SALTO Technology Partner, Sowebuild offers community services and solutions backed by strategy, management, and their very own technology called ‘Buildr Apps’ – a community experience platform and engagement app for residential and commercial real estate investors, operators, and building residents.

We asked the co-founder of Sowebuild, Sander Willems and Laura Henke, who is in charge of Marketing and Content, about their integration with SALTO’s cloud-based access control solution, SALTO KS, and how this integration helps to increase social value in real estate.

How is the integration between Buildr Apps and SALTO KS improving the lives of end users?

It primarily saves time and prevents frustration amongst tenants who want to make use of shared workplaces, work spots, and meeting rooms. Users can book a room and automatically get authorised access to their space with a single click on a button via the app, which acts as a remote control and extension of their daily natural work routine.

In addition to that, it also helps end users to be and feel safer around their living and/or working places, especially in regards to the COVID-19 rules, since operators can decide to give or deny access based on occupancy and cleaning status of shared spaces.

What triggered Sowebuild to work with SALTO?

My partner Rick Scholsis, one of the Dutch Ambassadors for the Co-Liv network, got to know Christian Schmitz of SALTO Systems through it. Since we share a passion for community and are both very active around the subject of shared living and coworking, conversations between our companies arose naturally.

We felt that SALTO could be a perfect and much-needed extension/integration to our technology. Looking at the current situation, our collaboration became even more meaningful as it helps us to keep both operators and tenants safe and the overall user experience seamless.

Why do you feel it’s so important that tenants have a say in the management and development of their own space from the get-go?

Because tenants (read: people!) who are involved in the development of their own working and living environment naturally feel more connected to it. Generally speaking, this means higher engagement, more inclusion, and a sense of responsibility for the place they are living or working in (and the people they are sharing it with). On an operator level, this usually results in a higher social value of the properties and better retention rates, which heavily enhance sustainability and NOI growth.

On the other hand, the end user feels seen, heard, valued, and appreciated, which motivates them to take responsibility for their shared space and invite others to do so as well (ambassador) – it doesn’t really matter whether we talk coliving, cohousing, or coworking.

What do SALTO and Sowebuild have in common?

Sowebuild and SALTO are both advanced, fast-paced software providers: companies that are very much needed at this time and will be highly requested in the near future not only due to the current changes in the real estate market but also in the world.

Besides that, we are both active members of the ever-evolving community, coliving, and coworking debate, shaping the future of shared housing and flexible working.

What are the three most essential aspects in building communities in the PropTech sector?

  • Community managers/facilitators should have the time, space, and tools to focus on the facilitation of their members; organising the community itself, as well as events; and realising valuable social connections.
  • Give members the opportunity to orchestrate their own lives, to be effective in what they do, thrive in what they enjoy doing, and foster close relationships with people and businesses around them.
  • Elevate the experience by creating an environment of inclusion. Build a place rather than a space that is based on interconnected membership and shared values. The effects and results of building a real community go far beyond the experience of the physically built space itself. 

How do you analyse user behaviour and how do you use your findings to upgrade your services?

We analyse social behaviour within our community module, analyse actions and transactions in our online services module, and we aim to measure the temperature of residents’ happiness by Net Promotor Score, reviews, surveys, and in the future with AI technology.

These indicators are used to provide community managers the opportunity to allocate social interaction at the right moment and place to facilitate members better in supply and demand of local products and services.

What are the most valued features that Sowebuild offers its users?

To name two of our most successful modules:

- Community (newsfeed, events, profiles, live chat)

- Bookings (meeting rooms, services, and perks; food and products; shared items)

Though we are increasingly adding features, functionality, and analytics to our platform, we’d like to stress that the success of building a sustainable community has nothing to do with solemn technology and the number of features that you offer. Because the community is built around values of inclusion, not just or only around amenities and perks.

Connecting with residents personally is 10 times more effective for your people to feel happy than adding a gadget. We’ve seen this over and over again in the places that we serve. Success comes with a proper strategy and conscious, continuous nourishment, treating residents as if they were your own kin. 

What is something people might not know about Sowebuild, but they should?

Communities are built best with the right balance of strategy, management, and technology. Often clients come to us requesting ‘an app for their building’ with the idea of leaving with a product, but they often appear to stay with us helping them to build their community to its full potential, both online and offline, where technology is just a fraction of what we do. We have community experts and managers in our team that help facilitate various kinds of places where people live and work. So we are active in different verticals of real estate and take our learnings from the different markets to serve a general goal: building a strong community.

We know you are likely thinking, “yes, in an ideal world community is most important but often a delicate challenge that is difficult to grasp in reality, and ideas are often easier than their practical implementation”. We hear you! That’s why we listen and observe. We are driven to prove ‘community success’ and the eventual ROI for property investors and operators. We see this aspect as our personal mission, to find the right metrics and optimise spaces ensuring a sense of belonging, wellbeing, and happiness for our client’s end users.

At this moment, around 15 people work at Sowebuild and we are preparing ourselves to expand internationally. To set out this course in a sustainable way, we are always on the lookout for the right partners to join us in this journey. Whether you are a possible integration partner, potential client, or interested in investing in our company’s growth, please reach out to us to learn how we can collaborate, we’d be happy to visit.

Let us build more thriving communities together!

What would you like to see for the future of this integration with SALTO KS?

First of all, I would like to thank Menno Ruimschotel for taking the time and having the patience to work on this assignment meeting our client’s expectations. As he is taking a higher position at SALTO Systems, I would like to wish him all the best in the future. 

Furthermore, I enjoyed the collaboration with Björn de Vries and his team, for being helpful in getting the tools connected and integrated well. I would like to see the collaboration in this project as a reference for doing more fruitful work together in the future. Because community is the key, right? 

We are continuously growing towards the digitisation of places where hybrid, physical communities are the key to online and offline connection and part of our daily lives and routines. We will passionately continue to add value to this interconnected realm, creating maximal performance and natural experience.

We foresee an exciting future where the human-centric approach becomes an integral part of designing spatial experiences. Sowebuild is looking forward to being an experienced player in this field, using the leverage of technology to foster sustainable communities.

Images by Today's Brew