Mapping Offices: A New Frontier for Commercial Real Estate
For any company, committing to an office space is a big decision. The selection and design process demands a lot from incoming tenants. Luckily, recent innovation can simplify the steps involved.
Digital mapping technology can provide potential tenants with accurate, detailed, and truly useful data about the office spaces they’re considering. In many cases, this information will not only improve decision-making, but eliminate the need for extensive redesigns.
Needless to say, tenants won’t be the only winners in these situations. For landlords, rental companies, and property investors, fewer renovations will mean major cost savings. Tenant changeover timelines and fees will be reduced—and in some cases, eliminated. Lastly, thanks to shorter or non-existent delays between tenants, buildings occupancy rates will thrive.
Digital mapping solutions will create this win-win reality. By providing companies with a complete understanding of how well the buildings they’re considering will meet their needs, this technology will provide big benefits for those on both sides of leasing transactions.
Let’s explore how 3D mapping technology will tackle some of the biggest challenges related to leasing commercial office space.
The burden of starting from scratch
You want incoming tenants to be happy with their office space for years to come. According to conventional industry wisdom, there’s one way to achieve this outcome: rip everything out, then build it back up.
Removing past renovations—from flooring to non load-bearing walls—comes with many costs and stressors. Landlords experience additional headaches when they start rebuilding these newly stripped-down spaces to meet their incoming tenants’ design requirements.
Given the work involved, it’s no surprise that changeover fees can be astronomically high. For some rental companies, these expenses tally up to millions of dollars annually. The process can also lead to lengthy delays between tenants, further compounding costs.
After the fact, landlords often discover that “new” requirements weren’t new at all. Frequently, it becomes clear that past renovations didn’t really have to be removed, since many of the new tenant’s needs are the same as those of the previous tenant.
Completely overhauling an office space to have it look the way it did before you started? It’s hard to imagine a bigger waste of time—and money.
Of course, there are also obstacles on the tenant’s side. Those seeking office space are usually provided with limited information about how a building is currently being used.
How many meeting rooms and closed offices does it contain? How many square feet is the lunchroom? Who’s leaving the space? If it’s a business similar to the one owned by the incoming tenant, how well did the existing setup meet its employees’ needs?
When they don’t know the answers to these questions, it’s difficult for potential tenants to envision their own teams operating in building. A lack of basic information also makes it impossible for them to inform landlords when they’re happy with elements of the existing layout.
All too often, this uncertainty leads to a costly solution: landlords returning a space to base building, then starting from scratch.
Tapping into the power of visualization—and past tenant experience
Business owners deserve their dream office spaces—without the indecision that often comes with laying them out. For landlords, preparing these spaces doesn’t have to be as costly and time consuming as it Is today.
In many industries, a phenomenon known as digital disruption has led to quicker, easier, and less costly service delivery. The commercial real estate sector has yet to tap into the full potential of digital technology, which is a shame. Correctly harnessed, this innovation could eliminate some of the biggest challenges in the leasing process.
Indoor location technology has the capability to collect, process, and make sense of large quantities of building-usage data. This information can support better decision-making for potential or incoming tenants—and, by extension, provide big benefits for landlords.
Accurate and detailed digital maps combined with location data contains insights into how spaces are being used. Real-time positioning works in conjunction with 3D maps to offer a more complete picture of how well current layouts are working. Where are employees getting lost or distracted? Are there any physical barriers impeding workflow?
Once these questions are answered, a few modifications may be all that’s required to optimize a space for incoming tenants. In some cases, landlords may not have to make any changes at all. It just makes sense for businesses to stick with what works.
This information could also be coupled with data from exiting tenants—such as the number of employees and their level of satisfaction with the space. The result would be deeper insight, which would lead to highly-informed building selection and even more precise work space optimization.
There no doubt that mapping technology can provide useful information. That said, how might it be implemented in real-world office buildings?
Digital mapping in practice
There are many ways that mapping technology could be used by different players in the commercial real estate sector. As an illustration, let’s look at how a real estate company might use InnerSpace’s solution to improve the office-leasing process.
Using a combination of advanced technologies, InnerSpace instantly creates a map of the indoor space, which is continually updated to capture environmental changes. The sensor also uses positioning technology to track the movement of people and objects inside.
The landlord now has access to a highly-accurate and up-to-date building layout—and real-time data on how the space is being used. In addition, the InnerSpace dashboard clearly reflects relevant analytics related to space usage and layout effectiveness.
How might this information be presented to potential and upcoming tenants? Let’s say the company that oversees the building decides to create an app for people looking for properties to lease. Building this app is simple, since InnerSpace provides creation tools for developers.
For each building in the company’s portfolio, the app provides basic listing information (number of rooms, etc.) as well as some background on the previous tenant—and their ratings of the space.
Businesses seeking office space use this information to determine whether the building will be a good potential fit. When a company enquires about the space, they’re given access to the digital map of its existing layout—along with the analytics that indicate how current tenants are navigating it.
Armed with this information, a medium-sized tech company feels confident selecting the building for their new location. The space is an excellent match for the team they’ve assembled, so the company informs the landlord that no major renovations will be necessary.
Building the future of commercial real estate
It may sound cliché, but it’s true: landlords are most successful when their tenants are happy. Unfortunately, there’s always been an information disconnect between those on the two sides of commercial real estate transactions.
Innovation is set to change that. Digital solutions like InnerSpace can provide unprecedented insight into indoor spaces, which will result in more informed tenant decisions and major cost savings for landlords. They’re also low cost and low maintenance, providing a high return on investment.
The future of commercial real estate has arrived. Landlords and property investors should be prepared to reap the benefits.