Bill Douglas, CEO
The key to success for any business in the modern world is to embrace the digital culture. This holds true for the commercial real estate (CRE) industry as well. Whether it is workspaces or apartments, implementing smart systems improves connectivity, increases comfort, efficiency, resiliency and safety. Gone are the days of having grid-like cubicles in the workspaces that made employees feel like rats in a cage. Today’s office employees prefer to move around and work in different locations; be it in the cafe or on the rooftop deck, they need secure access to their systems, private networks, Wi-Fi, and many other devices to remain creative and productive.
Similarly, the expectation of people living in apartments also has changed. Tenants these days want their buildings to offer a haven with a new level of control and connectivity. However, as seamless communication and campus-wide connectivity are becoming a new essential utility for most properties, these are often overlooked and not adequately planned. The problem is that most property owners believe that designing, implementing, and managing a digital infrastructure for an office or residential property is complicated and often burns a hole in the pocket rather than generating revenue, or they believe it’s solely the tenant’s problem.
To change this mindset and revolutionize the real estate space, OpticWise, a renowned PropTech solution provider, offers fully managed& secure network and connectivity solutions for property owners and managers, which helps them attract and retain tenants, monetize their technology assets, and generate significant NOI.
OpticWise addresses the big digital challenges of connectivity, data, futureproofing, IoT, and operational integration, as well as the additional tenant-facing problems of security, mobility, content, and connectivity. “Having been in the industry for over 15years, our objective is to align with office and apartment owners to leverage proptech and in-building connectivity to deliver mobile, secure & private access to any technology,” states Bill Douglas, CEO of OpticWise. As a passionate entrepreneur, Douglas has re-imagined how to de-risk the tech initiatives in the commercial real estate sector while improving UX for the consumer and driving huge profits to the bottom line for CRE owners in this strange new post-pandemic world.
In 2015, when Douglas joined OpticWise as the CEO, he observed the commercial real estate sector and found that it had a very conservative, stale business model. For that reason, he decided to completely change the value equation for CRE owners and operators by turning overheads and hassles into retention tools and a profit centers. To achieve that feat, OpticWise designs, builds, and supports the property’s digital and connectivity infrastructure. “We’re not selling a network and walking away. We’re building a hardened network, then we’re operating and servicing all the users on it, allowing the stakeholder to generate revenue,” asserts Douglas. The company’s unique solution monetizes technology assets for owners and streamlines digital infrastructures while correlating operations for management, enhancing market positioning for clients to attract more tenants.
Retaining Tenants and Generating NOI
OpticWise has identified the five attributes that make users happy and safe – they call it the 5S™ User Experience (Seamless Mobility, Speed, Stability, Security, Service). The company acts as an extension of the CRE provider’s staff. “All of the complexity, technology, integration, customer support, and maintenance is the responsibility of OpticWise, which allows property owners to focus on their core mission,” explains Douglas. The company’s solutions are designed with the specific needs of the modern workplace and residential communities in mind. OpticWise’s proprietary SIC™ SaaS (Software as a Service) Platform helps property owners make money and enable their vision for the modern community. The SIC™ platform also allows users to onboard and manage any users and IoT devices, which adds to the ability to physically roam around a commercial building or campus or even outside areas, encased in their own super connective, secure 5S™ user bubble. The SIC™ platform operates with any Internet circuits and/or firewalls, including the ones tenants may bring. Additionally, OpticWise provides optional services including data center services, voice, hosting, and various other tech services as desired. Each additional service saves the tenants money and makes the CRE owner money.
With such capabilities of OpticWise’s solution, property owners and operators gain several benefits. For starters, they get full control of their data and systems, and their building operates a lot more efficiently with fewer points of failure by leveragingOpticWise’s Building of Things™ strategy. Most importantly, the solution drives CRE income up because tenants want to use these digital assets. Tenants pay because they recognize the value is better than their alternatives. Lastly, owners have a differentiating and marketable advantages, providing premier positioning in a very competitive market.
The pandemic has caused a large ripple in “where will the American worker be working from: home or office or both?” Is this an area of concern?
Most employers don’t want their employees to work from home forever and most employees don’t want to work only from home. According to Douglas, “Some might like it two days a week, but there are others who will mix that and become clear in time, and there are many people that actually want to go to work every day at the office.”
OpticWise’s bigger view and strategy is that tenants will definitely utilize commercial spaces in different ways - large open areas, for example. But the driving factor is the need for seamless & secure connectivity wherever the tenant/worker is. As Douglas puts it, “The building owners are astute enough to recognize that their tenants don’t want to come sit only in their leased space anymore. They want to have the ability to spread out. And, when they spread out, unless they have the 5S™ UX, they are going to be detached, streaming data via cellular or VPN or risking being on an open guest network.”
With OpticWise, tenants can use their own systems, security rules, etc., even their own internet and firewall, from anywhere on the property and still manage all their IoT and IIoT devices…. their smart TVs, their printers, their thermostats, their light bulbs, etc., anything they want. They control them inside of their own private and protected network, from anywhere on premises.
The Power of a Highly Skilled Team
OpticWise credits its success to its global team of designers, architects, engineers, and customer service personnel that work round the clock to solve clients’ problems. Drew Hall, the original founder of the company, is also its Chief Architect. Drew has an accomplished, extensive background in designing and operating premium quality networks for high-volume and latency-sensitive customers in the commercial space and at the federal level.
While driving OpticWise strategy and vision, Bill looks after the sales and operations side while Drew commands the design teams, sets the standards, and covers implementation and all aspects of the service once it is live. What strengthens the OpticWise brand is that Bill and Drew were friends and business associates for a decade before OpticWise became their shared passion.
Today, OpticWise is focused on selling their PropTech solution specifically to commercial real estate portfolio holders. They’ve already strengthened their footprint in the United States and have clients all across the country. The company’s next big vision is to expand its business in UK and Europe.
From a technology perspective, OpticWise is investing heavily in its SaaS platform as it drives them toward a brighter future. They also want to further enhance the user experience connectivity and other things that truly impact the bottom line for tenants and owners.