Insights

4 ways to make your office into a smart building

August 31, 2021

To create the workplace of the future, you need proptech. Here are some of the main features and solutions you will need, put into the context of customer wants, needs, and behaviours.

In our experience, technological capability dictates the scope (and therefore the limitations) of a smart building. For example, if you don’t have a tenant app, you likely only have two methods for communicating: Manual emails to key tenant contacts, and physical memos. These two methods, alone, cannot hope to foster community, and cannot therefore hope to create a smart space. You need to be quick, broad, and memorable in your approach.

Our tenant app is designed to do this, because the majority of tenancies, and therefore employees, are registered to it. Any communications – news posts, event posts, building updates, memos, videos, and so on – can be sent to all users within seconds. They can also be segmented, just as easily, in the event that you only want to communicate with a specific tenant.

Read also: Want to try coworking spaces in your building? Start small

1. Use your tenant app to communicate back to work solutions and procedures

When we first rolled out our back to work suite, late in 2020, we discovered that two initiatives were particularly high in demand, both with commercial property managers and tenants:

  • Video walkthroughs. Take all of the information tenants need to know about returning to their building – where, when and how to enter; how to book facilities; COVID-19 safety and cleaning measures; new initiatives – and present them in a short, easily-digestible format. These videos need not be Hollywood epics. You can use basic and affordable slide-and-music programs like Biteable to present your building re-entry guide. Alternatively, we can make your video for you.
  • Regular platform updates, communicated in single news posts. Customers love the ease of logging into their tenant app, and reading the latest on changes to building procedures or adherence to COVID-19 safety and security measures. In the event of a COVID-19 emergency – like a case in your building, or the surrounding precinct – emails and SMS emergency notifications can be sent out in a manner of seconds to your entire registered building community. There are simply no good alternatives to this kind of simplified communication. Without a tenant app, and a central hub for knowledge and information, you must use traditional routes (like tenant representatives), and hope that your communications reach your intended audiences.

2. Deploy frictionless solutions, such as touchless access control

The better equipped your building is, the more attractive it becomes to returning customers. The old days of plastic access cards and manual space bookings are fast ending. In their place, and as the starting point in digital transformation, you should consider adding these three solutions to your asset.

  • Touchless access control via smartphone. Our tenant app can integrate seamlessly with the leading access control providers, such as HID and OpenPath, to enable touchless access in your building. Once configured for your site, access passes are housed on a dedicated wallet tab on the Equiem app. Users can manage cards, apply for new ones, and more. When at the reader, the Equiem app functions in the background. Users don't need to have the app running in the foreground. Depending on how access is configured in your building currently, the Equiem app can also be used to automatically call elevators to tenancies.
  • Amenity bookings. With the Equiem platform, you can completely digitize the booking of services, facilities and amenities. Coworking spaces, conference rooms, common areas, fitness centers, gym sessions, classes, seminars – the list goes on and on. In one place, customers can browse, book, pay, and safely check in for sessions and bookings. The back-end system handles instant payments via Stripe, and provides booking confirmations and reminders to all parties automatically.
    By bringing your amenities and services online, your property management team can manage them with a single interface. You can also increase, by an order of magnitude, the amount of behavioural data you capture from your tenants.
  • Car parking. Instant, frictionless, touchless car parking is one of the most in-demand services within a tenant app, both with clients and their customers. Equiem can integrate with car parking booking and access providers, such as UbiPark, to facilitate simple entry to and exit from the workplace.

3. Organise and deploy ‘phygital’ contests

Phygital contests are hosted online, using your tenant app, but some of the entry mechanisms, activities, or prizes may involve offline, in-person interactions. That way, you get the best of both worlds: Customers know that the app is a place for fun and enrichment, and they get the opportunity to react with you and their peers in the real world. Regular contests encourage habitual engagement, and give your platform the all-important sense that things are happening.

Here’s a quick guide to running a phygital contest, with some specific ideas to get you started:

  1. The contest should run daily throughout a one or two week period. When briefing customers about the contest, you should make it clear that daily entries are their best chance of success.
  2. A tried and true entry mechanism is site-based check-ins. Every time customers arrive onsite and check in, using the Equiem tenant app, they receive an entry. Every day, therefore, they have the opportunity to win the prize.
  3. The prize should be major, something worthy of repeated daily entries. Here are some of our most popular rewards:
  1. For prizes: VR headset, Peloton subscription, noise-cancelling headphones
  2. For vouchers: Staycations with local hotels, AirBnB, Nike, Apple, Trunk Club, Stitch Fix, and Personal Shopper

4. Launch community-building digital contests

You can run contests solely within the online realm, too – particularly if those contests are designed to run over a long period of time, with complex entry and qualification mechanisms.

Your tenant app is set up perfectly to run slow-burn digital contests within societies and interest groups, such as sport fantasy leagues, regular trivia contests, and book clubs. By using segmented content posts, multimedia content, polls, forms, and more, you can run a year-long contest with ease. Such exercises tend to get bigger each time they are repeated, which is essential for the health of your building community.

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