Lane’s Chief Product Officer shares what CRE owners can expect in the proptech space going forward.
Property technology, or Proptech, has quickly become an integral part in commercial real estate owners’ success as it pertains to filling vacancies. Whether that version of proptech is software, hardware, materials or manufacturing-based, the CRE owners who embrace these types of solutions are the ones most likely to have an easier time attracting—and retaining—tenants.
Toronto-based Lane, a tenant experience platform designed to build community, connectivity, and engagement at any office building, offers building owners a proptech solution that brings all of a property’s tech-based amenities into one ecosystem. The company has not only been a player in the proptech space, but it has a vision to where the industry is headed this year and in years to come. Lane Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer Kofi Gyekye shared some of the company’s predictions regarding proptech with Commercial Real Estate Magazine.
Prediction #1: Focus will be on the user a lot more.
Signing leases, renewing them and dealing with maintenance requests are all obvious parts of a CRE’s job description, but as Gyekye points out without tenants there’s are no leases to renew or maintenance requests to fulfill.
“Today, proptech is about the end user and making sure that you’re not only providing them with a great experience, but also being connected with them in order to understand how to serve that client, either more directly or in a different way,” Gyekye said. “There’s going to be a much more user-based approach for doing things (going forward).”
Prediction #2: Mass integration will play a more prominent role.
Currently, there are a lot of proptech companies doing good things in the CRE space, but they are not “playing nice” together, according to Gyekye. Co-working companies like WeWork and Convene do what they do well, Lane is a technology platform and other companies provide real-time experiences in building lobbies, but very few of these entities are working together.
“We have to all work together to provide this amazing experience,” Gyekye said. “I think what you’ll see a lot this year is this mass integration where people start working together. At Lane, our goal is to be the central advocate for the end user so all of these services and amenities that other providers are doing well can be served to them in one platform. Seventy-four percent of tenants say they would download a mobile app for their building, but they want to use just one.”
Prediction #3: There will be a decrease in proprietary software use.
As people become more mobile and transient and proptech companies embrace mass integration, Gyekye believes their desire to purchase Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions will decrease. Instead of having to deal with app that they have to keep updating manually, tenants will look to companies like Lane where they can leverage their platform to provide their services and avoid having to build anything on their own.
“(Building a platform) is not what they want to do,” Gyekye said. “That is not their core competency. On the flip side, if we went and tried to build a skyscraper, we’d do a terrible job at that.”
Prediction #4: Commitment to eco-friendly mechanisms will become a priority.
Technology has helped change how people interact with each other in numerous ways, and Gyekye sees that trend having a direct benefit on an environmental level. Lane itself has managed to decrease its paper waste by 60 to 70 percent. As Gyekye points out, there was a time when signs were put up to announced a tenant get-together, and now a push notification can be sent instead.
“It’s a better way to communicate with people and letting them know how to recycle and how to get rid of their batteries,” he said. “I think once you’ve got this end user focus, mass integration of amazing services and amenities and there is less proprietary software and people are using tools they can quickly engage with, the question becomes, ‘OK, what are we changing?’ I that is where you’ll see that on the retainable side of things.”
Prediction #5: Proptech will continue to be a decision-making factor for employees.
“If you’re not providing these kinds of services in your space, you’re not going to have people come work in your buildings,” Gyekye said. “People are not worried about their commute, the want a wonderful plan to work. That’s why companies like Google invest so much in these experiences for their employees—so they can corner the market and create great companies.”