With the mission to improve the lives of tenants in commercial real estate, OpticWise was founded to solve network & connectivity problems for multi-tenant real estate. Established in 2004 by Drew Hall, the company made a shift seven years ago to focus entirely on apartments and office buildings, investing heavily in the SaaS platform that provides its unique 5S® user experience.
Transcending towards Growth
Commercial real estate owners and tenants value what OpticWise provides, particularly security, privacy, and support, and that has been the underlying force behind the company’s growth. The point that triggered the growth of OpticWise was when it established product market fit (PMF) by operating its solutions over more than a million square feet of multi-tenant commercial real estate. That traction, references, case studies, and more fueled its momentum and growth.
More about Offerings
OpticWise specializes in commercial real estate (CRE) technology infrastructure solutions for office and multifamily commercial assets. It has a global presence supporting innovative projects. It offers property owners the ability to provide their tenants with a sophisticated, seamless, private, safe, and secure data and connectivity solution while turning a building’s network and in-building connectivity into both a tenant attraction and retention tool and a profit center.
OpticWise’s 5S® User Experience uniquely provides mobility and security while maintaining ultimate privacy at all times. It delivers the UX over fast, resilient networks.
5S® stands for:
- Seamless Mobility
- Stability (Resilience)
Additionally, the company offers a slew of other services to CRE owners, all revolving around the core offering: Monetizing Technology assets for CRE. Its clients enjoy extraordinary ROI and NOI from their application of the core strategies.
The core outcomes for its clients are:
- Premium Market Positioning
- Enhanced Income
- Control of Systems and Data
OpticWise has an edge over its competitors because it prides itself on indulging and protecting tenants. Most of its competitors do neither. Some others provide decent service, however, most neglect the privacy and security of tenants.
In all scenarios, OpticWise focuses on redefining the value equation for real estate owners. The OpticWise solution not only generates income but also enhances the vision of the workplace or multifamily community. More specifically, it helps turn the typical overheads and hassles into retention tools and profit centers. The company quotes,
“Commercial real estate (CRE) clients can monetize their technology assets.”
In other words, the company does not collect, distribute, or monetize any user data, AND it keeps user security premier at all times. Safeguarding its clients at every step of the journey, OpticWise’s user experience and focus on tenant care are quite distinctive. It prioritizes its customer privacy and security at every cost.
Being an industry leader in the Prop-Tech space, OpticWise moves swiftly, keeping pace with all changing demographics. One of its core values is “Find a better way”. This allows its entire team the flexibility to not only suggest improvements and new ideas but the time and resources to pursue and implement them.
Change: A Catalyst and a Challenge
The global CRE industry’s future is uncertain, and the global economy significantly impacts the industry. The leaders in the space need to analyze the overall dynamics in every aspect. Be it strategic executive, innovation, new-age technology, talent, or more, the leaders have to act according to the need of the hour.
Initially, OpticWise’s biggest challenge was incenting change. Commercial real estate is not exactly a fast-moving industry and is often resistant to change. However, OpticWise’s clients are thought leaders and embrace dynamic events, it just took time for these valuable clients to find them. Today, the company has successfully built trustworthy connections with its clients resulting in long-term relationships. And this is what makes OpticWise stand out. Its customer-centric nature is the reason behind its long-standing success. OpticWise adds, “It is simple: Take care of the client. Listen, solve their problems, and service their tenants. In other words, deliver substantial value to all stakeholders.”
Meet the Man of the Hour
An extraordinary personality, Bill Douglas is the CEO of OpticWise. Backed with a profound, three decade entrepreneurail experience, Bill has been at the forefront of using technology to solve complex business problems. With his steadfast approach, adroit skillset, networking charisma, and entrepreneurial experiences, OpticWise has grown leaps and bounds. He meticulously guides the company through rapid growth while promoting technology changes that impact the commercial real estate market. As an entrepreneur, Bill focuses on three major responsibilities:
- Solve a problem that customers are willing to pay for
- Create jobs and enhance lives
- Pursue growth, personally and corporately
Unfolding the Journey
Bill is a serial entrepreneur, having started/sold/acquired/exited multiple businesses. He has a solid reputation as a growth specialist, as he has made growth lists for INC and other leading companies and has been granted a US patent. Bill acquired a mechanical engineering degree from Georgia Tech and completed the Entrepreneurial Master’s Program at MIT.
Bill believes life is the most precious gift as he survived two near-death experiences and overcame a major medical diagnosis. He is fondly known as the “ResilienceGuy” for the courage and confidence that he has showcased during tough times. He is also a father blessed with two sons, who are, now, both young men. In his leisure time, he enjoys
fitness, biking, skiing, volleyball, and golf.
In 2016, Bill became the CEO of OpticWise. During that time, the business was steady and wasn’t at risk of failing. However, it needed to be streamlined in a systematic way to grow and scale multifold. As someone who is fascinated by IoT, DT, 5G, and UX technological convergence and the numerous global impacts and possibilities that come with them, joining OpticWise certainly broadened his horizons. When Bill came on board, the company was more than a decade old. He took over the company’s strategy and vision, allowing its founder, Drew Hall, to focus on technical excellence.
Together, they shifted the focus to specific commercial real estate markets and started serving owners in that space. This allowed the company to have a more concrete direction while still being innovative. The duo had the ultimate aim of being more customer-centric and heeding their needs. ”Although changing our product and customer base seemed risky, we were actively listening to our customers and remained laser-focused on finding solutions to their challenges,” says Bill.
By integrating the customers’ insights, OpticWise was able to achieve stability and strengthened its market positioning, which eventually aided in gaining customers and increasing profits. As a demonstrated leader, this is Bill’s sixth company and he touts that it has been a tremendous learning experience working with excellent and motivated people.
A Little Insight into Drew’s Journey
Drew has an extensive background in designing premium quality networks for high-volume and latency-sensitive customers in the commercial space and at the federal level. He has a passionate desire to extend and adapt these same capabilities into historically unreachable customer spaces, allowing users to completely redefine their connected user experience. It was that passion that led Drew to start OpticWise.
A Team Culture of Accountability and Creativity
Bill’s job is to serve OpticWise’s team. He states, “Whatever they need, it’s my job to get it for them. They do the real work; I support them.” The team and its culture are unique as they revolve around accountability and creativity. Every member contributes to their best and stays in their lane and always seeks a better way to do things. As a leader of experience and knowledge, Bill’s leadership has not only redefined OpticWise’s strategy but also created and boosted a culture of continuous learning and growth.
Under Bill’s wings, OpticWise has flown to new heights and withstands the values of constant improvement, learning, competitiveness, and accountability. The team at OpticWise consists of talented and credible professionals who contribute to the overall growth and success of the company.
The management team is well aware of their roles and maintains timely decorum of meetings and check-ins. The company has a culture of combining the freedom of expression through creativity and the nature of work through accountability. The team members ensure the company is on par with its mission.
The leadership team is cross-functional, however, teams stick to the “in their lane” working model. What keeps the company grounded yet motivated are its core values. It keeps them pondering “how can we” instead of saying “we can’t.” With an impeccable team culture, OpticWise outsmarted the COVID-19 pandemic. While there were challenges from the client’s end, the company altered its offerings to meet specific needs, resulting in incredible growth before, during, and after the pandemic.
The Winning Strides
In the last few years, OpticWise has empowered its clients with premium positioning, financial leverage, and digital ownership. It has created prop-tech infrastructure solutions at innovative properties across the nation including multi-tenant commercial real estate (medium-to-large apartment and office facilities) monetizing clients’ technology assets and delivering significant NOI and ROI.
According to Bill, one of the company’s biggest achievements is building a robust client base. OpticWise’s clients always stand by the company and most importantly its values and visions. Bill is gearing up for a power-packed future, “We want to see a multi-tenant user in any CRE area be entirely private and safe while completely mobile. There is never a reason to violate or profit from a renter’s privacy, and no tenant should be forced to remain in their leased space.”
He is aware of the effects this may have on both the business and technical sides of the “status quo”. However, their clients accept the importance of the user experience, and their users demand this, which yields immense financial gains for owners.”
Holistically, Bill and OpticWise intend to drive further ahead with new initiatives, setting standards across the industry and benefiting everyone, not just its clients.
OpticWise has designed, installed, and implemented its managed prop-tech solutions for innovative property owners and operators across the country. The company had the privilege to help, bringing the client’s vision to life and turn their network into an asset. Here is what clients have to say about working with OpticWise.
- “It just works. It always works.”
- “Tenants love the 5S® solution, especially being able to work from anywhere.”
- “We had a tenant move an entire company into our building with a week’s notice. This used to take 3 months.”
- “Tenants appreciate not having to wait for their connectivity. They don’t have to sit in their apartment delayed by the cable guy.”
- “The NOI and ROI from OpticWise’s solutions are very impressive. We will do this on every site going forward.”
Pearls of Wisdom for Young Minds
Bill signs off by saying, “I highly recommend not working too much. Yes, work hard and work smart, but there is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to too many hours each week. We must take care of ourselves to have a successful business. Treasure family, friends, health, and life experiences over purely working.”