We don’t talk about tech enough in the coworking and flex office industry. We all know we need it, we wish it was a lot better, and then we forget to be more demanding and to expect more because after all, we’re basically in real estate, and no one expects amazing tech to come out of our industry unless it’s in the sharing economy side of things.
The diverse panel brought together tech leaders in proptech – Miro Miroslavov, CEO of OfficeRnD; Brian Sutherland, VP of Commercial at Yardi; Ginger Dhaliwal, Cofounder at Upflex, and Sofia Stolberg, Cofounder at PilotoMail.
We’re not going to get into everything that was discussed because our dear friend Hector Kolonas did that for us in this awesome blog, but keep reading below for a summary of what we all agreed on.
Top 5 Tech Insights
1. Monolithic vs. modular tech stack is a false dichotomy.
Yes, some tech providers go for a more modular approach to roll out and others go for a more monolithic one-stop-shop, but as Brian Sutherland from Yardi pointed out, even more monolithic providers will still integrate with tech companies that complement their stack.
2. Additional revenue can be unlocked by leveraging tech.
The two female speakers on the panel both spoke to this point, with Ginger Dhaliwal explaining how Upflex can create new lead opportunities for operators that list on their platform and Sofia Stolberg noting that PilotoMail not only allows operators to streamline and automate their mailrooms through a unique white-labeled experience, but it also allows them to scale their Virtual Office memberships and monetize mail management and handling.
3. We need better and more integrated data to make more informed decisions.
The panelists overwhelmingly agreed on this point. Miro Miroslavov discussed creating shared standards for workspace classifications and categorization to be able to do more with the data we do have. Ginger Dhaliwal expressed frustration at the lack of cross-cutting open data in our industry, noting network inefficiencies in sourcing multi-location leads to operators that require manual cross-reference processes. Brian Sutherland was hopeful that we could eventually integrate all transactional data, access control, internet usage, heat mapping, and all software and hardware to make more informed decisions. Sofia Stolberg acknowledged the need for more integrations across tech stacks but pushed the audience to think even further, noting that the future should be about predictive analytics, AI, and doing more to anticipate the needs of our members through data.
4. As tech leaders, we need to work together to ensure that the Future of Flex is truly brighter.
A lot was said about what the future of flex should look like (see below!), but the panelists all agreed that the way forward would require more and deeper collaboration between tech leaders in the space to ensure that more integrated tech stacks and open data lead the way to a better and more seamless user experience for operators. Panelists also urged audience members to reach out more often with feedback and to push tech leaders to continue improving their tech to meet their needs.
5. The Future of Flex is truly about removing friction, making operations more seamless, and focusing on serving our users – the Community Manager.
In varying forms, everyone agreed that the future was about integrations, open data, automating manual processes, incorporating hardware, introducing AI to predict and anticipate member behavior, and allowing members to self-serve more seamlessly. Sofia Stolberg went further, noting that in our industry for far too long we’ve relied on the seemingly omnipresent, jack-of-all-trades Community Manager who can operate the space seamlessly, and solve property management issues, give tours and sell memberships, make barista-like coffee, manage member requests and customer service, handle member’s mail and the list goes on and on. She summarized what other panelists commented and declared that the future of tech in flex had to first recognize that our Community Managers are not superhuman and can’t do all things perfectly given the time and the resources they have before them. In a nutshell, the tech of the future in our industry works FOR the Community Manager. It is a tech stack that finally considers the users and solves their problems simply and elegantly.,
PilotoMail is a mail management platform that creates recurring revenue streams for mailrooms through postal mail handling automation, and virtual mailboxes for the remote workforce. Property managers, coworking spaces, mail centers & registered agents can handle large volumes of mail efficiently, comply with all postal regulations, and increase revenue from their existing footprint effortlessly.