The CRE Guide to Tenant Apps
Due to constantly developing tenant and office building needs, the adoption of proptech and technology partnerships has become a necessity in a world adjusting to rapidly evolving work models. Tenant engagement tools such as tenant apps and office space software not only help landlords and property teams bring new life to the overall building experience, but also reinforce a competitive advantage in a shifting industry. Additionally, many proptech companies are available in the market to help establish a more customer-centric model for the commercial real estate (CRE) industry.
Growing flexibility in working preferences means that the workplace and its community have now officially transcended the four walls of the office building — not only do landlords have to find ways to create great experiences for those who choose to come into the office, but also for those who choose to stay at home or work from some other remote location. It’s also been an important time to focus on making time in the physical office valuable as a way to attract tenants to office spaces as a preferred work location. Thus, the industry has reached a point where technology is needed to bridge the gap between the physical office and the digital workplace to create omnichannel office experiences, while also connecting employees in a way that is both engaging and thoughtful.
What Are Tenant Apps?
Tenant apps — such as a mobile property management app, rent tracker app, security app, or digital programming app — are apps that have both tenant-facing and management-facing capabilities to help create efficiencies, streamline processes and systems, and improve the tenant experience within a building. Though many variations already exist for the residential sector, their use for the commercial office sector has only just boomed within the past year.
“These products are all about bringing the various services together for a building’s community to access,” says Alex Edds, Director of Innovation, JLL. “Fundamentally, it’s about providing a more efficient way for people to interact with the building and enhancing their experience in the workplace.”
According to Deloitte’s 2021 Commercial Real Estate Outlook, 56% of respondents believe the pandemic has uncovered shortcomings in their company’s digital capabilities and affect their plans to transform. Because of this, many of those companies plan to accelerate their digital transformation in the next few years: “North American respondents report their companies are farther ahead than their European and APAC counterparts: Fifty-three percent of respondents that have a defined digital transformation roadmap consider digital tenant experience a core competency. Further, 47% of European respondents and 44% of APAC respondents, compared to 32% of North American respondents, have started redefining business processes, job roles, and skill requirements to embed the use of technology and tools.”
This digital transformation, of course, relies on tenant experience-focused technologies. This includes everything from a mobile landlord app that can help buildings become more tech-enabled for their operations, to a tenant communication app that opens up a direct line of messaging between the physical workplace and building occupants — even if they’re not physically in the building.
This sentiment is further supported by the respondent’s desired functionalities through digital transformation: “About one-half (48%) of respondents who said their company is using digital technologies, such as interactive mobile apps, to increase communication with tenants or end-users, plan to increase investment on digital channels over the next year. Cloud technology could be the backbone for many new capabilities as it offers scalability, data storage, and ubiquitous access. For instance, companies can leverage cloud-based tools for digital marketing and to connect virtually with tenants to build a digital tenant experience.
To expedite implementation of a digital transformation road map, CRE companies should look for strategic partnerships with technology providers or proptechs. REIT respondents seem to acknowledge this and are being more open to collaborating with proptechs. On average, 58% of REIT respondents have increased their intent to partner, compared to 45% of respondents who are developers.”
Determining the Best App for Tenants
With so many technologies available in the market, how can CRE leaders choose the best app for tenants and landlords? Two of the most important things to consider are functionality and interoperability. Tenant experience software needs to not only empower both the tenants who work in offices and the property teams who run the building, but to also play well alongside the existing technology stacks within that building.
When looking for new office technology partners, it’s important to adopt an open, holistic mindset and focus on interoperability. Some initial questions you might ask yourself are, “How can these new technologies conform and interact with the existing commitments I’ve made in my building so I don’t need to replace other systems?” and “Are these third-party partners going to work together well and at scale?”
Selecting well-suited partners eliminates long development timelines as well as misalignment on the end product, and helps create an overall frictionless journey throughout your portfolio. To help further streamline these processes, CRE owners can choose a full tenant experience operating system (OS) — such as HqOS™ — to provide standard and enhanced methods of the user experience.
Why CRE Needs an End-to-End Tenant Engagement Platform
As suggested in the previous section, the easiest way to guarantee success with so many tenant apps and technologies in the market is by investing in a full tenant engagement platform. A platform approach goes beyond an individual tenant engagement app to open up a world of possibilities for the modernization of office buildings. Not only can these end-to-end solutions improve upon workplace environments and make them more desirable for building occupants, but they can also resolve the issue of fragmentation while quickly addressing changing needs in an ever-complex technology landscape.
The key to any successful implementation of tenant experience apps and technologies is managing the processes and complexity that come with new integrations. Whether it powers a mobile device, a laptop, or a server, the prime directive of any operating system is to abstract away the enormous complexities of the underlying system and to provide standard and streamlined methods of user security, user interface, data storage, communications, resource sharing, and most importantly, application execution.
The OS concept also means that the best property management apps aren’t apps at all, but rather a fully integrated platform. End-to-end solutions not only ensure easy processes for building occupants and tenants, but also give property teams access to more meaningful, actionable data that can help inform strategic decisions across entire assets or portfolios. However, adopting a data-driven decision-making mindset requires careful thought.
As part of our HqOS operating system, our growing Marketplace of best-in-class technology partners can help aggregate numerous office space apps for any building. Landlords and property teams can then choose to activate partners and features that meet any building’s specific needs. Our pre-vetted can offer solutions under the following categories:
- Access Control: Security is among the most notable smart building IoT solutions. Through access control capabilities, owners can enable tenants to gain access to their office buildings with just the tap of a phone.
- Emergency Communications: Another critical smart building solution is the ability to communicate critical safety information to building occupants in a quick and efficient manner.
- Order Ahead: A smart-enabled technology platform can increase safety and convenience for your tenants, such as integrating with local retailers to allow them to place orders ahead and reduce friction.
- Resource Booking: Smart building technologies have also made resource booking even more seamless. Smart building sensors coordinate with your existing software to assist in more efficient room booking management, from conference rooms to event spaces and everything in between, making organizing your day a seamless process.
- Service Booking: Technologies used in smart buildings can also be utilized to activate your building amenities. Tenants can take advantage of easy-to-book services, fitness classes, and more.
- Service Requests: Since smart buildings enhance a building’s efficiencies, the building and maintenance staff still plays an essential role. Enter service request solutions, where tenants can communicate with building managers for work orders, cleaning services, and more.
- Shuttle Tracking: Shuttle tracking technologies can help you understand your tenants’ commuting behaviors and determine the best-fit transit solutions for any property.
- Ticketing: Smart ticketing can help grant tenants access to key property experiences and partner services with scannable visuals. The process is quick, convenient, and contactless.
- Visitor Registration: Contactless visitor registration can also be easily integrated into a building through a smart building system. Speed up the visitor registration process while also ensuring modern safety and security protocols are met.
Get Your Free Property Management App Download
Our growing ecosystem of tenant apps and technology partners in HqOS™ — which includes specific property management apps such as Join Digital, Jones, Building Engines, and Angus Systems — can not only reduce administrative processes for property teams but also help create overall seamless experiences for tenants throughout your building.
To learn more about where you can get a free tenant experience and property management software download — whether you’re looking for a free property management app for android or iOS, or other tenant experience capabilities — sign up for a free demo of the HqOS operating system today.
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