Mobile device

Multi-Tenant Office brings employee badges to mobile devices

Interesting news from Chicago’s Fulton Market District. A multi-tenant office building, 167 Green Street, has made electronic badge access available to everyone who works in the building. Developers Shapack Partners and Focus, along with real estate investment firm Walton Street Capital, say it is the “first multi-tenant office building in the United States to offer all tenants access to the building through a employee badge in Apple Wallet,” according to a press release.

Tenants can “seamlessly and securely tap their iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock office doors, turnstiles, elevators, and keycard-protected convenience spaces – eliminating the need to open an app or introduce a traditional plastic passkey,” the companies explained. “Even if a user’s iPhone needs to be recharged, they will still be able to access the building for up to five hours afterwards with Power Reserve.”

Two companies are behind the technology. Sharry, a European proptech company, specializes in “contactless access” and “front desk management,” according to its website. Sharry says it integrates with more than 20 access control systems and is used in 40 million square feet of facilities on three continents.

The second provider is HID Global, which specializes in managing trusted identities. It claims that “millions of people in over 100 countries” use its products and services daily.

The approach is interesting in several respects. One is to find new ways to deliver value to tenants. According to JLL, bundled space and service packages are on their way to industry. Combining utilities, internet access, and technology services such as network, cybersecurity, and telephone, the hypothesis is that generational changes in the management of tenant businesses will drive increased demands for convenience.

Managing access to buildings and facilities seems a good example of building services with space. Tenants need ways for their employees to access buildings, but in a multi-tenant building, no company has the ability to set standards. Different solutions should work within the same build frame. It might be possible, but it’s also messy and requires complications in implementation and support.

No approach like this is foolproof or always the right approach. For example, iPhones are extremely popular, especially in the United States, but there are many Android phone users. For greater certainty, software systems should work with all popular platforms. There are also other potential services that a building could provide to its tenants and their employees. Each potentially makes ownership more attractive to businesses and saves them money.