Autor: Anari Hagel • 27 March 2020

COVID-19 Outbreak Boosting PropTech: First Contactless Office Building In Estonia

Autor: Navigator Office Building

Estonia’s first contactless office building was presented today at an international webinar on the future of property technology (proptech).

The doors and elevators of the office building next to Tallinn’s Old City harbour are accessed via smartphone, and the building does not require physical security staff. The system uses biometric verification, accessed through a smartphone. The transformation was done by Estonian tech startup Ninja Solutions, who developed the biometrically controlled contactless system in cooperation with USS Security.

Madis Laas, CEO of Ninja Solutions, said that the integration of the system into the office building was initially planned for later this spring, but the COVID-19 pandemic made them fast forward. "The transition of an office building into contactless mode can be done in 10 days, provided that the relevant hardware is already integrated, and the customer is cooperative. The circumstances supported the situation well this time. From now on there's no need to touch the door handles or buttons in the elevators in the building and all entrances to the building can be controlled via smartphone," he said.

Fyodor Poljakov, a spokesman for the commercial building management company Direct Invest, told that the real estate operators can do more to contribute to the social distancing currently necessary. "We do not know how long this pandemic will last, but it is unlikely to end in weeks. There are hundreds of people working in our building, and although they mostly work from home, there is still a need for visits to the offices," he said.

According to Raul Parusk, chairman of the management board of USS Security Estonia, innovative solutions transform the everyday work of the security industry. “The staffed guarding service is still essential for many industries, but for example, in office buildings and lodging facilities, the guard service can be replaced by a convenient, affordable and reliable virtual service, and the personnel only intervenes in case the surveillance system notifies them,” Parusk said.

No compromises are made in terms of security, Parusk confirmed. "It's quite the opposite. The pandemic may put pressure on landlords to cut costs on security guards. But thanks to technology, our building is now secured remotely with video surveillance." Laas added that the current situation will bring new meaning to security, which is not merely physical any more, but will in the future also include health aspects.

According to Sebastiaan Jager, area manager at R8 Technologies, an Estonian proptech startup that develops software to decrease energy consumption of commerecial properties, the virus outbreak we are currently experiencing will totally change the way we work and perhaps it will even affect the reasons why we go to the office in the first place.

Alexander Wüllner, elevator management specialist from a German company HUNDT Consult, added that Ninja Solutions helped take the office market to the 21st century. According to him this is the moment that will change how the end user of the service experiences the journey through an office space.

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Ninja Solutions creates smartified buildings and delivers mobile-first real estate experiences that benefit the owners, tenants and visitors who interact with their building portfolio’s on a daily basis. Their cloud platform API's offer interconnectivity for a myriad of vendors that can offer tenants personal recognition, environmental comfort, wireless access solutions and seamless use of shared resources.

Property technology (or proptech, also called real estate technology) is the application of information technology and platform economics to real estate markets.

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