Managing Director, Global Business Development at WiredScore
WiredScore is the organization behind the WiredScore and SmartScore certifications for smart buildings. As Managing Director of Global Business Development, Tom is responsible for leading WiredScore’s global go-to-market strategy. Before moving into his current position, he served as WiredScore’s Country Director for the United States, and, before that, as the company’s Business Development Director for the United Kingdom and Ireland. Since becoming Managing Director in January 2022, Tom has helped lead WiredScore’s successful expansion in the Europe and the Asia Pacific (APAC) regions. He’s been with the company since 2015, and is currently based in London.
Thanks for joining us, Tom! Can you start by telling us more about WiredScore and its mission?
WiredScore sets the standard for technology in the built environment through our certification and education process. Our mission is to make the world’s buildings smarter and better connected. We empower people and spaces through the implementation of technology that will have a lasting impact. We do that by assessing, certifying, and improving the technological capabilities of real estate.
At WiredScore, we believe the future will happen in buildings, and that the responses to some of the biggest challenges of our time — the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, for example — will and ought to be addressed with the help of in-building technology. We want to give the end users of these buildings access to great connectivity that not only improves their experience, but actually helps us all move toward a smarter, more sustainable, and better connected future.
WiredScore offers a well-known certification — SmartScore — that applies directly to commercial real estate. Can you tell us more about what that certification entails?
SmartScore is unique in that it’s the only global smart building certification that is built by and for the real estate sector. It measures both the user functionality and the technological foundations of a building by assigning it scores in four key areas: sustainability, user experience, cost-efficiency, and long-term outlook (the extent to which the building is “future-proofed,” as we like to say).
WiredScore works hand-in-hand with landlords who are pursuing this certification to deliver an outcomes-based strategy for their smart building portfolio. We help inform and guide the implementation of technology in a way that is meant to ensure long-term success in all key areas.
Examples of SmartScore certified buildings include The Hickman Building in London; The EQ Building in Bristol; 100 Liverpool Street in London; 22 Bishopsgate in London; 151 North Franklin in New York City; 17xM in Washington, DC; and RiverSouth in Texas.
All of these buildings have passed the SmartScore certification process, which means that they’ve been vetted by a rigorous set of procedures that are meant to guarantee long-term success. And obviously, these aren’t the only buildings to have achieved the certification. We’re constantly working with landlords all around the globe to help them assess and iterate smart building technology in order to create a better future.
How is SmartScore different from other building certifications like LEED, or WELL AP?
SmartScore is designed to be complementary to other peer certifications such as LEED and WELL, which look specifically at sustainability and wellness, respectively.
The alignment between LEED and SmartScore proves that both the US Green Building Council — which offers the LEED certification — and WiredScore are jointly committed to supporting the development of buildings that prioritize enhanced performance and high standards of sustainability. Both organizations committed to ensure a better built environment for today’s users, and tomorrow’s world.
The alignment between WELL and Smartscore, meanwhile, demonstrates that the adoption of technologies are crucial in the design and management of healthy buildings and healthy occupants. Both certifications help to create a built world that better serves the users of building space. The International Well Building Institute™and WiredScore are both committed to ensuring that occupant health and wellbeing sit at the top of the agenda.
In addition, both WiredScore and SmartScore have recently been approved for credits on the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) assessment, meaning that clients who submit under GRESB will receive credits for their certified buildings. GRESB is the ESG performance and sustainability best practices for real estate funds and companies worldwide. The alignment between WiredScore and the GRESB really speaks to the great importance that technology has in creating a sustainable future in real estate.
Why is a certification like SmartScore so important for owners, operators, and even tenant companies in the current market?
We live and work in a rapidly changing world, and I think that now, in the face of all this change, people want to feel that the buildings where they live and work are resilient to turmoil. But that’s only going to happen if the buildings that occupy our cities are properly outfitted with robust connectivity and the right kinds of smart technology.
We are finding more and more that the end users of buildings want that reassurance of an outstanding experience and, as a result, landlords and developers are having to respond to these requirements by actively showing their commitment to this. We truly believe that it is technology and great connectivity that is underpinning this and will continue to do so long into the future.
WiredScore is a global company. Can you tell us a little bit about what that means? What’s it like to operate in countries all around the world?
WiredScore was founded almost a decade ago in New York City, which is where our headquarters are today. In the years since our founding, we have grown immensely on a global scale. We’re now present in 27 countries, and that number is expected to be above 30 by the end of this year. We have certified over 800 million square feet with over 900 of the largest landlords in the world. We have great brand awareness across all our markets, with the greatest penetration coming in leading global cities like New York, Boston, London, Dublin, Paris, Berlin & Sydney. As a single market, the US has seen the largest adoption with over 400 million square feet of office space certified.
Obviously, there are challenges that come with being a global company. But we’ve adapted well as we’ve expanded, and will continue to do so going forward. It’s a really exciting time for our company.
What kinds of technologies can help companies achieve a SmartScore certification?
Once you’ve decided to make a building ‘smart,’ it’s easy to jump straight in and start adding all kinds of technology without a clear roadmap to success. But one of the things that we’ve learned since starting WiredScore is that it’s really important to be intentional about upgrades and smart building expansions. If you’re actually going to make your building ‘smart,’ you really need to start by establishing a well-vetted plan that’s shared by all stakeholders. It doesn’t work to just throw things at the wall and see what works. We know that from experience. And that’s exactly what we provide for our customers.
SmartScore helps companies optimize building operations by providing a globally recognised framework for the successful development of smart buildings. We help inform and guide the implementation of technology in a way that is applicable for every part of delivery for a building.
We really focus on improving user outcomes in areas like individual and collaborative productivity; maintenance and operations; health and wellbeing; cyber security; data sharing; landlord integration networks, and so on. We know from experience that success in these and other related areas help set landlords up for success.
How does all of this play into the future of work?
An important question! I think that, at the most macro level, real estate companies now have to deal with tremendous levels of uncertainty. They’ve got COVID to deal with, of course, but they also have to think about other issues like inflation, supply chain problems, and general economic volatility, all of which can really impact the state of the real estate market. We’re in an odd moment right now. Things are moving fast. Change is a constant.
The response to this new economic reality, generally, has been to gravitate towards buildings and business strategies that offer greater resiliency. Because the future is uncertain, companies know that they have to be able to handle a wide variety of unforeseen scenarios. They need to have robust strategies and building capabilities in order to attract and retain the best possible talent. And that’s what WiredScore offers, on a basic level. We help companies prepare for an uncertain future.
Conversations is a monthly blog series that features managers, partners, and topical experts working on the front lines of workplace experience — discussing the things they see, the challenges they have, and how technology impacts their work. For more information about how HqO can elevate your workplace experience strategies, schedule a free demo today.