There is a recent surge in popularity for PropTech (property technology) solutions as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has building owners and property managers seeking out safer and more efficient ways of operating their real estate portfolios. With a heightened focus on health and safety, many of these solutions help to mitigate the inherent risks of multiple users navigating, occupying, and simultaneously using building spaces and systems. Common areas of focus include access and security, wayfinding, and facility management. With the influx in visibility of these technologies, it’s important to consider the value of any solution before it is implemented in your space.
Plan for long-term value
As with any capital improvement, carefully weigh the benefit of any new technology deployed at your site. The technology should prove useful for you and the building occupants not just in the short-term, but for many years to come. There may continue to be a need to address a pandemic scenario for months, or years, so any upgrade should be considered a permanent installation that fits into the current building ecosystem. Consider solutions that allow for easy upgrades and expansion so that as conditions change, so too can the system. Look for ways that various systems can work in concert as well so that the occupant experience remains as seamless as possible. Similar to any technology that we use daily, the more intuitive and simpler it is, the more likely it is that the technology will be used correctly and effectively. Beyond simply addressing the needs of current occupants, expanding the use of novel technologies at a property can attract prospective tenants by creating new reasons for them to consider your property for their future home.
Consider design and aesthetics as well as function
While many PropTech solutions work behind the scenes where occupants may never venture, any public-facing infrastructure should be given the same attention to detail as any other built element in the space. Systems like digital and static signage, guards and barriers, and even digital apps should reflect the building’s aesthetic and “brand,” extending existing design characteristics to further enhance occupant experience. Thoughtful design will signal to occupants that a solution was thoroughly planned out, not just a temporary fix, and encourage users to more quickly become accustomed to new operating procedures. In the same way that convenience encourages rapid adoption, well-designed interactions will prove more successful and contribute to overall satisfaction in a space undergoing change.
As property technology solutions increase, it’s important to take a step back to thoroughly plan for the deployment of any new technology. With countless technologies on the market it’s important to establish your main goals for adding what may be expensive and complex systems to your property. Consult industry professionals and peers to evaluate where others have found the most success. Make a plan to monitor your own deployments to both evaluate their successes and identify where improvements need to be made. The right combination of tools can offer occupants both physical and perceived safety as well as a renewed sense of convenience in their daily lives during a time when venturing back to the office might be a necessity or become a more appealing alternative to the home office.