December among the other 5 lower-interest subcategories as most of the workforce is still remote and virtual communication and collaboration will stay in the post-pandemic future. In the US, the penetration of e-commerce was forecast in 2019 to reach 24% by 2024; by July 2020, it had hit 33% of total retail sales - the first half of 2020 saw an increase in e-commerce equivalent to that of the previous 10 years. In Latin America, where the payments and delivery infrastructure is not as strong, e-commerce use doubled from 5% to 10%. In Europe, overall digital adoption is almost universal (95%), compared with 81% at the start of the pandemic. In normal times, getting to that level would have taken 2-3 years. in the past, it has taken a decade or longer for game-changing technologies to evolve from cool new things to productivity drivers. The COVID-19 crisis has sped up that transition in areas such as AI and digitization by several years, and even faster in Asia. A McKinsey survey published in October 2020 found that companies are three times likelier than they were before the crisis to conduct at least 80% of their customer interactions digitally.  Savvy marketers are rethinking their tech and data strategies to double down on precision marketing following COVID-19.  A year into the pandemic, B2B buyers are choosing omnichannel interactions instead of purely in-person, indicating that the practice is "here to stay". Many companies learned that deeper relationships with suppliers were key to endure the pandemic and add much-needed resiliency. With in-person meetings out of the question, relationships were supported through remote and digital technologies, allowing for more ways to communicate and share information. Buyers "found much to like" about the digital changes thrust upon them during the pandemic, according to McKinsey, and 80% of business leaders surveyed said omnichannel is "as or more effective than traditional methods." Alibaba surveyed small businesses last year and found that the use of email and phone for purchases dropped, while the use of e-commerce increased over the same period. For operational expenses overall, 60% of respondents plan to maintain or grow their spending in the coming years.  Data from Germany and Western Europe indicates that sponsorship of esports can open a valuable marketing channel for brands that know how to use it. 
Cloud adoption requires a partnership between business and tech with a clear focus on business outcomes. To achieve this goal, high-performing companies start by articulating the cloud’s impact on business metrics, from increased agility to speed of innovation. This approach sharply contrasts with framing cloud migration as a technology initiative, with goals such as increased infrastructure efficiency. Such tech-focused targets tend to underperform or encounter significant delays as new business initiatives take priority. While the decision on when and how fast to move to the cloud requires top-down commitment that starts with the CEO, top performing companies give individual teams autonomy on their specific migration path. For example, a leading US bank took a domain-by-domain approach to cloud migration and gave each domain team an 18- to 24-month timeline and flexibility on their architectural approach and choice of tools and cloud services. Companies with successful migrations typically create guidelines and requirements within which teams can work, such as a recommended migration path that is easy for most teams to follow. The cloud center of excellence (CoE) at a leading retailer defined a recommended cloud migration path and foundational cloud services. Experts at the CoE also provided coaching and migration support for teams. Crucially, the CoE set requirements on measures such as security, quality, availability, and performance that applied to every team. These investments made a meaningful impact to the pace of cloud adoption and the business performance. For example, a grocer transitioned 70% of its customer-facing e-commerce stack to the public cloud on a 24-36-month timeline. As a result, it was able to handle a tenfold increase in e-commerce order volumes and grow its digital sales by over 200% in 2020 after the COVID-19 crisis began.  5G networks’ low latency on construction sites will allow for fast real-time transfer of data between two or multiple points.  Unmanned bridge inspections is one of the innovations in the infrastructure sector. 
According to Gensler, digital experience design is seeing 5 trends: 1) immersive experiences give people a reason to reconnect and reengage.; 2) hybrid workplace; 3) touchless environment; 4) data intelligence; and 5) digital master planning. Immersive or audio-visual experiences, in person or virtually, envelope people in a sensory experience of sights and sounds. For brands, immersive experiences can provide a competitive edge. For example, sports teams can use digital displays, audio elements, and augmented reality to create a virtual experience that mimics the in-person experience. For physical environments, digital technologies can create experiences that support people’s desire to “stay and play” while still allowing them to feel safe and secure. 87% of CIOs believe digitally empowering their employees can drive at least 5% additional revenue growth over 3 years. While valuable for health and wellness, touchless environments ultimately create a more seamless, frictionless, and sophisticated user experience. To limit the use of shared interfaces that rely on touch, personal devices will become increasingly central to employee interactions. These devices and their operating systems already include much of what’s needed to support biometric screening, voice-activated applications, contactless transactions, and other touch alternatives. Combined with building sensors and location-based information, personal devices are a key component in the frictionless experience. 
Mars House is the first digital home to be sold on the NFT marketplace using cryptocurrency.  VR, AR and MR are currently used in architectural offices for client presentations but it should be more often used in architecture and design.  The New York City Department of Buildings is piloting a remote video inspection program using standard digital video technology, so that inspectors will not need to be physically present. The city has continued to use in-person inspections through the pandemic. Remote inspections of construction projects became far more commonplace during the pandemic, and inspectors from states including Ohio, Nevada and Florida have indicated the practice could continue after the outbreak has subsided. The availability of inexpensive tools such as Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams provided building inspectors with an accessible way to view and inspect jobsites from a safe distance. 
6.b) Robotics, Automation, Mobile Unmanned Systems (MUS); 3D printing (additive manufacturing); etc.
Global construction technology map shows substantial increase in use cases of modularization, automation, robotics and 3D printing. DPR announced a new facility for prefab research, workforce development and client mock-ups.  Swedish remote-controlled demolition machine specialist Brokk has launched the new Brokk 900 demolition robot, which it claims the largest and most powerful in the world. Boston Dynamics stretches into warehouse game with material-handling robot.  ‘Smart following’ technology firm Piaggio Fast Forward has, along with positioning specialist Trimble, announced the development of technology that allow robots to follow humans or other machines.  Drones have various application. For example, TraceAir  uses drones to develop 3D maps of construction projects , while SenseHawk, a SaaS-based startup, specializes in using data captured by drones to develop insight for projects within the global solar industry.  3D printed houses are going for sale, very important milestone in the sector.  Furthermore, 3D printing is used for development of high performing façade. For example, recently constructed Federal Credit Union building in Tennessee Valley has 3D-printed specially patented panels by Branch Technology with cellular fabrication process, or C-Fab. The technology allows a unique printing method that allows material to solidify in open space, creating a matrix of polymer in virtually any shape. That brings “unprecedented design freedom and resource stewardship to next-generation wall systems”.  TECLA Technology and Clay 3D Printed house developed the first eco-sustainable housing model 3D printed entirely from local raw earth.  A 3D printed Book Cabin made from robots has opened in Shanghai’s Baoshan Wisdom Bay Science and Technology Park.  Nanjing Happy Valley Theme Park East Gate - the world's largest modified plastic 3D printing architecture has recently put into use. 
Supply chain, retail and manufacturing leaders continue to invest in automation and robotics for storages and marketplaces. For example, Target is testing a sortation center in Minneapolis in an effort to optimize fulfilling orders from its store locations. The company is expanding after its business grew nearly 20% last year, with 95% of sales driven by stores. Along with this additional capacity, the company will expand its investment in robotics and automation that the retailer has been testing separately over the last year. One solution, called Auto Re-bin that sorts individual items, has been rolled out to three warehouses with plans to expand to two more this year. "The robotic solution we’ve been building in a Minneapolis market over the past few years is designed to sort and organize millions of individual units. It fills boxes with the exact amount of product we need in a store, so we keep the shelf full and the backroom clean." It is also expanding the use of its robotic ship sorter that "sorts everything from boxes of individual items to entire cases of product," Both solutions in one warehouse bring more precision and speed to store replenishment.  Fully automated vertical grocery stores are becoming a reality. 
The pandemic catapulted trucking and logistics into the future, speeding up the usage of robots; and their “cousins,” the collaborative robots, or cobots; and automated transport vehicles. XPO Logistics' Q4 and 2020 reports show that carrier shipped roughly 5 times more units using robotic technology in 2020 than it did in 2019. More than 25% of e-commerce volume in North America used advanced automation, including robots and cobots. The lessons learned during the pandemic toughened up the “brittle” supply chain. The pandemic forced trucking, shippers and providers of third-party logistics to implement new technologies quicker and faster. Autonomous trucks will arrive in the next decade. Some trucks will be "drone followers," convoying with a human-driven truck in the front. Some will be part of an entirely automated convoy. And perhaps some will drive solo, fully autonomous, but only on highways. Firms such as Locomation work on such complete autonomy; “Level 4 autonomy”. In a decade, we can expect tens of thousands of tractors to have Locomation equipment in the various tasks from platooning to drone following. In the meantime, the automation inside the service centers and operation locations should happen at a faster rate. “The most cost-effective way to meet the majority of customer requirements is by integrating advanced automation and intelligent machines into our logistics operations — robots, cobots, automated sortation systems and goods-to-person systems. Some of the systems can improve logistics productivity by 4-6 times." And "cobots deliver twice the productivity on average, working alongside our employees. We’re seeing a substantial benefit to throughput from the implementations we did in 2019 and 2020." Two research firms found the ability for companies to increase social-distancing measures within their facilities was the biggest benefit of automation during the pandemic. “Everybody is looking at more dependable capacity. Now is the time to begin re-engineering the supply chain."  McKinsey’s 5 levers for omnichannel logistics success include 1) warehouse automation; 2) contracting for high capital expenditures with volatile volumes; 3) multicustomer networks; 4) it integration and advanced data analytics; 5) last-mile delivery.  Packaging automation hits fast track in 2021. Automated technology, in everything from robots to remote equipment repairs, has matured to the point that packaging automation is not just possible — it's a necessity to just keep up with the competition. “Automation is certainly a necessity going forward, as this transition from brick and mortar to e-commerce balances out that channel delivery; but “there’s still aspects where manual labor allows you to be much more creative, sometimes making changes on the fly.” 
6.c) Smart buildings: IT+OT; IoT, digital twin, big data – analytics & processing, sensors, AI, proptech, etc.
Manufacturing, retail and tech leaders believe that AI is moving too quickly. In the industrial manufacturing space, 93% of decision makers say AI is moderately to fully functional in their companies. Concerns surrounding the speed of AI deployment are linked to the debate surrounding ethics, governance and regulation of AI. 
Smart building technologies continue to be discussed in the same pace as throughout 2020. Realcomm’s webinars are our favorite source of information. Creating buildings that learns starts with vast amount of data generated by buildings. The data transforms buildings into iterative learning loops. Sensors in the building track the use of assets and resources and can adapt to the changing consumption or activity patterns that take place. Based on the generated data, smart buildings can make autonomous decisions using preinstalled algorithms on systems and processes, like adjusting lighting, and HVAC levels, to reflect the time of the day, external environment, occupancy levels or any other variable. Then readings recorded by these smart systems can also be used to create recommendations for repurposing under-utilized systems, rooms or zones within a building. For example, for each room the system has user friendly dashboard for non-technical users that provide computed information to help and drive decisions (of e.g., space utilization), and the data is then exported for local storage or exploitation in other tools. The information can include 365 (sensing) heatmaps, space utilization, identification of under- and over- utilization, and sanitary conditions requiring attention. Overlay platforms are used for extensibility, interoperability, and application to application workflows.  MultiGreen’s attainable, sustainable and technology enabled multifamily housing includes 40,000 multifamily Workforce Plus™ units by 2030 providing digital amenities of the future. Tech enabled part includes BIM for preconstruction, Building-as-a-Service (BaaS) automation, which includes smart home technologies, enhanced digital amenities and resident living experience. RealFoundations is working on establishing a scalable operating model and robust technology platform, while Yardi Voyager, a cloud-based accounting and property management platform for the real estate industry, was selected as a primary technology solution. 
IoT construction site March news include: 1) Volvo Construction Equipment is building a test and demonstration area for remote-control machines and autonomous connected systems ; 2) Trackunit has developed a tracking system, Kin, for any piece of construction equipment within 400m radius; including a small Bluetooth 5.2-enabled tag connected to Trackunit’s Go App ; and 3) Bouygues Construction Matériel plans to install sensors on more than 20,000 pieces of equipment for real-time remote management and optimization.  Concrete sensor system is one of the innovations in the infrastructure sector. 
Advanced building technologies, spatial analytics, big data, and machine learning are making typical metrics like per-square-foot, occupancy, or utilization antiquated. Next-generation metrics reveal much more about user experience, behavior, and design to better optimize a building, campus, or portfolio and help drive business performance.  AI and other digital technologies have the potential to radically transform work, including the displacement of workers, the creation of new types of organizations, and changes in productivity and performance. New machine learning techniques and automation are transforming the American workforce, and firms are at a critical juncture. In order to thrive in the digital age, they need to transform their practices and their workforce for the digital world. Stanford research evaluated every job task in the O*NET database for its suitability for machine learning, or SML, using a rubric that scores each task on 23 different criteria. Aggregating these measures to the job level and analyzing the heterogeneity both within and between jobs, this research offers a theoretical framework for how occupations will change and predicts which occupations specifically are most exposed to advances in machine learning methods as they propagate through the network of job tasks. 
Data and analytics will morph into a core business function in 2021, as companies infuse these capabilities into current practices, Gartner said as one of its Top 10 Trends in Data and Analytics, 2021 report. Throughout 2021, companies will see data and analytics as a shared business asset connected to business results, according to the report. Data silos will begin to break down as central and federated data and analytics teams improve their collaboration. Disruption stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic led data and analytics leaders to "identify key technology trends and prioritize those with the biggest potential impact on their competitive advantage". 
Enterprise data strategy, tools and applications are becoming crucial in generating insights through business intelligence and advanced analytics – with a profound impact on corporate strategy, performance and competitiveness (finding deals, measuring risks, closing deals, maximizing profitability, raising capital, etc.). There is an explosion of public, paid, and internal data. Standard industry tools for leasing & property management, portfolio & asset management, and acquisitions & financing have difficulty to connect with RE data. The future is entity or data sources mapping. It takes a lot of time to test and validate data. Strategic partnerships with (70) different data partners can greatly speed up the process. Experts suggest starting with a business idea and then go after the data. Ultimate decision makers are in the C-suite so analysts need to present the data in a digestible way quickly. Most of the large RE companies (Brookfield, Blackstone) have these tools – the hard work was not just integrating them but finding out what business case decisions they are trying to get to and then work backwards what the data model needs to look like, what the asset hierarchy and the calculation definitions need to look like – “if you have multiple systems feeding the data, you need to see which system trumps the other which calculation should be seen without knowing the background.”  For example, Locatee , a workplace analytics platform has been utilized during pandemic, providing utilization data, feedback data from employees and specs of the floors and changes, with fast success measurement at the end of each change. 
With companies facing more pressure than ever to deliver savings, McKinsey found that the procurement teams can offer not only short-term relief, but also long-term rewards. The returns from longer-term initiatives are significant; a 99% correlation between investing time and resources in capability building and achieving better results in procurement. To capture tangible value, procurement needs a digital solution that generates actionable insights and provides transparency into the savings opportunities. Capturing the benefits from digital is a question of empowering people to use digital solutions, through capability-building programs that are tailored to the needs of procurement teams. To design an effective learning journey, an organization starts by assessing the team’s talent and identifying capability gaps. Throughout the journey, the organization tracks its progress and benchmarks the capabilities it is building against those of other players in the industry. These steps become especially important during a crisis. 
This subcategory had the lowest interest since May ‘20 (1.2% representation in the selected references) given that we are at the start of the pandemic’s end. COVID-related solutions have been developed and tested in 2020. All the COVID-related tech, such as social distancing tracking in the office, continue to be used. The community discusses how the new tech can help enhance productivity and production and promote 3C, namely, culture, collaboration and coaching. Hybrid workplace is placing new requirements on the tech; to promote H&S and wellbeing of tenants and create seamless (fun) experience in the office. During summer 2020, the tenants required amenities focused on operations: HVAC, maximizing fresh air, negative ion tech, smart PT and disinfecting stations; 4/10 of tenants were willing to pay premium for those amenities as OPEX or rent premiums, and now 25% are willing to pay more premiums and 4/10 would subscribe to wellness and health programs and pay additional premiums. Companies that have embraced the new tech are thriving. The experts suggest to combine new and old operational thinking for the future and RE portfolios.  Newly available residential sanitation measures such as UV light disinfection or ionized particle treatments to neutralize germs in elevators ($3,500 to $4,000 per elevator). Owners whose buildings contain amenities like gyms and basketball courts have invested in “Ghostbusters”-like electrostatic disinfectant sprayers and reservation software to enforce capacity restrictions. There is also furniture for those looking to maximize their work-from-home space, often marketed directly to luxury property managers to boost the value of their units, such as robotic contractible desks ($5,000 to $10,000) or beds and storage suspended from the ceiling ($10,000 to $40,000).  Salesforce’s back-to-work apps include a scheduling app that lets workers choose weekly shift preferences, allowing employers to manage floor capacities and avoid bottlenecks. A wellness-assessment app provides a daily check-in to monitor workers’ health and assess approvals to enter the office building, along with contact tracing and mapping features. 
Just as businesses have sped up their operations in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the pandemic could be the launching point for a massive acceleration in the pace of medical innovation, with biology meeting technology in new ways. Not only was the COVID-19 genome sequenced in a matter of weeks, rather than months, but the vaccine rolled out in less than a year; an astonishing accomplishment given that normal vaccine development has often taken a decade. Urgency has created momentum, but the larger story is how a wide and diverse range of capabilities; among them, bioengineering, genetic sequencing, computing, data analytics, automation, machine learning, and AI; have come together. 
This topic was the only subcategory that has experienced interest increase due to countless news of cyberattacks and ransomware.   In the last year, for cyber intrusions where a breakout occurred, the amount of time taken to penetrate initial defenses was just four and a half hours – around half the amount of time taken in 2019, when the average time was nine hours.  Ecommerce apps are more vulnerable than ever.  We can expect substantial increase of similar events in the future. In online payments revenue growth is matched only by increasing threats.  In December SolarWinds hack was the most publicized event , while in March a sophisticated attack on Microsoft Email Exchange servers by a Chinese government- backed hacking group is taking the center stage.  The attack claimed over 60,000 victims globally. Other examples include the news of hackers breaching thousands of security cameras, exposing Tesla, jails and hospitals; all by intending to show the pervasiveness of video surveillance and the ease with which systems could be broken into.  7 checklist items to get proactive about WFH IT security: company policies, workstations, connections, encryptions, passwords, mobile device management, and training.  GitHub and Docker Hub are being used to launch crypto mining malware.  Cybersecurity and blockchain standards continue to be discussed by various institutions.  The IoT Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2020 that requires the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop guidelines for the IoT devices. We are seeing a lot more regulations and guidance coming out from both federal and trade associations to not only benefit vendors but also benefit organizations that have to implement those kinds of technology.  White House proposes new cybersecurity ratings system. 
Smart building owners and developers should have sound strategies for securing building infrastructure, as well as building operations including mobile work forces. Most common vulnerabilities in buildings include a) flat networks; b) remote access; and c) shared logins; d) patching (unpatched BMS, outdated firmware); e) unmanaged switches; and f) MFA (not configured or if configured not enforced). A “Zero trust” network can reduce attack surface by 95% while reducing cost and complexity by 50 – 80%. (More information in Building Operations.) 
Protecting data against ransomware requires specialized solutions – backup cannot help. The purpose of backup was to have a copy of data that can be recovered. Backup systems offer no protection for data or the computer systems themselves. Malware, like NotPetya, Bad Rabbit and Shamoon, can take over a computer's boot process, encrypt the computer's entire disk and erase all data on the drive. hackers are becoming increasingly more stealthy, sophisticated and evasive, limiting anti-malware's ability to effectively defend against all of the growing threats. Enterprise data is at risk, whether it's in the cloud or on-premises. Cloud drives like OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box.com are used for storing and sharing data. When these become encrypted or damaged by ransomware, they are then sent to the cloud, where they can spread to other devices that share the cloud drive. Ransomware attacks can be expensive and damaging, disrupting more than data and devices. They impact employees, customers, business partners and the business as a whole. Recent research has shown it takes, on average, 16 days to restore a network after an attack. the extent of the damage is not always limited to the ransom demand. Additional costs can include; hiring consultants to perform internal reviews and forensics of affected computers’ retraining employees after an attack; losing employee productivity across multiple departments; having corporate secrets lost or destroyed; losing existing and new customers; damage to brand reputation; regulatory fines from compromised consumer data; and higher cybersecurity insurance premiums. One effective approach to data protection and rapid recovery is to create an image of the data within an undetectable overlay that acts as armor. With this approach, the attacker only gets access to the data within the overlay and the original data is preserved and protected. Then, with the click of a button, the original data can be immediately rolled back to its pre-attack state, essentially rendering ransomware threats impotent. 
In the world of data privacy, the biggest news in mid-2020, was the ruling of Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) called Data Protection Commissioner v. Facebook Ireland and Maximillian Schrems (or “Schrems II”). It has cast doubt on all personal-data transfers between the EU and other markets with lower levels of data protection, most notably the US. In response, the European Data Protection Board (EDPB), the cooperation forum for European data-protection regulators, recently issued a draft guidance for companies, and the European Commission published a draft update of the standard contractual clauses to be used in personal-data-transfer situations to recipients outside the EU. Organizations have a year after the final adoption of the EC’s decision to come into compliance, or they risk fines of up to 4% of worldwide revenue. The issue has strategic implications affecting business operations, IT infrastructure, marketing, HR, R&D, and other functions. McKinsey suggests that most technical solutions require a long implemen¬tation time, but companies could use the current window to develop a roadmap of future steps. These include protection measures such as encryption and pseudonymization with keys stored on European soil and potentially leveraging local cloud providers and local data centers. In addition, companies can consider tools (or organize operations) that do not require storage within countries with challenging legal landscapes and, instead, localize operations within countries that have adequate data-security requirements (as deemed by the EU). All of these measures may lead to larger-scale changes of the company’s IT architecture.