Redefining Space Through Digital: Bringing Products, Services and Ideas to Life

A VIEW FROM THE TOP

In commercial real estate, the applications for digital technology extend far beyond a company website or daily email blast. Digital technology is a powerful tool that can enhance the client experience and support work environments that positively impact productivity, talent attraction and brand positioning.

The result: improved accessibility to products and services, and more quality interactions with brands.

Over the last decade or so, digital advancements have empowered a number of industries to add value to client interactions with immersive technologies aimed at enhancing user experiences both in person and on screen. The result: improved accessibility to products and services, and more quality interactions with brands. Behind the scenes, these innovations can boost employee output and efficiency while enabling employers to meet the evolving needs of their client-facing and back-of-house personnel.

We’ve taken a closer look at the approaches of some top industry innovators and identified three ways that digital technology has transformed the meaning of space as we know it. In each instance, brands challenged convention and stepped beyond the norm to bring their products, services and ideas to life.

1. Bring the Product to Life

Businesses can leverage digital tools and platforms to inform and communicate, prioritizing flexibility, accessibility and personalization. We see this today as companies push the boundaries of their digital campaigns, moving beyond search-term-friendly articles and basic lead data capture to innovations and marketing tools that can demonstrate the full potential of their products and services. Pioneering companies are engineering new types of marketing technologies and support, such as “robochat,” that not only understand typical visitor behaviors and preferences, but can also act on their needs.

Hotel Tonight’s Aces app, for instance, solves the problem of the “static” concierge. Understanding that more and more travelers are already using their mobile devices to book rooms, check in and explore their surrounding environments—researching restaurants, tourist attractions, etc.—the company developed an app to appeal to these already-connected users. Preserving the connectivity of human interaction, the app brings the user face-to-screen with a live, engaged concierge (available 24/7) that checks in on the user and provides him or her with access to hotel amenities and service—anytime, anywhere.

2. Create Immersive User Experiences

Digital technologies can also transcend the screen, creating immersive multimedia simulations that can help viewers experience and interact with the spaces around them in new and exciting ways. Innovative companies such as Studio 216 are on the rise, helping prospective property buyers and occupiers better visualize the potential of unbuilt spaces.

Even retail powerhouses like Burberry are jumping into the immersive multimedia trend…

New and relatively inexpensive devices such as Google Cardboard, Microsoft Hololens and Oculus Rift are also in development by major global tech companies, offering everyday users the chance to experience virtual or augmented reality on their private devices and connect with the world around them. Video applications like YouTube360 are also gaining steam, allowing viewers the chance to view video content from any angle with just the tilt of a screen.

Even retail powerhouses like Burberry are jumping into the immersive multimedia trend, leveraging space to allow for dynamic in-store product discovery. Calling it “part event space, part innovation hub, part store,” its Regent Street store (a former cinema) is as dramatically set as its space’s predecessor. A mix of content floods the space with information from its online presence, Burberry World, and RFID tags on clothes allow shoppers to see video content on mirrors as they try on items in dressing rooms. The end result of these innovations: a wholly immersive customer experience that seamlessly merges online and offline channels and drives customers to purchase in-store.

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3. Build Better Environments

Digital isn’t limited to enhancing an existing asset or approach; it can also be a way to build from the outset. Businesses can leverage digital advancements to enhance workspaces and foster opportunities for improved collaboration and efficiency.

Airbnb, for instance, has created an open office environment for its employees that encourages them to work anywhere, inviting them to turn any corner of the company’s expansive space into their own personal workstation. Working in this free environment allows them to collaborate more efficiently and also have random opportunities for high-impact interactions, enabling them to develop new ideas and products for the travel site. These open spaces are also highly adaptable. Take, for instance, their rooftop dining space, which can be easily shifted to accommodate a theater-style seating arrangement and display multimedia presentations.

The Factory, a Google-funded startup and self-proclaimed “playground for entrepreneurs and innovators,” employs beacons to create a more connected office space and help enhance productivity. Beacons, location-based Bluetooth technology that communicate with nearby mobile devices, can help make workspaces more connected, allowing for better office navigation, real-time employee location and immediate conference room booking. Beacons, which are highly traceable, can also facilitate faster check-ins and access to company spaces, instant payments for on-site amenities like cafeteria lunches, and increased content sharing—all without an expensive backend.

Mat Zucker is a partner in Prophet’s digital practice, based in New York City. Prophet is a global next-generation brand consultancy focused on client growth.

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