Making The Right Technology Decisions Now Is The Only Way To Future-Proof An Office Portfolio
Now more than ever, office tenants are seeking flexibility. Having been through a period of intense uncertainty, they want the ability to adapt space quickly and on demand. Creating a future-proof office that can deliver this boils down to having the right technology, and no one knows this more than EQ Office, a Blackstone portfolio company that focuses on creating inspiring workplace destinations.
“Today, it takes a lot of technology to support the new ways of working,” EQ Office Vice President of Technology Mikki Ward said. “Occupiers need the proper tools for a seamless physical and digital experience.”
When the pandemic arrived, many people were forced to work from home. Businesses quickly had to upgrade or rethink their digital infrastructure, as well as their physical portfolio during the following two years. Now that the pandemic has eased, this desire to combine in-house with remote and hybrid working remains. Businesses are still coming to terms with how they need to adapt their real estate strategies.
To support these new ways of working, EQ engaged real estate technology provider essensys.
“Occupiers need workspaces that can adapt to changing requirements for flexibility, hybrid and distributed working policies,” essensys Senior Vice President of Business Development, West Coast, Chris James said. “Their real estate strategies need to accommodate shorter and flexible terms as required by their business.”
Tenants are seeking workspaces that not only facilitate hybrid working, but that offer a high level of technology in general, James said. They’re looking for more than an empty box — they want move-in ready space and on-demand digital services.
“The right technology can provide a foundation for digital enablement that unlocks a landlord’s ability to deliver on those expectations,” he said. “Today’s modern tenants want to move in and get their employees to work at the fastest possible rate in a fully enabled working environment, with all of the technology, amenities and services possible.”
Once a tenant is in place, they want to use the space they have far more flexibly than in the past, James said. They want a seamless digital infrastructure that allows them to work anywhere in an office building — or even across a portfolio of spaces.
At EQ Office buildings, essensys implemented a campuswide network. This allows the real estate owner to quickly turn on secure, high-speed connectivity that allows customers to move into spaces efficiently so they can enjoy all parts of a property.
“This aligns with our vision to have customers make the transition back to the office without having to stay at their desk all day,” Ward said. “Customers can work from any space within the connected property — even outside on a sunny day.”
Providing this seamless digital experience is critical to creating a future-proof workspace, but it isn’t easy, James said. Landlords need to implement the right framework and digital foundation today that will allow them to meet tenants’ technology requirements for years to come.
Essensys acts as “the intelligent digital backbone for commercial real estate,” James said. The company provides the tools needed for real-time automation of digital services and the delivery of digitally enabled spaces. Without this, a landlord won’t be able to provide all the tech-enabled functions that businesses increasingly need, particularly as they scale up.
“The biggest challenge we face from a tech perspective is rolling out new technology at scale and managing the rollout from start to finish to ensure success,” Ward said. “All our buildings are unique so you can’t assume a standardized implementation.”
Technology is a significant investment, but it is more time-consuming and expensive to correct or retrofit the wrong decision than it is to invest in the right future-ready solution in the first place, James said. When picking a technology provider, landlords need to think strategically about how they can meet tenants’ needs in the future.
“Technology must be simple, secure and scalable,” James said. “The tech must be designed to simplify complex problems and improve operational efficiencies. It must have enterprise-grade security to align to the most stringent of security requirements of today’s corporate occupiers, and it must enable growth at scale to connect buildings across an entire portfolio."
Importantly, making technology decisions isn't something that can be put on hold, James said. Landlords that don’t make strategic technology decisions today and fail to adapt to the changing world of work will lag far behind.
“Forward-thinking real estate owners, like EQ Office, are increasingly capitalizing on opportunities in this fast-evolving office industry," James said.
This article was produced in collaboration between essensys and Studio B. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.
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