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Building Community with Real Estate and Tech

Boston Built Tech founder Chuck Tanowitz sits down with guest host Molly Bales of Adappt to explore the emerging intersection of technology and real estate. “Companies need to get together and coordinate in some way,” Tanowitz says because so many of these companies are working in the same space, and it’s important that they find ways to work together. That’s why he created Boston Built Tech. Nobody was convening these groups.

Real estate technology is exploding now for a number of reasons. First, the timing was right. Cloud computing, big data along with sensor technology and mobile have arrived. In addition, money has started flowing in and the nature of the workspace has changed. Co-working is a new phenomenon revolutionizing the industry. This is particularly true in Boston.

There is a new expectation of flexibility and community in the workplace. In the knowledge economy, work has to be a place where people want to go, not just to a place where they have to go.

Built Tech is about building a community around technology and real estate, so people know what others are doing.

But real estate is still a very local activity, and it would be great to see Built Techs popping up in other communities too. New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles all have their local tech markets emerging. It will be very interesting to watch them as they continue to grow.

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Why Phone Use at Work is vital in Today’s Office

Phone Use at Work

In the “Age of the App,” personal phone use provides productivity and ease of use simultaneously. Let your employees have their cake and Instagram it too!


Our smartphones. They are attached to us like a second-nature appendage. At home, in the car, or on the train these devices are always with us. 

Except at many workplaces.


Despite the fact that many people would rather skip a meal if meant putting their phones down, many employers still punish attempts to use a personal mobile device. It’s because phone use is still commonly seen as a personal break on professional time. But why?


After all, it is impossible to play Pokemon Go! while sitting still. So why do employers feel the need to look over their employees’ shoulders? They’ll still do the “iPhone shimmy” under the cubicle desk.


Phone use is shown to have work related benefits. Not the least of which is for use as a communication device. Using your phone to reach out to a contact may allow, and encourage, new work-related networking. Fluid use of mobile devices also allows for the development of productive ideas, on the go.


Smartphone use on company time also allows workers to continue mobile conversations in or outside the workspace. Lunch breaks still offer an outlet of productivity because mobile devices allow access to work documents. Most employees use their devices to handle work outside of normal office hours.
Read more

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6 Workplace Leader Actions to Advance Productivity


Business leaders know, and research validates, that workplace conditions influence employee performance and engagement, and ultimately company productivity.


A safe, comfortable, and healthy working environment, in addition to social dialogue and technology, will advance productivity. This sounds pretty common sense, but the above conditions rely on six actions: Read more

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The Wall Street Journal and Office Thermostat Wars

Wall Street Journal

Illustration by: JASON SCHNEIDER


The office thermostat wars are very much real. These conflicts can cause stress, headaches, along with company-wide discomfort. The Wall Street Journal’s Sue Shellenberger decided to outline this problem and provide the most tech-savvy solutions.


Janice from accounting is freezing. Ever since she clocked in at 9 a.m her mind drifted away from her workflow. The office seemed to get colder and colder. After an hour of braving the infinite chill with nothing but a cashmere sweater, Janice knew what to do: go directly into battle. She headed for the office thermostat.  Read more

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The Three Biggest Reasons why “Texting your Boss” is acceptable


The advent of digital workplaces caused a relaxation of texting communication within a majority of companies and businesses. We’ll explain —


If you had ever said four or five years ago that it is ok to text your boss for any reason, then most people would think that you were crazy. Fast forward to 2016 and you have a totally different picture.


Industry experts like Dana Manciagli of the Denver Business Journal found that more than half of Americans aged 18-34 text their superiors when they are out sick. Cultural analyst Rune Vejby noted in his book “Texting in Sick” that eight out of ten young people rely on text-based media (email, SMS, etc.) to communicate with anyone, ranging from co-workers to family and friends. 


This so-called “crazy prediction” that texting and similar text-form communication would become universally accepted, has happened due to two major factors that have shaped today’s workplace.  Read more

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These 3 Companies Leverage Tech in the Right Ways

Tech Companies that Leverage Modern Technology

We live in a tech world, and there is a difference between having technology, and properly leveraging it in the most effective ways.


We’re inspired by lofty goals and ambitious undertakings. After all, when people take on problems bigger than themselves, they propel all of us—as a species—forward. For these reasons, we’ve been contemplating the organizations which are making the biggest impact on today’s world, and which we’d bet on for tomorrow’s.


Our top three are as follows: Read more

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The Costs of Comfort: How Much a Degree Will Run You

Use the three degree rule to manage the cost of comfort

A single degree of temperature can build up the costs of your heating, and building operations, significantly? Learn “the three degree rule,” and learn the true cost of comfort.


With some really cold days upon us, there’s a lingering temptation for tenants to continuously pump up the temperature on your building’s thermostat. But, as a facility manager—responsible for both comfort and costs—how does such a decision end up impacting the bottom line? Read more

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Facility Management Holiday Gift List Three: Miscellaneous Goodness



In part three of our Facility Management Holiday Gift List, we decided to take a break from the usual stuff, tools and building services, to focus on the personalization of your office. Let’s look at all the gizmos and toys that could make your working environment a little more comfortable, or charismatic.


Let’s dive in. Read more

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What Machines Miss, and more on the Human Sensor



Anyone following our blog can attest to the fact that we’re big on technology (almost to the point of obsession). As such, it may come as a surprise to readers that—in the most important aspects of facility management—we’re even bigger proponents of people.


The simple truth is that machines aren’t yet capable of dynamically managing the full spectrum of human needs. Even the most sophisticated of technology still offers the promise of only surface-level interaction with tenants, and still contains no means of truly empathizing with human responses or offering creative solutions. For these reasons—and many more—we still see technology’s role as that of a facilitator, not a leader.


This leads us, as it has in previous posts, to consider “The Human Sensor Network™” as the true foundation for making a building’s everyday decisions. Wielded correctly, this framework allows facility managers to accumulate real feedback from those affected and fill in the “sense” gaps that machines leave behind.


As a few examples:


  • Preferred settings for an office’s temperature can vary from season to season, as clothing tends to change based on weather. So, while a mechanical sensor may want to keep heat set to 74 degrees regardless of month (thus ignoring those garbed in winter sweaters or summer shorts), your office’s Human Sensor Network can offer unique insights based on the daily variance of Mother Nature’s mood.


  • If your normally fragrant office is under siege by an ill-advised burning of popcorn in the break room, it’s unlikely the building’s mechanical sensors would care (or even notice). However, the human sensors in your building will likely opt for some open windows and perhaps a brief “max power” session from the building’s fans to help clear out the offending smell.


  • If there’s construction across the street, the accompanying din may be distracting for office workers as they take on already mentally exhausting tasks. By discussing the problem with coworkers, it may be possible to land on a consensus for some white noise (such as classical music).


All of the above scenarios boil down to two of the most critical part of a human sensor network: 1.) All human sensors understand their ability to sense the environment 2.) All human sensors can instinctively and emotionally evaluate their surroundings. 


These examples, of course, only scrape the tip of the Human Sensor Network’s possibilities…there’s an infinite number of insights to be gained from meaningful communication with tenants. And, if designed properly, the framework for your building’s network can even foster collaboration and a better sense of community, as people feel themselves heard and see subsequent results.


As we said before, machines are to assist in productivity; Machines obey, and people lead. Ultimately, people are the most powerful force on the earth. Why wouldn’t you want that to be your source of data? 


Make sure you keep following the discussion on the exciting concepts behind the Human Sensor Network!

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“Smart Automation” builds Smart Management



We have talked about the limits of automation in the world of facilities management in our last couple of posts about the topic. However, that doesn’t mean that automation doesn’t have a place in the world of facilities management. In fact, we believe that any automation, and similar technologies that utilize the internet of things, will improve the field of facilities management.


The case being that a symbiosis of tech and (human) touch will increase the overall improvement of facility managers’ work. Let’s dive in:  Read more