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The Enhanced Occupant Experience – Taking Buildings to the Next Level!

Companies today are under constant pressure to create competitive advantage in their respective markets, and that competitiveness extends to their unique company brand and culture. Efforts to create the 'ideal workplace' have given rise to the experiential phenomenon for visitors and employees.

In the same way that consumers now expect technology to offer a seamless, enhanced shopping or entertainment experience, employees seek out companies that can offer a digital workplace that responds to their needs and perhaps even anticipates them while promoting productive work activities. There are now a host of technologies that we can use to manage, monitor, analyze and improve on experience initiatives.

This is a relatively new concept, which began with the idea of allowing building occupants to take more control of their building by making micro-adjustments to room temperature using an app on their mobile phones. The other big driver was mobile user management of meeting/conference room bookings.

As these early mobile applications became more common, they effectively put more power in the hands of the occupant, such as digitally reporting maintenance issues from their mobile phone and other similar tasks. From that beginning, it was a short leap to the creativity we see now around developing applications; suites of services and functions that enhance that occupant experience in unanticipated ways.

From a technology standpoint, a lot of the experience phenomenon crosses the lines between design (both architectural and interior design) and the technologies to support experience (UX/UI, integration strategy, etc.). This is because there's just no way you're going to have a good experience in a traditional cubicle office, no matter what you put there; it is the same with outdated analog business processes.

Organizational initiatives in Experience Design and Design Thinking are helping companies understand the nuance of the experiences they are trying to create and to really understand, at a very granular level, peoples' needs and desires. The big data analytics from the sensors and other technologies to monitor occupants' behavior have increased our knowledge in a measurable way about user preferences and behavior patterns.

Some of the major elements of experience still draw on timeless architectural efforts to design a space that is welcoming to human sensibilities: the orientation of the building, the use of natural light and landscape to bring nature in and comfortable furniture that is not only functional but conducive to collaboration and creativity. The technology basics are of course a must, such as very reliable WiFi and cellular for uninterrupted service. Additionally, privacy spaces and designated quiet areas are important.

New technology continues to improve on these ideas by making the visitor and employee experience immersive, intuitive and interactive.

For example, the 151 Franklin building in Chicago has a mobile app that offers an interesting amenity. From a pre-set geofence, the tenant platform recognizes you when you're within 400 yards of the building. It then tees up the building application without the need to unlock the phone or log in, and as you enter, you simply swipe your phone at the turnstile to get immediate access and requisition the destination dispatch elevator. In the near future, the app will start conditioning your office area. It creates a feeling that the building is aware, welcoming and anticipating your presence.

At the eBay Main Street corporate headquarters, digital visual media start incrementally as you enter the building, with columns that light up with information, to interactive touchscreens and on to a huge custom display in the largest auditorium. "We are reinventing our brand, we are reinventing our culture, and it's so important to have a physical manifestation of that. It's how we show up to our community," said Lars Kongshem, Director of the Corporate Digital Experience at eBay.

Many other large corporate players are leading the way in providing the best work environments available today. They include LinkedIn, Salesforce, ExxonMobil, Google, Aruba, Facebook, Microsoft, CBRE Workplace360, McDonald’s and others.

Designing this type of workplace requires the platform for the digital experience as well as facility operations. Many feature stunning visual displays and media that share interactive information about usage, amenities and operations data. Robust network infrastructure to handle telecom and collaborative technologies are needed, as well as to handle access and environmental control, and all the inherent sustainability and cost-saving measures. The graphic below lists some of the potential platform functions:


The earliest efforts to give occupants control fed into data streams about their usage and needs. Many of these applications tie into location and traffic analysis, people counting and people analytics. It includes information about their work habits, preferences and behaviors. While some see this data as a potential revenue stream, there must be a strong privacy policy around the data: how it can and can't be used. Some sensors may be getting into gray areas as far as what is personal or not. If you can analyze or predict the mood of the room, how will that tie into the ways we control for 'happiness'? As AI and Machine Learning become more predictive, there is great potential to be incredibly helpful, but also potentially invasive.

In essence, the way a building interacts with you in an inspiring, engaging way creates a feeling of ease, kinship and belonging. Responsiveness and anticipation of needs will be a given. Valuable time is freed up from mundane tasks like monitoring and managing meeting room bookings, and instead used to creatively engage with peers and for strategy planning for the business. The physical building or campus becomes the immersive digital workplace, a healthier, more profitable place for the humans who work there.


The fundamentals on digital transformation and evolution, including workplace experience, and other industry top of mind topics, will be discussed at Realcomm | IBcon 2019. The conferences will be held in Nashville, TN on June 13 & 14. (Pre-Con, Golf and Tech Tours June 11-12). Register early and save!

Howard Berger, Managing Partner, Program Director, Realcomm
Howard Berger has over 30 years ofexperience in technology and commercial/investment real estate. As Realcomm's Program Director, he manages its US and international conferences and CIO programs. Previously, he was with The Jamesan Group, which specialized in strategic technology consulting for the commercial real estate industry and prior to that, he was with TRW Real Estate Information Systems where he developed real estate information systems for the mortgage, appraisal and title insurance industries.

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RealFoundations is a global professional services firm focused on helping companies that develop, build, own, operate, service, occupy or invest in real estate make smarter, more profitable decisions. From the building itself to the way it’s developed, operated and capitalized, no firm understands the inner workings of the entire real estate ecosystem as well as RealFoundations. We Make Real Estate Run Better.

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UPCOMING REALCOMM WEBINARS

Controlling a Building from Your Phone – OCCUPANT EXPERIENCE Platforms Arrive - 2/28/2019

The initial focus in mobile technologies was on meeting room reservations; then came lighting, heating and cooling, then access control. Over the last 24 months it has become apparent that there are many more occupant experiences that can be delivered via mobile phone. Managing parking, reporting maintenance issues, ordering coffee, scheduling an exercise class, viewing security cameras, and other applications were quickly added to the list. With so many options and approaches available, what are the best strategies for occupant experience? Build versus buy, functionality selection, solution integration and ongoing support are just some of the topics to be addressed by the industries’ most respected professionals.

headshot for Chuck Niswonger
Chuck Niswonger NiceNets Consulting
Chuck Niswonger President Chuck Niswonger has over 30 years of successful leadership experience in technology-related roles that range from operating his own consulting company
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Chuck Niswonger
President
NiceNets Consulting

Chuck Niswonger has over 30 years of successful leadership experience in technology-related roles that range from operating his own consulting company (www.nicenets.com) to directing the IT strategy of a real estate investment management firm to manufacturing and technology-enabled education. Chuck has also been the chair of the Realcomm Investment Management (IM) Advisory Council for the last ten years, managing content selection for the conference educational sessions, IM forums, workshops and webinars.

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Matthew Lennan Oxford Properties
Matthew Lennan Innovator in Residence Matthew Lennan has been integrating IT and building system technologies for more than 30 years. He has developed and implemented computing infrastruc
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Matthew Lennan
Innovator in Residence
Oxford Properties

Matthew Lennan has been integrating IT and building system technologies for more than 30 years. He has developed and implemented computing infrastructures for global financial firms, major healthcare facilities, manufacturing, entertainment complexes and traditional smart buildings. Most recently, Matthew has been working in software development to refine the customer experience for smart buildings in Office, Retail and Residential environments. He is currently responsible for driving Innovation across Oxford Properties’ portfolio.

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Jared Summers ExxonMobil
Jared Summers Data, Analytics & Technology Manager Jared Summers is a motivated execution-oriented high performance individual who has extensive experience managing large-scale global programs. He brin
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Jared Summers
Data, Analytics & Technology Manager
ExxonMobil
LinkedIn

Jared Summers is a motivated execution-oriented high performance individual who has extensive experience managing large-scale global programs. He brings a unique ability to understand and articulate complex technologies in a relatable way while rapidly fielding innovative capabilities. Currently Jared is the Data, Analytics & Technology Manager at ExxonMobil, delivering on the promise of transformational change enabled by digital technologies across the entire global real estate portfolio.

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Joshua Grosser ButterflyMX
Joshua Grosser Vice President - Commercial Sales Joshua has over 15 years of successful leadership experience with early-stage disruptive companies. He has an extensive background in property technol
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Joshua Grosser
Vice President - Commercial Sales
ButterflyMX

Joshua has over 15 years of successful leadership experience with early-stage disruptive companies. He has an extensive background in property technology, focusing on amenities that drive tenant experience across commercial real estate, multifamily residential and student housing. Josh has lead national sales and support teams with an emphasis on customer success, brand recognition, and occupant experience.

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Elizabeth Dukes iOFFICE
Elizabeth Dukes Co-Founder & CMO Elizabeth Dukes is the Co-Founder and CMO of iOFFICE, the leading workforce-centric IWMS software and the first 100% SaaS platform designed for the Di
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Elizabeth Dukes
Co-Founder & CMO
iOFFICE

Elizabeth Dukes is the Co-Founder and CMO of iOFFICE, the leading workforce-centric IWMS software and the first 100% SaaS platform designed for the Digital Workplace. Dukes drives strategy for iOFFICE and advocates for the confluence of people and technology that unleashes the full potential of the workforce and the workplace.

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Nicholas Lawrence cohesionIB
Nicholas Lawrence Head of Sales As Head of Sales, Nick is responsible for leading the sales organization including domestic sales, product implementation and customer success. Nick’s
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Nicholas Lawrence
Head of Sales
cohesionIB

As Head of Sales, Nick is responsible for leading the sales organization including domestic sales, product implementation and customer success. Nick’s 20+ years’ involvement with technology dates to the 90s when Peapod did its best to teach him UNIX. Nick’s IT responsibilities over his various positions have included End User Support, System/Platform Administration, Business Continuity Management and Project, Facilities, Procurement, Contracts & Maintenance. Most recently Nick served as Vice President at Environmental Systems Design (ESD).

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Matt Willmore Modo Labs
Matt Willmore Director of Product Management Matt leads the product development and roadmap strategy for Modo Labs. With broad experience across mobile and audience engagement, along with a custo
headshot for Matt Willmore
Matt Willmore
Director of Product Management
Modo Labs

Matt leads the product development and roadmap strategy for Modo Labs. With broad experience across mobile and audience engagement, along with a customer-centric mindset, he is the company’s product leader for both Workplace and Campus solutions. Matt and his development team continue to enhance the Modo no-code platform, empowering higher education and enterprise organizations to quickly create personalized applications and ensure students and employees have access to the information they need most.