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Switched On: Unico's Customer-First Approach Raises the Tech Bar

"Being a flexible, responsive and nimble landlord that continues to anticipate and meet the needs of our tenants is a priority for us," said Brian Pearce, Unico Properties executive vice president of real estate services, back in October. Pearce's comments followed the news that the firm's U.S. Bancorp Tower had just become the first, largest and only multi-tenant, Class-A office building in Portland (and Oregon) to earn WiredScore's coveted Wired Certified Platinum designation.

The highest level of Wired Certification achievable, Wired Certified Platinum recognizes the extremely high standard of U.S. Bancorp Tower's connectivity, technology infrastructure and readiness to install new technologies. The certification puts the building in the same bracket as the Empire State Building, the Willis Tower in Chicago and the Shard in London, which have all also achieved a Wired Certified Platinum designation.

Gauging PropTech

The only internationally recognized platform that measures the connectivity, infrastructure and technology capacity of office buildings, WiredScore has certified more than 2,000 buildings in 160 cities in eight countries since 2013. One of the firm's stated aims is to ensure that commercial buildings provide suitable internet connectivity for tenants to be able to thrive.


"As tenant requirements around digital connectivity become increasingly robust due to factors such as heavy reliance on cloud computing, Unico stands out as a landlord ready to confront impending technological advances head on by achieving Platinum Wired Certification," said WiredScore CEO and founder Arie Barendrecht. "Landlords who proactively provide the technical infrastructure that tenants need will ultimately be the most successful in attracting and retaining them."


It is this tenant-centric approach that is the driving force behind Unico's asset management decision making at U.S. Bancorp Tower. The building's unrivalled connectivity and digital readiness has allowed the firm to embrace a number of new technologies, all of which aim to provide Unico's customers with a quality, hospitality-forward tenant experience.

In September, Unico appointed Equiem, the global leader in tenant experience technology, to launch its market-leading app, known as "Unico Connect" across three commercial properties on the West Coast, including U.S. Bancorp Tower. Used by over 170,000 people worldwide, Equiem's platform helps landlords attract and retain occupiers by delivering seamless tenant communication, and supercharging the retail, services, facilities and experiences tenants can access onsite, all through one app.

"Unico Connect" has already proved hugely popular with tenants at U.S. Bancorp Tower, with over 1,050 people registering to use the new app in the first three months alone. Engagement with the platform has been incredibly high, with over 450  people rsvp-ing to onsite events, over 565 conference room hours booked through the app, more than 10,212 views of editorial content posted to the platform, and numerous retail orders placed via the app too.


"As the largest landlord in Portland, we prioritize meeting and exceeding our tenants‚" needs," said Keren Eichen, Unico Properties Director of Real Estate Services. "Being a pioneer in adopting the newest technologies and security advancements, and partnering with Equiem to do so, underscores our commitment to delivering U.S. Bancorp Tower as a first-class technology destination."


Unico also has access to Equiem Analytics, the most advanced tenant analytics in the market, at U.S. Bancorp Tower. The feature measures how tenants are interacting with the building, collating that data into rich, actionable intelligence to inform Unico's asset management plans. Equiem Analytics provides Unico with answers to simpler tenant demographic questions at U.S. Bancorp Tower, as well as answers to more complex questions like which facilities are being used most, which tenants are going along to which events, what content they are engaging with, what services they are purchasing, and how tenant interaction is changing from month to month.

With this agile, effective data strategy in place, Unico can gather information, make necessary changes, test the effectiveness of those changes, and then repeat the process, ultimately improving the offer for tenants at U.S. Bancorp Tower, as well as minimizing financial risk and maximizing ROI.


"Our mutual commitment to making the working day as frictionless and enjoyable for tenants as possible, means that it has been a very natural partnership between ourselves and Unico at U.S. Bancorp Tower‚" says Equiem's CEO Gabrielle McMillan. "Our technology allows Unico to supercharge everything the building has to offer, as well as gather useful, actionable intelligence that ensures their offer remains as relevant and engaging as possible. From the outset, Unico understood that our technology could really elevate their tenant engagement offer and set a new bar for tenant experience as a whole in Portland."


In addition to providing an unrivalled tenant experience throughout the working day, Unico has also installed new technology to guarantee a seamless entry and visitor management experience. At the end of the summer, the firm installed a full parking technology upgrade, the SKIDATA dual sensor, making the parking at U.S. Bancorp Tower fully automated. The system, which uses all-in-one camera technology to read license plates, allows for a ticketless system and a smoother entry and exit experience. An LED Gate Arm with unique illuminated optics also provides drivers with clear direction upon entry and exit from the U.S. Bancorp parking garage. The new parking technologies are just further examples of how Unico's decision making is driven by providing a better working day for its customers.


"With approximately 5,000 people moving through the most iconic Class A office building in the city's skyline on a daily basis, we are committed to continually enhancing efficiencies and security for our tenants and our visitors," added Eichen.


What is clear is that Unico understands the changing dynamics of the commercial real estate industry. The firm recognizes that as technology continues to drive improved convenience across so many other aspects of 21st century life, workers are coming to expect the same seamless experience at their workplaces. Unico acknowledges that the right technology solutions, whether better connectivity, tenant experience apps, or parking technology, can provide the firm with the tools needed to deliver the best possible experience for tenants at U.S. Bancorp Tower.


"Installing Equiem's best-in-class platform and delivering it to our tenants via 'Unico Connect' takes our dedication to connectivity and technology infrastructure to a whole new level," added Eichen.