min read

The most neglected smarting building UX

I'll give you a hint, it's UX that involves inviting guests to your building for a meeting or sales pitch.

Visitor Management & Access

Firstly, let’s get this out of the way. iPad or Touch Panels for Visitor Access and Sign-In is terrible UX. If I’ve been invited as a special guest into your building, I should just be able to arrive and go where I need to go. There is already a record of truth since I’ve been invited.  

I’ve most likely been invited through a calendar event, this means my details are somewhere, whether that be a CRM or whatever. So why would I need to fill this out again? I understand for security but that’s separate and we will touch on that later.

Workflow Automation

What we’re looking for here is workflow automation. When we link the various systems together through integrations, we can start to automate parts of the experience. When I arrive at the building, there’s not a lot for me to do because the system can authenticate based on pre-existing information.

For example, I get invited to an organization. The email includes all the information I need about the building, how to get there, etc. There’s a website I can visit, or a web app, that allows me to create an account that is pre-filled based on pre-existing information. The option to add information is there as well, like my favorite coffee.

When I arrive the system knows I’ve arrived and I can continue the journey through the building to the desired location, most likely a meeting room. This can be accomplished through the web app wayfinding maps or building displays.

I make it all the way to the room. I access all the floors automatically. I don't have to swipe. I don't have to see anybody. I get into the room and they have my favorite coffee or my preset pre-ordered coffee waiting for me. The host is notified about my movements the whole time. They know I'm already in the building. They know I'm in the room. They come down just in time to kick off the meeting. So that is something that is a lot more seamless and there are even areas to improve that.

close up of ipad and apps
“Automation replaces the transactional elements that the humans were doing, so now they can be better at customer service because they have more time.”I might be just a regular visitor, I might not be a customer. In most of my real-world examples, I'm going to a building as a partner or a supplier or they're my customer. So I don't need the VIP treatment. But you can add VIP experiences to this, and this is where humans come into it.

Automation doesn't replace humans for things humans are good at, like customer service. Automation replaces the transactional elements that the humans were doing, so now they can be better at customer service because they have more time. They're not focussing on signing people into the system. They're focused on how do I make this person visiting my building a better experience? And the best way to do that is to take the Apple retail example. If you automate or make payments seamless, you don't need a cash register, you don't need a desk. The staff are there to help the buyers make purchases and improve the customer experience.

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