What is Proptech? And How Does it Impact Commercial Real Estate

Everyone’s talking about proptech—but what does it look like in practice?

In this article, we break down the core features and benefits of property technology, explain how it impacts commercial real estate operations, and help you determine how to implement proptech in your building. 

What is the Proptech Industry, and Why is it Important to Commercial Real Estate? 

Commercial real estate is a traditional industry that has only recently faced a paradigm shift in the needs of its consumers.

It’s no longer enough for landlords to offer space as a service. Rather, the modern workforce of office tenants are more interested in holistic service offerings to match the cultural shift toward an elevated awareness of their sense of place. 

In short, tenants expect a higher quality experience from their offices. CRE leaders, asset managers, and landlords are finally recognizing this, and are taking a more humanistic approach in order to attract and retain tenants. 

But how has this shift come about? There are two-handfuls of challenges associated with the industry which are currently in flux: 

  1. Property Managers’ are Missing Intelligent Methods of Data Collection 

Property Managers are stretched thin because much of their day is devoted to being reactive rather than proactive towards the needs of their tenants. 

Scattered systems of spreadsheets, forms, and paper handbooks no longer suffice. Why? Not only are these tools clunky and out of date, they also lack analytical insights. Property teams have no way of evaluating how engaged their tenants are, or how actively they’re using building amenities. Without an intelligent way to measure success, missed opportunities stack up.

Tracking and aggregating data in a straightforward analytic dashboard allows property managers to quickly understand adoption, engagement, and usage rates—while also providing insight into user behaviours and preferences.

  1. Tenants Expect Seamless and Elevated Workplace Experiences 

This next generation of professionals are digital natives—they value balance, convenience, comfort, and above all, a sense of community. Not only that, they expect services that mirror the same digital ease found in other aspects of their lives, from food ordering to transportation services. 

And, now more than ever, tenants are looking for flexible or short-term lease options. Office occupants aren’t here for a long time—they’re here for a good time. Property managers must find meaningful and inventive ways to foster positive workplace experiences to attract and retain tenants as the future of work continues to shift.

How Should Managers Choose a Proptech Platform? 

It’s clear that CRE execs understand the value behind proptech, and are starting to seek out solutions to provide efficiencies for building staff and create ease and comfort for tenants. But with so many platforms floating around in the proptech industry, how do you choose the right one? 

  1. Why Build When You Can Buy? 

When considering a proptech platform, CRE execs are often tempted to build their own app. Although building an in-house tech solution may seem appealing, it is capital-intensive, and involves hiring skilled talent with the competencies required to ramp up, research, develop, and deploy. 

CRE teams have earned their subject matter expertise in the built world—but developing a tech platform requires an entirely different set of skills.

Over time, it becomes difficult to continually release well-developed product updates and competitive features without growing budgets devoted to R&D. These growing needs continue to take attention away from the day-to-day business that owners and asset managers need to prioritize. Consider investing in a well-developed platform with subject expertise to back it up before developing an in-house solution.

  1. Rely on Subject Matter Experts 

At Lane, we’re not just a team of web and mobile app platform developers. Our specialty lies in creating a human-first brand of technology. 

Working with a skilled product development and engineering team like ours gives owners and operators peace of mind, while keeping costs low and the time to market quicker. Purchasing rather than building means that there are protocols put in place for data security and privacy of users’ account information, as well as a continuous feedback loop of agile product testing and iterative improvements. In 2020, Lane is projected to devote over $7 million dollars and 80% of our efforts toward research and development initiatives.

Our team helps to define and set metrics of success so that it’s easy to level-set expectations. Through our platform, day-one analytics are tracked and aggregated so there are no missed opportunities to refine offerings and modularity of the app.

What are the Benefits of Investing in Property Technology? 

There are plenty of benefits associated with investing in an industry-leading platform like Lane. With the introduction of Lane at any particular CRE building or complex, both tenants and property teams gain a simple solution to complicated demands.

  1. Tenants receive a powerful tool to enhance their workplace experience  

The modern professional craves the same ease and digital convenience that they’re used to receiving in other aspects of their daily life. Proptech platforms like Lane replicate that experience at their place of work.

Property technology provides a single, seamless solution for a variety of services, including:

  • Communications such as notices, events, and emergency alerts.
  • Guest registration, concierge bookings, and security reporting intelligence. 
  • Amenities like digitized access to health and wellness programming, parking facilities, and conference room bookings.

  1. Property teams receive a data-driven technology interface for multiple sets of tools

Using Lane means that property teams can do a number of tasks more efficiently, and all within a single digital space—from operational tasks, to engagement efforts, to data analysis. 

Using a proptech solutions, building teams can easily optimize operations through a number of features, including: 

  • A dashboard of key performance analytics that shows adoption rates, event attendance, and engagement based on service and amenity usage.
  • Consolidated communications platforms, work order management systems, tenant surveying technology, and digital advertising display screens.
  • A perks and rewards program structure and many other integrated tech offerings, such as transit information and wellness programming.
  • Best practices education for optimizing buildings’ offerings as well as expanding across property portfolios.

  1. Proptech tools can be customized for peak optimization 

At Lane, we ensure that features are configurable and modular, based on unique building needs. If a building boasts wellness classes, Lane can help elevate the offering with a booking system. If your building is situated geographically in a high-risk seismic zone, security and safety alerts can be set and targeted as push notifications to those on the premises. 

No matter what context you’re working with, applications and integrated tooling mean that there are countless workflows that can be optimized to your needs. 

The data doesn’t lie. Research shows that using Lane leads to: 

  • 20x tenant engagement in existing building activities
  • 13x increased reach of employee communication 
  • 2.2x ROI from improved productivity.

  1. Onboarding buildings in your portfolio has never been easier

Onboarding can be a stressful, uncertain process. 

Here at Lane, our Client Services team nurture and re-educate property partners, and create meaningful engagement in new markets. Our tried-and-tested method uncovers a way to orient goals around solving distinct property pain points, and establishes understanding where others see gaps.

We believe in creating strong partnerships between our team and our property partners, so that you can manage your diversified portfolio with ease.  

How Do You Effectively Launch Proptech in Your Building? 

So, you’ve been sold on the idea of proptech, and maybe you’ve even found your ideal platform. That can only mean one thing—launch time! 

An ideal launch engages your property team across departments, builds excitement, and captures attention. It’s an opportunity to inform and educate all members of the workplace community, and introduce them to a new workplace experience. 

And, importantly, a successful launch creates a positive introduction to the platform and directly promotes app downloads and sign-ups. But how do you craft the perfect launch? 

  1. Consider going digital 

Facilitating an in-person, on-site launch is a visceral experience that engages all senses. We’ve documented our ‘Best Practices for Hosting Launches’ here, and summarized our findings in our Launch Event Resource Sheet here; a coordination breakdown to make your launch a success. 

However, with the new era of remote work, designing a fully digital activation is an uncompromising solution that won’t go unnoticed. As many office complexes face a large portion of their tenants working from home due to COVID-19, using elements of digital adoption are key to reinvigorating your platform when welcoming back tenants after a period of remote work.

  1. Cross-Promote to Maximize Interest

WIth a digital launch, you can take advantage of a number of tools to create a multi-channel strategy. This might include: 

  • Using email templates to create a countdown campaign to tease the platform pre-launch. Lane even has templates that include direct links to download and register for the mobile app. 
  • Digital signage in and around the building, such as digital screens by Cineplex, Captivate or Pattison. This signage can include scannable QR codes leading to more information about the platform.
  • Promotional videos and product imagery showcasing app features and navigation.
  • Collateral to host a virtual walk-through or how-to webinar.
  • Assets to promote on existing social channels, such as social media banner images, post images, and caption copy.
  • Digital materials to add to a promotional microsite.

  1. Build Adoption and Engagement from Day One

Ensure that your property team is ready from the outset to build a positive affinity toward the platform. The enthusiasm from the core team radiates outward to all members of the community!

Remember to:

  • Share the universal download URL on all promotional materials.
  • Promote exclusive Perks.
  • Build out an engaging Content Calendar catered to the preferences of your building subscribers.
  • Provide ways to engage right away with contests, giveaways, or surveys.

  1. Lean on Lane for Ongoing Support Beyond Launch

With Lane, property teams can expect a full suite of support—from strategy, to training and onboarding, to content creation and marketing management. Our open lines of communication enable us to empower clients to reach and surpass measures of success.

Still have questions about launching a proptech platform in your building? 

Request a Demo.