Meridian Group bets on Proptech to bring employees back to the office – Commercial Observer

2021-11-25 09:06:02 By : Mr. Wynn Lee

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The Meridian Group, a developer based in Bethesda, Maryland, is strengthening its entire office portfolio of technology products in preparation for a full return to the office. 

The company is working with cove, a Washington, DC-based startup that has created a customized application for tenants to serve as a central hub for communications and professional services when they return to the office. The app allows staff to unlock doors, book conference rooms and request any audiovisual services they need. Tenants can also send visitor passes to guests, allowing them to seamlessly enter the building with a special code.  

The company also authorized Openpath to provide contactless access control technology in its buildings, which is the first real estate portfolio to implement this technology in the Washington, DC area.

Commercial Observer spoke with Tanya Graves, Director of Marketing and Tenant Services, and Assistant Colin Madden, Meridian Group, on how these technological innovations will help the company bring people back to the workplace.

Business Observer: Why is an application like this so important in a post-COVID work environment?

Tanya Graves: Tenant experience applications create value in the workplace and create a frictionless unique experience for tenants. The application provides a direct communication channel for tenants and uses technology to help build a more meaningful community. For us as landlords, technology is an important way to customize buildings and our products to meet the changing needs and wishes of tenants based on experience.  

How does it work? What does the app offer?

Graves: Tenants download the app, log in with their company email, and are then directed to the platform's homepage. There they will find features such as building updates, events, highlights, tenant services, and property management contact information. The app can be used as a gateway to all building-related information, experiences and services, all in your palm.  

Integration with access control hardware and software such as OpenPath enables tenants to access buildings through applications.

What are the benefits for tenants? 

Tenants can now discover and respond to events, take advantage of exclusive retail discounts and allowances, and keep up with building and community updates. The mobile app also has a contactless access control update that allows you to unlock the door directly from your phone. Through additional integration with real-time anonymous people counting hardware and software, tenants can check and monitor the number of users in our facilities at any time. In addition, the app includes an improved reservation system for managing and operating our facilities.

How would you describe the status of employees returning to the office environment? What are your plans for 2022? Colin Madden: We are very optimistic. As most young people can get and get booster shots and vaccinations, people are increasingly accepting the idea of ​​returning to the office, whether it's full-time or a few days a week. We see an increase in occupancy rates in all our buildings, from an average of 36% in June 2021 to 45% in October/November 2021.  

Madden: Yes. In view of the dialogue with our existing tenant base, we believe that January 2022 is the target RTO date. We all anticipate a surge in occupancy rates in September 2021; however, the Delta variant has caused many companies to postpone their plans. 

How will you use Openpath's contactless access control technology in buildings? Can you provide some examples?

Madden: Openpath allows users to simply slide their hands near the access reader to enter. This small but meaningful upgrade provides users with seamless and frictionless access to their buildings and spaces. They no longer need to walk around in their pockets and purses to find their keys, and they can open the door effortlessly even when fully loaded.   

What else is worth mentioning?  

Madden: If anything, the pandemic has accelerated the use of technology in real estate. We believe that we will see the continuation of this trend in 2022, which will benefit both tenants and landlords. In the long run, this new technology enables Meridian Group to provide better solutions for tenants and employees, laying the foundation for a flexible working environment.

We firmly believe that "the future proves" our assets. We will continue to monitor trends in the workplace and other smart building technologies that can improve the overall experience and operations of our properties.

Many of these initiatives are also highly consistent with our ESG goals as a real estate operator, and we hope to allow tenants to help achieve some of their goals.  

Keith Loria can be contacted at

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