Cristian Secosan CEO
Siemens Romania & Moldova

20 January 2021

Siemens is a global technology powerhouse that has stood for engineering excellence, innovation, quality, reliability and internationality for more than 170 years. Present in Romania since 1905, the company's local footprint includes four factories and six local R&D centers, pushed forward by a total of 2,200 employees.

Active around the world, Siemens focuses on intelligent infrastructure for buildings and distributed energy systems and on automation and digitalization in the process and manufacturing industries. Siemens brings together the digital and physical worlds to benefit customers and society.

Cristian Secosan has been leading Siemens in Romania and Moldova since October 2018.

 

The real estate landscape in Romania has gone through generous changes over the past few decades. How do you assess it presently, from the perspective of your business?

We are offering a cutting-edge portfolio for smart buildings dedicated both for residential and business developments. 15 years ago, there was almost no market for high-end products in Romania. The situation has significantly improved, and the real estate market grew and continues to have tremendous potential. The only real question mark is what impact the pandemic will have on the office segment.

However, residential keeps booming, just like the industrial space, and I expect this tendency will continue for another few years. Just think that 80-90% of residences are part of old buildings, and people are already wishing for something else. That is why we can expect a favorable trend to developments in the residential space. I believe there is a higher demand in energy efficiency solutions, safety and comfort of the users.

Many developers here take pride in building at the highest standards. What has your experience been, are companies willing to invest in high end technology?

I would say the market is fairly stable but at a relatively low level. Sure, there are many buildings that are marked as A class but that does not guarantee that the technology used is the most innovative.

Why do you think that is?

It is an issue directly linked to maximizing profit and the level of development of the economic. The goal is to keep production costs low so that demotivates developers from choosing high-end equipment. I would argue that's not the best move though because cheaper technical solutions tend to incur additional costs, related to their usage, maintenance etc. That is why companies are demanding now green buildings, with lower long-term costs and a carbon-free footprint, as a part of the corporate image strategy.

In the residential space the situation is different, Romania has new residential buildings, with high quality equipment and occupied by people who expect the best.

Everybody seems to agree that the global pandemic has accelerated the road to a digital world. What did it mean for you as a technology provider?

It didn't necessarily generate significant business opportunities, although it might on the medium term. What happened is that it accelerated the transition towards work from anywhere. If you have a stable internet connection, pretty much all tools can be accessed online - this does raise some security issues, but it also creates a certain comfort for employees, and step by step also for employers.

One challenge is to find a way and mobilize people to do what they have to do. Each employee must make decisions on his/her own and also take on the responsibility associated. Then there is the question of how you keep teams connected especially for those that need human interaction.

As this period of isolation continues you can see people realizing how important the time spent with the team is. Company management has been very pleased to see that productivity was maintained and even increased in some cases. People felt empowered and responsible in this context, but as time goes by I think we will see motivation going down.

What is your best bet then when it comes to the future of offices?

What I see is a combination of on site and remote working - this obviously means a reduction in demand for office space. Our global CEO expressed a vision for people come 2-3 days at the office, and where possible, to work completely from home.

A new trend may be that offices will be recreated as places to bring people together. Working hubs may become more popular, maybe closer to home, places where you can meet your colleagues and work together.

The future office should offer safe spaces to work both individually and as a team. Technology will support in better managing the space and working conditions. It is all about #CreatingPerfectPlaces where people are productive and connected.

What would you say to investors who have their eyes on Romania's real estate?

Do invest in Romania. One question investors want to have answered is whether the market offers an attractive return, and this is not a problem in Romania. There are numerous high-quality projects here which offer returns that meets the higher point of expectations.

Granted there are difficulties that may appear here and there and that have discouraged investors at times. But in the retail and industrial segments especially, I haven't really noticed such obstacles created by the legislative system - developers keep building and the returns are coming.

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