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How Landlords Can Identify Technology That Will Actually Make Their Building Smarter

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Most building owners want to upgrade their property. One of the reasons real estate is such a good investment is it allows owners to write off investments in their assets as a business expense. Property upgrades not only make for a strategic tax deduction, they can increase the desirability of the property, both for sale or lease. They can also help properties remain competitive against new developments in their market. 

Currently, the most impactful improvements to a building are to its tech stack, the technology that makes a building run more efficiently while providing a better experience. This has become a well recognized way to improve profitability. Whether it is a better internet connection, improved access control systems, or a tenant experience platform, property owners and managers are now constantly shopping for what could be their next improvement to the smarts of their building. But the impact of these investments can be hard to understand.

“The PropTech landscape is a challenging one to navigate and we often see clients leaning on our certifications to guide them through it,” said Stefan Schmidt, Head of Smart Buildings Technology at WiredScore. “We hear of quotes that can be ten times more than competing bids, so there is a lot of skew when it comes to the ROI of investing in technology,” he added. Many tech companies offer a wide array of services and each wants to integrate their solutions differently, so it can be hard to compare apples to apples. Bids often fail to cover the full scope of a project, since many times complications don’t arise until the project starts. 

Further complicating the situation is the fact that many solutions are not available in every geography. This means that owners of large portfolios often have to use different vendors for the same solutions. International portfolios also have to take into consideration each country’s data hosting laws and standards which can complicate system architecture. 

Even after an upgrade has been greenlit, a vendor has been identified and a request for proposal has been signed, there is no guarantee that the new technology will significantly improve the building’s performance. That is why WiredScore has created its new Accredited Solutions program. “We are trying to address the challenges of our clients,” said Schmidt, “while understanding solution maturity, simplifying solution comparability, and helping them understand how it would impact their SmartScore.”

WiredScore’s SmartScore certification has become an important way for buildings to be ranked on their technology. SmartScore is informed by 54 different criteria, but the effectiveness of a solution is mapped to four main outcomes: user experience, sustainability, cost efficiency, and future readiness. “We have a global database detailing how these solutions have worked for thousands of buildings, so we have a great feedback loop of what solutions have worked better than others,” Schmidt said. While the solutions database is not meant to be a ranking of vendors, they are able to give suggestions of the best vendor for the client’s needs. 

PropTech companies are started by technologists and entrepreneurs, many of whom don’t understand the language and culture of real estate. That can create a barrier to explaining the benefits and implementation process of a new technology to a non-technical audience. But with tools like SmartScore, real estate owners and operators now have a resource that can explain the technology in layman’s terms and provide an easy-to-understand scorecard of options.

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