Most decisions regarding real estate come down to two factors: location and price. Fancy amenities, high quality interior design and reconfigured work environments matter too, but it’s where and how much that dictates a building’s leasing success.
Today, what businesses are looking for in a workplace is changing in this digital economy. As WiredScore’s John Meko notes, recent data has shown digital connectivity has reached second place in terms of important factors for leasing decision makers when they evaluate potential office space.
As personal Internet of Things (IoT) devices such as Nest, Ring Video Doorbell and Google Home become more prominent, the demand for this smart technology in offices has grown. Plus, as mobile devices garner more Internet speed and processing power, today’s workers want to have around the clock online access and connectivity. If a connection is interrupted because there’s poor coverage in the office or bandwidth is inadequate, employee productivity decreases and creates a negative atmosphere in the workplace.
Commercial real estate owners are now being more proactive to make sure office tenants have reliable cell coverage, connectivity to their floor and resilient connectivity to prevent losing service. Meanwhile, the commercial real estate leaders who are really thinking ahead are looking to take “future proofing” a step further and paying closer attention to intelligent building design.
Intelligent buildings refer to network-enabled building management systems that can predict activity within the built environment to automate building operations and enhance the tenants’ workplace experience. There was a time when these technologies were cutting edge, but now they are increasingly becoming par for the course in the current high-level office buildings.
More innovative tenants are prioritizing a building’s intelligent features, digital connectivity and infrastructure to support emerging building technologies during their decision making process.
For any commercial real estate owner or developer that wants to compete nationally or globally, they have to move towards the intelligent building infrastructure that’s tapped into a converged fiber backbone. When a fiber backbone is installed in a building, a fiber optic cable essentially runs from the top of the building and has access points throughout the property. It’s one of the most surefire ways a building owner can guarantee their building can handle the technologies that are sure to surface.
A multi-purpose infrastructure can be used for almost any building function and serves as the ideal foundation for an adaptable technology platform.
Here are five reasons why every commercial real estate owner and developer should invest in Connectivity and Connected Devices
1. In-Building Cellular Coverage
The 5G network is on the way and is set to increase cellular speed to 10Gbps and allow lower latency connections. This inevitable arrival means building owners have to prepare for what will be a major change in the cellular industry. Tenants will be exposed to a new era of mobile use cases with these network advances and there’s a chance the VR/AR full potential could be unleashed.
If that is the case, 5G signals will need denser fiber networks so all that 5G has to offer can be realized. A building that currently has reliable cell coverage may discover it need to add an in-building solution like distributed antenna system (DAS) for a 5G network to work effectively because signals will need to move over fiber as close as they can to mobile phones.
A building fiber backbone can be used to streamline the implementation of an in-building mobile solution such as a fiber-based DAS. Putting in fiber infrastructure ahead of time could bring down the cost of an in-building mobile solution.
The good news for building owners is running IoT devices over a 5G network could be a more affordable option if or when the FCC approves the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). IoT devices like temperature control or security cameras run more effectively on LTE networks than standard Wi-Fi, but LTE use can be too high a cost for venue owners. CBRS will in effect allow more building owners to have an LTE network that is not only for their private use, but will also be less expensive.
2. Smart Buildings
A smart building will need a converged, IP-based building network to permit systems to communicate to each other. The fiber backbone can serve as the foundation to allow intelligent building implementation by serving as the physical network connectivity to each floor. If you are developing a new smart building or turning an existing building into an intelligent one, the fiber backbone is just as essential if you want to automate the processes and environmental controls that will improve efficiency and make your tenants more satisfied with their coverage.
When Internet service providers (ISP) want to deploy fiber to tenants, or if tenants have to extend an ISP’s service from the telecommunications room to their floor, they often look to leave fiber from building management to speed up the installation process. By doing so, tenants can move to any floor of a building and there’s fiber ready for them.
With a fiber backbone however, the ISP would only need to cross connect to it in the basement and cut down the installation time from weeks to just a few days, or maybe even hours. It’s important to note that building management should not require ISP and tenants or to use their fiber backbone. By doing so, the building management would be responsible for part of the tenant’s Internet service network, which is a crucial element of every modern business. The fiber backbone is a good to have feature in the building to suggest to tenants and ISP’s if they want to use it.
Another benefit of investing in connecting office assets is competition. When a building owner can distribute Internet services, they can allow for competition in terms of cable providers. They’ll most likely be willing to pay more to be part of your building if they know it has superior connectivity capabilities.
4. Amenities for Tenants
Remember, more and more building lease decision makers are prioritizing digital connectivity when looking for a landing spot for their business. The more amenities in that realm, like free Wi-Fi in common areas, that a commercial building can offer tenants, the more likely they are to attract them. A lot of building owners can offer free Wi-Fi however—you can set yourself apart from the pack with assets that can connect all of the Wi-Fi routers and access points on every floor.
5. Security of IoT and Other Data
Convincing a prospective tenant that they will have optimal coverage and Internet speed in your building is only the first step. As important as it is for companies to have their data move quickly, it’s even more important that it remains secure. So, if you want businesses to work in your building, you’re going to have to guarantee that your intelligent building connectivity cannot be hacked.
Whatever investment you need to make in a connecting office asset in terms of cyber security, it’s worth the cost. You can recoup the costs with a completely occupied building, but more importantly the money you’d spend on security technology will be a fraction of what you’d have to pay if a tenant suffered a data breach because your building’s connectivity was not secure.
Whatever investment you need to make in Connectivity and connected devices of cyber security, it’s worth the cost. You can recoup the costs with a completely occupied building, but more importantly the money you’d spend on security technology will be a fraction of what you’d have to pay if a tenant suffered a data breach because your building’s connectivity was not secure.