Building Engines recently flew to Kansas City to attend the BOMA 2023 International Conference & Expo. The team was joined by 300 other commercial real estate (CRE) experts from around the country. If you couldn’t attend BOMA 2023, we’ve got the rundown of insights from the conference.
This roundup of key takeaways from BOMA 2023 includes expert insights from:
- Kyle Tooke, Senior Director of Client Services, Intelligent Buildings
- Jennifer Burns, Executive VP, Monday Properties
- Brynn Hogan, Director of Product Management, Building Engines
- Anastacia Anderson, VP Investor Partnerships, Flex by JLL
- Dennis Mazaris, CEO, Concert Technologies
- Greg Carey, Senior VP and CIO, RMR Group
Building the best tech stack
Perhaps not surprisingly, discussions about smart buildings and how to implement and scale the best tech stack filled the rooms at BOMA 2023.
While Kyle Tooke, Senior Director of Client Services at Intelligent Buildings, noted during the “Demystifying Smart Building Technology and Integrations” session that the definition of a smart building might mean something different to everyone, CRE experts throughout BOMA 2023 agreed that a robust tech stack is paramount for success today.
However, the proptech marketplace is fragmented. That has made tech integration sometimes difficult for property teams. In fact, Tooke said that 33% of CRE professionals cite a lack of integrations as a pain point in dealing with their building systems.
And as Jennifer Burns, Executive VP at Monday Properties, noted during the “What is the Future of Connectivity & Tech Ready Buildings in CRE?” session at BOMA 2023, easy integration of smart tech is of the utmost importance to building the best tech stack for commercial properties.
Experts agreed that having all functions of a building operations tech stack on one platform is essential. “Your reactive work orders, your proactive maintenance to keep programs running, your scheduled inspections to ensure the quality of your property, […] the communications around messaging your tenants – the real value is having all of that in one place,” said Brynn Hogan, Director of Product Management at Building Engines, during the “The Evolving Workplace Requires a Modern Tech Stack” session.
Anastacia Anderson, VP Investor Partnerships at Flex by JLL, speaking during that same session, agreed and urged property teams not to recreate the wheel. Instead, she advised to look for proptech that offers one dashboard with everything in it. The platform should allow property teams to collect key operational and tenant data in one place and integrate with other technologies for centralized analytics (see “Big data, big ROI” section below).
At the end of the day, Dennis Mazaris, CEO of Concert Technologies, said you must first be “tech ready” in order to ensure your building can be smart. “It’s a journey and not a final destination,” he said during the “What is the Future of Connectivity & Tech Ready Buildings in CRE?” session.
Connectivity with tenants
However you build your tech stack, CRE leaders agreed that it must be centered around tenants and enhancing their experience in the building. “Whatever operations system you are using, the basis of it is that you are delivering what you need to for your tenants,” Hogan said.
Tooke agreed. “If you’re not investing in smart technology to enhance your assets in increasing tenant satisfaction, you’re going to be left behind,” he said.
And many CRE leaders said a mobile app is one way to amplify that experience. Tooke said, for one, that the No. 1 use case for an app is mobile access for the building. However, Anderson said property teams shouldn’t just add a mobile app because it seems like a good idea. It needs to add value to tenants. That’s because, she said, the average employee uses 10 to 30 apps a day just for their work. The danger of implementing an app that doesn’t have value to tenants is a low adoption rate (and a low return on investment).
Greg Carey, Senior VP and CIO of RMR Group, said during the “Demystifying Smart Building Technology and Integrations” session that it’s imperative to work with tenants early in the process, before integration and implementation even starts.
Burns expressed similar sentiments. “From a tenant perspective, you have to communicate that the technology is easy to use. Otherwise, they won’t be open to adopting technology,” she said.
When tenants are comfortable with the app, the more likely they are to use it. And more adoption means access to more data. “The more data you can collect can provide you with more value later,” Carey said.
Big data, big ROI
And that data can lead to a big ROI. Once the app is available to tenants, Carey said it’s important to access data from it to see how tenants are doing. Those insights can lead to business decisions that have the power to increase tenant satisfaction. For one, Burns said understanding tenant and asset profiles and the data insights they provide are essential to improving building technologies.
Anderson expressed similar thoughts. “Once you’re engaging tenants with an app with relevant and up-to-date information, that’s where you’re going to see that true investment,” she said. “How are people using your space? … What capital investment projects should you be doing at your building just based off that data?”
She said the data collected from a mobile app has the power to move the needle on ROI-generating amenities that can grow tenant satisfaction. “With a capital investment in these amenities, it needs to have some sort of payoff,” she added.
Simply put, data empowers property teams to invest in what tenants want and differentiate their assets from the competition.
Concluding BOMA 2023
We learned a lot at BOMA 2023 during the sessions and throughout the networking halls. We look forward to keeping a pulse on how the trends and insights discussed this year play out through the rest of 2023 and beyond.
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