Each year, as we approach March, we look forward to celebrating Women’s History Month and recognizing the female leaders of Brookfield Properties. This past year has been a unique one. One in which a global pandemic shook up the world, prompting us to rethink how we do business. With the help of our female leaders, Brookfield Properties implemented strategies that revolutionized retail and created memorable, meaningful, and, most importantly, safe shopping experiences for our customers.
We have relied on various technologies and innovations to adapt to the new era of retail, while transforming our malls into safe spaces for both shoppers and tenants. When it comes to understanding the profound impact technology has on our spaces, Annette Prater, Brookfield Asset Management’s Executive Vice President of Technology & Innovation, leads the charge. “The ability to manage our properties has become much more virtual and digital,” said Prater. Technology has “dramatically changed the future of real estate.”
Prater has helped Brookfield Properties identify and apply fast-moving technology to improve operations and experiences at our malls across North America. The following are just some of the areas in which she has introduced unique innovations:
This retail metric that indicates whether advertising works to get consumers through retailers’ doors. By tapping into advances in cloud computing, connected devices, data analytics, and other technologies, Prater has helped Brookfield Properties make great leaps in their ability to compile and decipher shopping information and make adjustments in real-time.
Prater helped identify technology-enabled solutions to monitor indoor air quality in real-time to help retailers protect workers and shoppers. In shopping centers, “what really matters is air quality and air flow,” Prater said. “How do we get that information to people so it’s relevant and is meaningful to a consumer?”
In late 2020, Prater was named to the Julie Devine Digital Impact Award, one of Realcomm Conference Group’s Digie awards recognizing technology and innovation leaders in real estate. Realcomm cited Prater as a valued “visionary and leader” in real estate technology internationally who “generously collaborates with peers in the industry” and “drives innovation within Brookfield and the industry at large.”
“[The award] is an honor for me to share. It’s because of the team I work with. You are as good as the people you surround yourself with every day. I’ve been blessed to have a smart, dedicated and, what I consider, the best team in real estate technology anywhere.”
Annette Prater, Brookfield Properties
The Realcomm awards also recognized leaders using “strategic and transformational technologies” to help the real estate industry navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Prater sees technology playing a key role in creating a safe physical shopping experience and shaping the post-COVID retail world.
Looking ahead over the next few years, Prater’s goals include increasing “democratization” of technology and fostering an “innovation mindset” across all teams. Brookfield Properties is a “unique company, in that we have many property sectors, we operate in different countries and we cover so many activities,” said Prater. “Our goal is to enable each of our distinct businesses to operate as a best-in-class operator leveraging innovation and technology,” she continued. “But we also want to better tie all the best practices and individual insights together for a competitive advantage. This becomes our ‘secret sauce’ over time, where our retail team may help our hospitality or logistics team to more deeply or quickly understand market trends or unique improvements in operations implemented for shopper experience. We want our teams to continually think about ways to create and share innovation where there may be value.”