Why an Operating System for Commercial Real Estate?

Why an operating system for commercial real estate? with HqO
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This past August marked the 25th anniversary of Microsoft’s formal launch of Windows 95, which introduced the broader population to the concept of an operating system for the very first time. At its launch, only about 30% of American homes had computers, and less than 10% had any form of internet access. 

Now, it’s incredibly difficult to imagine living without computers that are linked to our tablets, smartphones, and other devices through one of these operating systems — in fact, you’re likely only able to read this on your computer or phone because of these systems in place. 

Windows and similar technology giants like Apple are prime examples of what technological advancements like an operating system for your building means for commercial real estate: once you integrate technology into your day-to-day life, there’s no going back. The current landscape of commercial real estate has changed drastically, partly because of the pressing needs brought about by the new normal that has only exacerbated the already-looming need for digital transformation throughout the industry. In the same way Apple and Windows redefined the technology industry in response to changing consumer needs, technology solutions can help modern-day real estate professionals and occupants navigate this changing landscape. 

Today, the commercial real estate landscape demands one interoperable system with endless possibilities. The main issues that commercial office owners and property teams face center around tenant attraction and retention, fragmentation, and differentiation of their assets. Commercial real estate needs solutions to address these issues while allowing for stronger tenant-property connections, data-based decision making, and faster implementation of asset strategies.

That’s why we’ve created HqOS — the tenant experience operating system for commercial office buildings: to cater to the increased needs and demands of the modern CRE asset and its owners and tenants.

One System, Endless Possibilities

The success of Windows demonstrates how businesses can be impacted by an operating system. In today’s technology-driven world, operating systems are both ubiquitous and invisible. For an operating system to have a similar impact in CRE as it did when Microsoft introduced the concept, interoperability is essential.

At its core, HqOS enables commercial real estate to build and iterate on new technologies. As more and more people adopt this end-to-end solution, new functionality will become available to build upon the existing foundation. 

“From the position of an operating system, we’re not trying to figure out the solutions to everyone’s problems,” Dr. Butler said. “We’re enabling others to figure out clever solutions and to plug them into the real estate market in a much faster way.” 

HqOS has created a set of standards that partners and developers are able to build upon, meaning this functionality will be much richer than sourcing from one company alone. You can think about this as an experience similar to downloading an app via the App Store, or a developer building an app that meets Apple’s standards so that it is allowed in their App Store. The capability to build technology to establish standards and iterate on that serves to extend the power of the platform, creating a vast library of tools and software that can be plugged in with ease.

Given the essential nature of interoperability, HqO sought to simplify the experience and make it seamless for all involved parties.

“In technology, an operating system manages the complexity of the underlying computer, phone, or laptop, so that app developers don’t actually have to worry about the details of the hardware or memory or CPU,” explained HqO CTO, Dr. Jim Butler. “They can just build what they want.

“We’re trying to do the same for buildings: to provide a layer that manages all the complexity and craziness of the physical environment.

Keeping this interoperability and functionality in mind, the HqOS operating system is bundling apps in one place for consumers, and managing apps in one place for buildings. HqOS consists of three primary components: the Tenant Experience Platform, the Marketplace, and the Digital Grid

In the same way that operating systems are now staples in our daily lives, the goal of HqOS is to create seamless property experiences that are impossible to separate from our users day-to-day. HqO co-founder and CEO Chase Garbarino spoke about the significance of HqOS and pinpointed why it’s so important these capabilities live in one place.

“People will only use seven to nine apps on a weekly basis,” he explained. “As a stand-alone app, it’s really hard to crack into people’s routines. If landlords have the opportunity to bundle all that functionality into one place, that will drive adoption and use.” 

From Nice-to-Have to Need-to-Have 

COVID-19 has created new demands from tenants that require faster innovation and smarter decisions from landlords. Following these increasing new expectations, an operating system for CRE has become even more of a need-to-have amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the onset of home quarantine orders, we’ve all experienced the ways in which “new normals” eventually, inevitably become part of our everyday lives. Similarly, in order to unify technology solutions to provide functionalities critical to COVID-19, you need an operating system for your building.

Giving landlords the opportunity to bundle various functionalities in one place empowers data-driven decision-making for landlords, accelerates the implementation of innovative asset strategies, and delivers an exceptional tenant experience to building occupants in the process.

The most successful landlords and property teams have acknowledged that tenant experience software has become a necessity, especially throughout office re-entry. In fact, 78% of respondents in a recent EY report say they either have rethought or expect to rethink their technology strategy or the extent to which they adopt new technology tools as a result of COVID-19. 

By allowing companies to interact directly with the people who work in their buildings, HqOS helps resolve a multitude of property team concerns. By providing functionalities that seamlessly communicate and work with one another, property owners can both keep tenants and employees safe while allowing them to comfortably and confidently use their offices again, and meaningfully engage with and add value to their daily experience even when working remotely. 

A New Horizon 

There’s no denying it: now that the commercial real estate market has become digitized, there’s no turning back. The tools embedded within the HqOS operating system are a must-have for your office portfolio, as they generate important data and learning opportunities about your building that will strengthen both your relationships with your end-users and your strategy to stay ahead in the market. Guarantee your portfolio’s future success by investing in tenant experience technology now.

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