With CREtech NY quickly approaching next week, Tom Kendall, Solutions Engineer at Building Engines, discusses how commercial real estate (CRE) proptech is changing, evolving, and helping property teams do more than ever before. From tenant experience to the centralization of data, CRE tech is creating new opportunities for buildings and strengthening relationships between property teams and tenants 

Keep reading for Tom’s insight into the proptech landscape and what it means for the CRE industry.  

1. What are the top things tenants are demanding from buildings? How do CRE properties need to accommodate them? 

Tom Kendall: Every tenant has an expectation for everything to be in one place. That’s the way the world is now. Being able to access the local area information, events in the area, anything pertaining to that building, as well as their day-to-day life in the building itself. One responsibility that buildings have is to be able to provide that and think of the tenant’s life outside of the building as well as inside the building.  

What does your tenant need in order to have a successful day? Is it traffic information, commuting information, food and beverage? It’s not necessarily the responsibility of the building, but it is something buildings can differentiate themselves with and create a happy tenant and customer base. 

A communication channel for tenants to voice their concerns when they have them is important as well. It goes beyond operations and responding if a light is out or if it’s too cold or too hot in a tenant suite. The operations side is not the only thing we should be focused on. So, combining a positive tenant experience and a place to communicate is what CRE tech and proptech are transitioning toward. 

2. How is proptech being used to meet expectations in the hybrid work era? 

TK: It’s about providing tenants with more than just the ability to voice concerns. You’re thinking about the tenant and their life outside the property. Being able to enhance the tenant’s experience, whether they’re going in one day a week or all five, they can still get all the information they need through one localized place 

When we think of the hybrid work environment, we need to consider that a lot of the workforce is determining for themselves whether they are going to be in the office. Communication from the building is going to be important. If you are having a social event on a Thursday or Friday, make sure your tenants are aware so they can decide if they want to change their schedule to take advantage of the additional values the property is providing.

Webinar – The Future of Work: 3 Must-See Takeaways for CRE Landlords

Webinar – The Future of Work: 3 Must-See Takeaways for CRE Landlords

In this on-demand webinar, you’ll hear from experts at Building Engines and HqO and learn the top three ways the workplace is changing and what it means for CRE landlords and their buildings.

3. How is CRE tech helping to evolve the tenant-landlord relationship? Why is this important? 

TK: The word I would use to describe the CRE tech evolution and where it’s going is transparency. Transparency from the tenant to the landlord and the owner and property team as well as from the other side to the tenant is key today.  

An example would be if a property manager and tenant wanted to have an impromptu meeting, the property manager can quickly hop on to their tech platform and see: 

  • The expiration of their lease 
  • Overall tenant satisfaction 
  • How many open or outstanding tickets there are 

Going into that conversation, the property manager understands what part of the lifecycle their tenant is in, how satisfied they are, what issues have not been taken care of adequately, and if they’ve been utilizing the system.  

What CRE tech needs to do is provide landlords and property managers, with enough transparent information about tenants at any time to have a good relationship. And for the tenant, in the same way, it’s about providing them with all the same data.  

Transparency and information are the responsibility of CRE tech because it helps to fill the gaps and build relationships between landlords and tenants. That way more knowledge can be shared across the board.

4. What are the top things property teams should expect from their proptech providers? 

TK: A one-stop-shop and all-in-one solution with as few logins, browsers, and windows as possible. In the CRE tech world, there is a natural sense to be comfortable with things not working smoothly or things being in many places. You might have a solution for operations, a solution for leasing, and a solution for bid management. And those things are all separated and individually managed. The CRE tech world is responsible for bringing those together in one place that is easily accessible and readily available when needed. So, the centralization of data and functionality is what property teams should require and expect.

5 Ways to Mobilize Your CRE Property Teams to Save Time and Money

5 Ways to Mobilize Your CRE Property Teams to Save Time and Money

Engineers and property teams need to free up time by cutting out manual processes. With the right mobile technology, it’s possible to increase productivity, improve building communications, and more.

5. What does the future of proptech look like? 

TK: It centralizes all functionalities and closes a lot of lifecycles. What the future of CRE tech and proptech looks like is that across every aspect of business from accounting, to bidding, to acquiring new tenants, to leases. All those lifecycles and relationships need to be found in one place and in one centralized location. 

Also, there are a lot of manual tasks. Now, with new BMS and sensory data, we are seeing an incredible reliance on that information, and it allows property teams to focus on things that are most important. When something is overheating, or if there is a high pressure on a piece of equipment, that kind of alert automatically triggers a report for a preventative maintenance or work order task and notifies the correct people, time, and issue. With automation, you can take your hands off more often. And with centralization, when you need to put your hands on, you only have to go to one place.

6. Where can people find you at CREtech NY if they have follow-up questions? 

TK: I will be attending the CREtech NY both days, October 12th – 13th. I, alongside other people from the Building Engines team, will be at Booth 407.  

Scott Sidman, Building Engines’ Executive Vice President, will also be speaking on October 12th from 2p.m. – 2:30p.m. at the “Ask Me Anything Stage.” 

I also plan on staying after the conference. So, if you are in town, I would love to set up a time to chat. I am available October 11th – 16th. My email is tkendall@buildingengines.com.  


Interested in learning more about the topics we discussed with Tom? Check out our interactive eBook, How to Create Commercial Buildings that Attract and Retain Occupancy.