Tenants and their employees are already used to digitally accessing almost anything in their personal lives – booking appointments, banking, even dating has all become a virtual experience. Items like accessing amenities or tenant suites, keeping up on property updates and submitting service requests are now a simple click, or notification, away with your smart phone.
Today, smartphones are a primary — if not an essential — need. In fact, more than 80% of Americans currently own a smartphone—up from only 35% in 2011. Over the last two years, Androids, iPhones, and tablets have replaced desktop computers for many day-to-day professional communications, presenting new opportunities for CRE operators to connect with tenants.
The challenges of 2020 are forcing companies to shift gears and reevaluate strategies to accommodate fluid working conditions that demand flexibility and safety. What CRE execs are realizing is a tech-enabled tenant experience could be the differentiating factor to keep their property relevant and top-of-mind. According to a recent Deloitte study, 48% of responding CRE companies plan to increase digital channel investments over the next year through strategic partnerships with property technologies (customizable ready-to-implement apps) or by developing their own platforms.
What makes building mobile app implementation so attractive? It’s more than just about keeping up with the Joneses. It’s a powerful marketing and management tool that can help attract and retain tenants through real-time engagement, operational efficiencies and greater conveniences. The instant access to information and resources make tenants feel empowered and in control over their workplace — critically important sentiments during times of uncertainly. Utilizing property apps, tenants can schedule fitness classes, order food, or view public transit schedules. Additional app uses include, but are not limited to:
- Submitting service requests
- Finding available parking spaces
- Accessing the building/tenant suite
- Reviewing building events
- Making rent payments
- Reserving conference space
- Joining discussion boards
- Accessing their building
Apps can also feature local community agendas and events for an all-inclusive resource of what’s happening at their office.
For building operators and management teams, apps are a one-stop-shop platform that connects with each tenant directly and in a meaningful way through system integration and streamlined processes. Analytics can show how tenants engage with building services and resources, what type of micro communities are being formed, and what motivates the tenant experience that is unique to that particular property.
KBS is actively working with its management teams on digital strategies at select properties. In Q1 2021, KBS will launch the HqO app at its 1.5 million-square-foot Accenture Tower in Chicago’s West Loop. The post-modern Accenture Tower sits above Ogilvie Transportation Center, one of the main suburban train stations connecting downtown Chicago to the suburbs. The Accenture Tower app will feature transit options, including train, bus, car (rideshare), and bike availability, customized building events and will incorporate various existing work systems (including work orders) into a single and easy-to-use platform. Additionally, plans call for Accenture Tower’s social media to be integrated into the mobile app.
As we look to the New Year, CRE execs are making digital tenant experiences a top priority. Those who employ a fully-realized technology platform are likely to resonate with tenants more and could be more resilient within the marketplace as the workforce adapts to new standards. In addition to mobile technology, property technology (PropTech) incorporates other technology, like the program Maptician which is designed to help optimize office space. KBS recently collaborated with Maptician to offer tenants a virtual way to ensure office layouts are socially-distanced and help control the flow of foot traffic, bringing peace of mind to both tenants and their employees during the return to office.
PropTech goes beyond products and programs that simplify tenant experiences, it relies on technology that can adapt and accommodate updates to support current and future technology. WiredScore offers the Wired Certified rating system for properties based on three factors: connectivity, infrastructure and readiness. WiredScore is an internationally recognized digital connectivity rating system designed to provide certification for technologically advanced commercial real estate buildings. KBS currently holds 32 Wired Certified assets, meaning these properties are offering tenants best-in-class connectivity to help businesses thrive.
To learn about the latest KBS Wired Certified property, visit us here.
To learn more about the future of technology in commercial real estate, visit us here.