An app that monitors an employee's every move is popular with some investors. Is this type of technology in demand? Is it necessary? Will workers need to get used to being watched? If you're an investor or landlord, you might want to know about this type of technology to determine if it's something you think will make a good investment.
An app that monitors employees
The reason given for why it's necessary to have this phone app that tells employers where their employees spend every minute at the office -- the conference room, the cafeteria, the gym, etc. -- is because of COVID-19 and social distancing compliance (the reason given for just about everything). In anticipation of people returning to the office, landlords are currently using or are considering this tool.
Sounds good in theory
Landlords might see this type of monitoring app as a benefit, as they can keep tabs on how tenants use their buildings. And whenever buzzy new tech comes out, like robotic tech, for example, landlords and investors should take a look to determine whether it will benefit them.
This type of monitoring tech has raised a red flag with employee advocates, though. They warn some office workers aren't going to like their movements being scrutinized to this extent, meaning there could be a backlash.
Rise Buildings, a property operations and tenant experience tech company, developed software that can monitor employees and has top landlords Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX), Hines, and CIM Group using it. Rise says employees are kept anonymous and that employees can opt out. But that might be like opting out of the "voluntary" blood drive or fundraiser at the office -- there may be just a tad amount of pressure not to.
Already being used
Rise tech is already being used in over 130 million square feet of office space. And there's growing demand for this type of technology. Landlords like the tech because it provides data on how their buildings are being used.
VTS, a commercial real estate platform for leasing and asset management, is betting on this technology. It recently bought Rise Buildings for the new capabilities it offers, such as its "access and visitor management, health and safety, property operations, and tenant experience," according to a press release. Rise also integrates with "access control and sensor systems."
The Millionacres bottom line
Capacity control technology has been around since before the pandemic. But the pandemic might be creating more demand for it. VTS literally bought the idea when it purchased Rise.
If people are vaccinated and COVID-19 is no longer a threat in the future, will that make this software obsolete? Whether necessary for safety and health reasons or not, once a part of a business, it will likely remain unless, perhaps, too many employees complain or if top employees won't stand for it. There's a lot to consider before commercial real estate investors invest in this type of tech.