The building tech tenants actually want


2 / 17 / 2022


What’s the secret to implementing technology that tenants will actually use?

WiredScore got the inside scoop on what tenants want, and the best ways to avoid the common pitfalls of implementing technology for technology’s sake. Read on for the full breakdown of the tech the tenants of today want to see in the buildings of tomorrow.

1. Data, data and (you guessed it) more data!

From occupancy detection, cleaning statistics, to the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) controls – tenants want to be in-the-know when it comes to their indoor environments. People want to optimize their personal space so they can perform at their professional best. That means utilizing data from the Building Management System (BMS) to create the best in-building conditions.

Now, it’s more important than we ever imagined that building users are able to see who used the building and when. The concept of contact tracing is now familiar to most, and occupancy detection data can play a huge part in minimizing the spread of illness. To stay safe in the “new normal”, tenants need accurate occupancy data to keep employees safe and healthy.

Building Management Systems must push into new realms. Gone are the days when basic data would do, algorithmic machine learning is now key to bettering the buildings in which we spend 90% of our time. Just as our smartphones use our data to better the user experience, our buildings need to learn from the wealth of data collected. Learning, adapting and, ultimately, bettering the user experience to create a more sustainable, inspirational, cost efficient and future proof built environment.

2. When Goldilocks went to the office again…

The “Goldilocks’ spot”: a playful term applied to the environment so perfectly adapted to the needs of the building user that it creates a “home from home” feeling when in the office. But how to achieve this elusive feeling?

Take Ernst and Young, for example. The multinational professional services network built a Resilient Workplace System to guarantee employees that Goldilocks’ spot the moment they walk through the door. “The solution was an IT system that allows individuals to book, register, and enquire about spaces and choose an appropriate workplace depending on their business requirements,” says Dr Paul Luciani, E&Y’s Asia Pacific Real Estate Leader.

Through well implemented tech, employees can choreograph their own in-building experience to suit their exacting needs. Be that a need for more quiet focus time, a desire to sit by the window, wanting a cooler, lighter or darker workspace, or booking collaboration and meeting areas – technology personalizes the nine to five for each individual building user.

Simple things like touchless entry and desk booking apps can have a big impact. The benefit? Boosting workplace satisfaction, increasing efficiencies, and streamlining what once upon a time was a painfully clunky experience.

3. The internet

Stating the obvious a bit here? Perhaps. But without good (nay, make that excellent) internet, the whole operation crumbles. Tenants of today are all looking for the plug-and-play experience. Not to mention a choice of internet service providers, low lag, no blackspots, multiple points of entry, and consistent mobile coverage throughout the building (and yes, that does include the elevators).

In fact, excellent connectivity throughout all areas of the office is so crucial that one large corporation told WiredScore that it hires a team of two people to parade the building, armed with laptops to identify Wi-Fi black spots.

It’s up to landlords and developers to ensure dependable and affordable Wi-Fi is available from day one. Simply put, it’s what the tenants expect. Plug-and-play is essential, as is a variety of providers. These non-negotiables need to be in place for any building to remain competitive within today’s market.

4. All eyes on the sustainability prize

Environmental Sustainable and Corporate Governance (ESG) might be the new buzzword in business, but it really shouldn’t be ignored. There are clear cries from tenants and occupiers to have ready access to digestible sustainability data, with one agent reporting: “We spoke to Amazon, GSK, Barclays, Facebook and they don’t feel there is enough of a relationship with their landlord to ask for sustainability data.”

Businesses’ collective carbon footprint is under the microscope, and the results aren’t always pretty. Carbon emissions now need to be justified and, as the built environment produces nearly 40% of all global carbon emissions, it’s high time commercial real estate stepped up to the plate. This means providing standardized, uniform data that provides a relevant benchmark for buildings.

The good news is that the data most likely already exists, it just needs to be presented in a way that allows both landlords and tenants to make better, more sustainable, data-driven decisions. Going forward, the technological backbone of a building will either make or break it. Implementing smart systems that interact with one another and provide real-time sustainability data is vital.

Final thoughts:

For inspiration, the industry can look to CBRE. At its newly relaunched UK HQ, Henrietta House, CBRE has invested in a tech-enabled “hotel style” experience. Everything from entering the building to finding a desk or meeting room is done through its in-building app. Sensors for occupancy, air quality, and usage are displayed throughout the building, and the seventh floor houses an interactive digital experience.

“If we see a space being used more frequently, we’ll focus maintenance and cleaning in that area, or maybe put a coffee pod on a quieter floor to encourage usage,” comments Isha Jain, CBRE’s UK Head of Digital and Technology.

Yes, these initiatives have a price tag, but Jain adds: “we need to stop thinking of tech as a cost and start thinking of it as a value creator – We want to be data driven, and Henrietta House has taken us one step closer to that.”

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