Presented By: Equiem
Why Integrating Technology Is a Landlord’s Most Important and Challenging Task
Advanced technology is a boon for business in many ways, but only when a specific piece of tech is easy to integrate and perfectly matched with its entire technological ecosystem. Integrating various technologies to work together can become a frustrating and even impossible task if not carefully planned. Partner Insights spoke to Dave Adams, chief product officer for Equiem, about the importance of systems integration, and how Equiem helps landlords and property managers with this essential task.
Commercial Observer: How numerous and disparate are the different technologies available to, and required by, building owners?
Dave Adams: An office building is a complex ecosystem, and a mixed-use campus, even more so. There are hundreds of different kinds of interactions with complicated workflows. I’ve spoken with so many teams who set out to integrate systems with custom-built solutions. Without exception, they vastly underestimate how difficult and expensive it is to do that.
Can you provide an example?
I recently met with a big commercial landlord that made a huge investment in technology for a high-profile, mixed-use campus. They’ve got access control turnstiles with radio-frequency identification, or RFID, sensors and elevators with those same sensors, but through a different vendor. They also have custom mobile apps and want their occupiers to be able to use their mobile phones for access. It sounds straight forward enough, but it ended up being a nightmare for them. The elevators required some extremely strange hardware and software hacks in order to get them to work with the apps. It’s not like you can just rip out your elevators and replace them with another brand if you can’t get the software working.
Give us a basic overview of Equiem and talk about how Equiem can help solve problems like these.
Equiem is a global software company whose solutions enable people in different roles to interact efficiently to provide a five-star experience. Because we have worked with such a huge cross section of landlords around the world, we’ve developed a solid playbook and a suite of tools that addresses some of the most common issues landlords face.
Walk us through a case study to show how Equiem helps solve problems for landlords.
Let’s say I’m an office manager. Our CEO is convening a board meeting and reserves the fanciest meeting room available. I’m going to assign the CEO as the host of the meeting. Participants get an automatic email invite notifying them of the meeting’s time and location. There are also three board members who don’t work in our building, so I initiate a visitor management workflow for them as well. They get an email inviting them to the meeting with information on where to park and which door to enter, including a QR code that allows them to enter though a security turnstile. Then, the day before the meeting, they automatically get a reminder email. The meeting is recorded not just on my calendar, but in the participants’, guests’ and building management’s calendar.
Now, let’s look at what was involved here. We’ve got an event management workflow, amenity booking, calendars, email notifications, push notifications, visitor management and access control. If an office manager was putting this together and did not have Equiem, they would be dealing with a lot of disparate and different programs, and having to coordinate it all manually to keep them working together. It would be pretty difficult to provide your users with an intuitive user experience. Equiem handles all of it.
How well does the average tenant experience provider deal with the issue of system integration?
Every week we hear from prospective clients how their vendor made confident claims about an integration, but then it didn’t work under real-world conditions. The tough reality is that even if we know one access control system very well, we will still need to take specific details of each system into account when we’re integrating systems.
How does Equiem produce financial savings for building owners?
There are two distinct areas of savings. The first is being able to keep onsite staff to a minimum. Automating tasks can vastly reduce the number of people that might need to be sitting at desks doing nothing so they can be there when somebody needs them. Research from McKinsey indicates that this type of automation technology is reducing staffing needs by about 45 percent.
The second area is about turnover risk and how in the dark asset managers and landlords are regarding the security of their lease renewals. Should they be buttering up the tenant? Do they need to accelerate the remodeling or add amenities? Do they need to secure a new tenant? They have no idea. The magic of Equiem is that we’re collecting useful data and aggregating and visualizing it to help demonstrate important insights. We can tell from the data when attendance engagement is tapering off, and we can draw our clients’ attention to that data.
How have the events since COVID-19 — the pandemic, the move to work-from-home, and the effort to get people back to the office — made Equiem more potentially important for building owners?
A couple of weeks ago, we released the results of our annual global office survey, which had thousands of respondents. Eighty-two percent reported that they are as productive or more productive at home than they were in the office. Seventy percent think they’ll delay their return to the office by six months or more, or not fully return at all. And only 38 percent think they’ll be working more than one day a week in the office once the pandemic is over. If I were a commercial landlord, I would be extremely alarmed. What is going to bring people back to the office? The answer is workplaces that enable teams to collaborate and socialize, and provide space for these interactions with good air quality. Also, landlords and occupiers want to be able to see the heartbeat of the building. They want a dashboard that shows them what some of these numbers are. Equiem’s goal is for our properties to be the ones that reap the benefit of the disruption, because offering this information, they’ll stand out for first-class experience.
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