PECO rolls out Alexa skill to facilitate greater information sharing internally and externally
Phillips Edison & Company (“PECO” or the “Company”), an internally-managed real estate investment trust (“REIT”) and one of the nation’s largest owners and operators of grocery-anchored shopping centers, is pleased to announce the launch of a customized Alexa skill designed to facilitate greater information sharing with internal team members as well as tenants and other business partners across the Company’s portfolio of approximately 340 shopping centers.
The skill represents a creative solution developed by PECO’s IT team after it recognized the opportunity to leverage the Alexa platform in combination with the Company’s artificial intelligence to provide immediate responses to commonly asked questions. Creating the skill has helped improve internal processes, allowing for greater efficiency and quicker decision making. As a result, associates and management are able to devote more time and resources to advancing strategic priorities designed to enhance portfolio value and tenant satisfaction.
“PECO remains committed to being at the forefront of creating and leveraging technology to enhance operational efficiencies and facilitate information sharing,” said Shaun Smith, Chief Information Officer at PECO. “We’ve made significant inroads adopting artificial intelligence to streamline processes and procedures, resulting in greater productivity. Capitalizing on the power of Alexa to make our data more easily accessible reflects a natural evolution of those efforts, and we look forward to continuing to find creative ways to make our colleagues’ and partners’ jobs easier.”
The internal app was so successful that PECO’s IT team has developed an external skill to provide business partners with the same fast and easy access to information. In the external app, which is available to anyone with an Alexa-enabled device, current and prospective tenants are able to quickly pull information on properties, including finding available space for lease and reaching a leasing agent to help them take the next steps. Users are also able to listen to PECO’s Retail Intel podcast, which sheds light on the emerging retail trends the Company is tracking and highlights successful and innovative retailers.
Added Smith, “Creating this application was a highly complex process and a true team effort that required diligently working to not only input the requisite information, but ensure that Alexa could correctly interpret questions and return accurate responses. Making it work seamlessly required us to establish consistent data sources across all applications so that users receive the same information regardless of how the questions are asked. The data model we created for this use is updated on a daily basis, so users can be confident the information they’re receiving is up-to-date.”
Smith’s team continues to work with key stakeholders internally and externally to explore ways it can evolve and expand PECO’s use of Alexa to introduce broader capabilities and facilitate even greater communication with tenants. PECO’s Alexa skill is available to anyone with an Alexa-powered device. To access it through the Alexa app, visit the “Skills and Games” section, search for Phillips Edison, and select “enable.”
About Phillips Edison & Company
Phillips Edison & Company, Inc. (“PECO”), an internally-managed REIT, is one of the nation’s largest owners and operators of grocery-anchored shopping centers. PECO’s diversified portfolio of well-occupied neighborhood shopping centers features a mix of national and regional retailers selling necessity-based goods and services in fundamentally strong markets throughout the United States. Through its vertically-integrated operating platform, the company manages a portfolio of 338 properties, including 300 wholly-owned properties comprising approximately 34.1 million square feet across 32 states (as of March 31, 2019). PECO has generated strong operating results over its 27+ year history and has partnered with leading institutional commercial real estate investors including TPG Real Estate and The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. The Company remains exclusively focused on creating great grocery-anchored shopping experiences and improving the communities it serves one center at a time. For more information, please visit www.phillipsedison.com.