Welcome to Building Engines Connect, a premier virtual event for professionals in the commercial real estate (CRE) sector. Happening July 30th, attendees can look forward to engaging with industry leaders, exploring cutting-edge technologies, and gaining insights into the latest market trends. The conference will feature thought-provoking sessions, interactive workshops, and extensive networking opportunities.  

Ahead of the conference, we sat down with Daniel Russo, CEO & President, Building Engines, and Sharon Hunt, VP of Product Management, Building Engines, to discuss what we can expect from the first virtual conference. 

Q: What are you most excited about with Building Engines Connect?

Daniel Russo: I’m most excited about getting all our customers together to learn about the state of the industry. With proptech growing globally, I’m eager to get discussions going around the topic. I’m also excited about the product announcements and the sessions the team has put together. I think they’ll really help customers learn more about how to use proptech and how they can get better value out of our products. 

We’re putting a good thing on the calendar for property managers and engineers to come to every year so they can learn about the industry and further their careers. 

Q: How is Building Engines Connect different from other proptech conferences?

Sharon Hunt: Building Engines Connect demonstrates how our customers are going to have a material voice in how our products are being shaped. They’ll see how we are working towards creating capabilities, especially as it relates to insights and data that they can use to transform how they work. 

Building Engines Connect is also different because we’re being very tactical. We’re showing our strategy, but then we’re being very specific about how it can be translated into day-to-day insights and how teams can use our tools versus the conference being abstract, which can be oftentimes at these shows.

Russo: I think customers will see a big pivot from us around building software and really focus on its value. We’ll answer: What are the current proptech solutions? How will they make their lives better? What will make things more efficient? How can they show value to the ownership? How can they increase NOI? That’s different than most proptech shows. These shows usually bring people together, vendors and customers, and they don’t get into the details like this. 

Q: What are you hoping attendees will get out of Building Engines Connect?

Russo: What I’m hoping customers will walk away with is a clear understanding that we have done a lot of research. We understand the problems they have in inefficiencies, the headwinds, and that we are deeply invested in helping them fix those problems. It’s a real understanding of who we are as a company, where we’re going, what we’re doing and why, and then how that aligns to their goals.  

Hunt: I’m hoping attendees will gain insights into how to fully utilize Prism by seeing our experts showcase the product, talking to colleagues, and seeing how some of our “power users” are getting value out of the tool. So, they’ll walk away with, “Oh, wow. I didn’t know that Prism could do XYZ. I’m going to go use that today.” 

Q: What do you think customers will be most excited to hear about Building Engines’ product roadmap?

Hunt: We’re going to be talking about our new Prism Projects module. For example, what we’re doing in the sustainability space, which includes new tools to track energy consumption and understanding when you’re ready to be certified, how that ties into CapEx projects, and seeing whether the projects that you’re investing in materially move the needle on your energy consumption.  

There’s going to be a review of what we’re doing to make capital planning more sophisticated. Meaning, being able to track deeper details about equipment, especially as it pertains to replacement cost to average lifespan, beyond just HVAC, but to broader equipment categories and doing a similar thing for property data collection. 

The enhancements will allow teams to enter a lot of rich metadata about their properties so that we can easily service insights to property management teams about those properties. For example, if you wanted to know quickly, “Where do I have rooms that are over 30 years old?” you’ll be able to slice and dice the data into that level of detail.

All that is leading up to the future-facing vision around what we’re doing from a machine-learning and AI lens. 

Q: What is your overall vision for CRE technology’s role in transforming building operations in the next few years?

Russo: We’re on a mission to bring all these little, niche products into one platform so that property managers and people in the building can run their buildings more efficiently, at the lowest cost, and without having to do duplicate work.  

In the current state of the industry, there’s a lot of little, very fragmented niche players – lots and lots of startup and venture capital money coming into the industry. And if an operator of a building or an owner of a portfolio was to buy all the products they need from every little niche vendor, they would be buying products from 10 to dozens of vendors at 10 times the price. And in every single one of those properties, they have to set up users, tenants, buildings, and vendors and repeat this over and over to get the base information into the products. That’s a waste of time and very expensive.

It’s hard to manage all these vendors and startups. They just don’t have enterprise scale security. So, we’re on a mission to bring all of that into a single platform. We have enterprise scale. We have over 5 billion square feet on our platform from customers and all the relationships and everything a customer needs. 

Q: How is Building Engines positioning itself as a leader in the future of CRE tech?

Hunt: We are that one central location, the hub for all your proptech operations. Beyond just our software, we’re the place all your other solutions can speak to and be that centralized hub. That’s a big piece of being the tip of the spear when it comes to surfacing rich insights that give property teams the information they need to have more profitable and more sustainable buildings.

All of that comes from a deep understanding of our customers’ workflows, where they have knowledge gaps, and where they have historical knowledge that hasn’t been digitized yet that we can help bring into a digital form. That kind of intelligence can be more democratized. We want to be the building operations platform that leads with being the centralized hub for all these different proptech tools while also delivering world class insights. 

Russo: We’re going to be putting a massive investment back into ourselves. We have well over 150 proptech experts and five years and over $60 million invested into Prism now. And we’re going to continue to pump a lot of money and investment back into the product. We’re not going to be like some of the other companies that get acquired and then search for profits. We’re going to continue to really invest back into the product for our customers, more so than anyone else in the industry.

Stay ahead in the dynamic world of commercial real estate, register for Building Engines Connect today.