The program is being carried out in collaboration with the Kanata North Business Association (KNBA) and Hub350, which serves as a meeting place for industry leaders, academics and finance professionals to collaborate on projects.
The partnership will see HILO become the digital gateway to connect 10 million square feet of office buildings and community stakeholders in the west-end Ottawa district – including local businesses and educational institutions – to the 30,000 employees who work at Canada’s largest technology park.
The Kanata North Technology Park is home to more than 540 companies that represent multiple tech sectors.
HILO works to facilitate direct, real-time communication between building operators and their tenants; provide exclusive curated offers and experiences from businesses within and near the buildings; and give tenants access to all the services and amenities their buildings have to offer.
Origins of the Kanata partnership
HILO was part of the L-Spark Accelerator program. The program, which is based in Kanata North Technology Park, gives startup companies access to leading-edge technology and helps build the foundation and metrics to raise capital, grow revenues and reach global markets and partners.
“We had that long-standing connection and then the Kanata North Business Association, together with their innovation hub called Hub350 and in cooperation with L-Spark, formed a new accelerator called Living Lab,” HILO co-founder and chief executive officer David Abrams told RENX.
“It was an opportunity for them to pilot various technologies in the technology park.
“Because of our relationship with L-Spark, we were selected to participate in that program as well. So that sort of became the jumping-off point for how we could move this significant initiative forward quickly.”
How the HILO starter program works
The HILO starter program offers building partners the opportunity to include a single-source technology solution to better connect to their tenants for no initial cost.
“The starter program really just gives them the ability to introduce HILO into their building community, get people comfortable with it, get their operations team comfortable with it and then transition to our paid pro version as they are able,” said Abrams.
HILO has a business relationship with the KNBA, which is sponsoring the starter program and enabling businesses to participate for free. Those buildings wishing to upgrade to the paid version will receive a pricing proposal based on the nature and level of engagement desired.
Workplace engagement solutions that support the hybrid workforce can connect people to buildings and the surrounding community no matter where they are. This can be a major differentiator as buildings compete to ensure the physical workplace remains relevant and employers try to attract and retain top talent.
HILO has onboarded 25 buildings at Kanata North Technology Park and expects to have 75 on the platform by early November. The Toronto-headquartered firm is working with owners to activate the starter program within the buildings while making tenants aware of what it has to offer.
While the Kanata North Technology Park is the first to use the starter program, HILO’s goal is to expand and offer it to other building owners and businesses.
“It's helped us to demonstrate that we could bring buildings on at scale with speed,” said Abrams. “We're trying to eliminate other barriers to entry.
“ . . . Not only cost, but also speed and the support that they need to be able to launch and activate, and that they can then focus on what's really important, which is really connecting with people.”
HILO’s continued expansion
Since Abrams last spoke with RENX 13 months ago, the paid version of HILO’s platform has continued to add new Canadian building partners and properties that extend from Halifax to Vancouver.
HILO is involved with Canadian Urban Limited’s nationwide building portfolio and is working with Capitol Buildings in downtown Toronto, as well as with Epic Investment Services properties farther out from the city’s core.
HILO also has New York City and San Francisco offices.
It has partnered with Avison Young in Dallas and small family-owned companies in New York City, and is also working with buildings in Connecticut and New Jersey.
Abrams said discussions are ongoing with other potential partners.
Abrams recently attended the CREtech conference in New York City where real estate professionals, tech startups and members of the venture investment community came together to network.
He’s hopeful it will open more doors for HILO in the United States.
Abrams is also getting the word out about HILO by hosting TEN (which stands for Tenant Experience Network), a podcast that features conversations with commercial real estate professionals about the impact of technology on the tenant experience in the built world.
“We have phenomenal guests talking about commercial real estate technology, the return to work, the future of the workplace and how buildings will continue to be a part of an important workplace ecosystem,” said Abrams.