Over the course of 2019, I’ve met with hundreds of commercial landlords and tenants to talk about their technology needs. Several key trends emerged from those conversations, particularly in recent weeks, as landlords and tenants start thinking about 2020 tech investments.
We are constantly asking people, ‘What are your biggest technology challenges, and how are you addressing them?’ Based on their answers, here are my predictions for 2020:
- Static physical access credentials will be replaced by more secure dynamic, rotating credentials. Traditional keycards are hard coded with the user’s credentials, which never change. To improve security, more companies are moving toward rotating credentials, which change regularly (a common practice in the IT security world today). Access control systems are then synced, so they know to look for a different credential every time.
- Landlords of quality buildings in tier-one cities such as New York, San Francisco, Sydney, London and Tokyo will lead adoption of mobile access technologies as they compete to offer technology amenities to discerning tenants. We are already talking with the top landlords in almost every major city in the US. Most are exploring this technology, and many are already in pilots, 2020 will be the year they start to implement en masse in their top market cities.
- Enterprise adoption will quickly follow as tenants who embrace the technology in the lobby bring it into their offices. Typically this is driven by companies looking for a mobile-access experience, but often security is a primary driver as companies look for a more secure alternative to encrypted keycard credentials. Some of this is actually being driven by eco-conscious employees, who are asking employers to ditch plastic keycards.
- Awareness will grow about data privacy in the workplace. Huge strides were made in 2019 with regard to consumer data privacy, with new regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act coming into play. But we are now hearing stirrings about employee data privacy – what employers can and cannot collect in the workplace. We think this conversation will become much louder in 2020.
- Due to the exploding popularity of food delivery services like DoorDash and UberEats, companies will provide visitor credentials to delivery people electronically and in advance so that they can deliver past the lobby without having to check in. If you’ve been to a modern office tower in Manhattan around lunchtime, you’ll know exactly what I mean – there can easily be dozens of delivery people queued at lobby security. If they were equipped with temporary credentials on their smartphones, they could proceed directly upstairs.
- Conference room environments will finally begin to be automatically responsive to users. We’re hearing from a lot of tenants that want to use smartphone-based access to personalise office experiences, like automatically logging employees on to a Zoom call when they enter the conference room they booked for the call, or auto-enabling access to a local printer. This approach would save employees (and IT teams) a lot of time and may even help with recruiting, as tech perks are highly valued especially by younger workers.
- The trend towards completely open office layouts will reverse and more shared, individual spaces (e.g., quiet work pods) will be incorporated into office designs. As we work with our customers on system implementation plans, we’re seeing fewer totally open spaces. We’ve also noticed forward-thinking tenants are beginning to design workspaces using data on how and where people get work done, rather than on hunches or habit. The latter is enabled by the data collected from mobile access systems – space planners can access hard data on how often conference rooms and private offices are used, for instance.
Frictionless access is becoming a big priority for landlords and tenants, and mobile technology is enabling responsive environments for tenants and employees while addressing concerns around privacy and data security. We’re excited to see how major buildings across the country start implementing smartphone tech to meet the demands of today’s tech-savvy, privacy-aware tenants.
Brandon Cook is vice president at Proxy, the ‘identity signal for everything’, a set of keys in your phone. It’s for opening doors, as well as turning your Zoom video conference on when you enter the room, and eventually will link with your car, your home, and ordering your Starbucks when you enter the coffee shop.