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Why connectivity is the key to future-ready commercial buildings

Por Gearoid Collins

Why connectivity is the key to future-ready commercial buildings

Future-proofing. It’s a buzzword in commercial real estate. Property developers and owners want to figure out how to make buildings so advanced that they can meet any challenge or demand the future throws at them. It’s an appealing idea, but a bit optimistic. The reality is buildings take years to construct. And technology moves quickly.

That doesn’t mean property developers and owners are doomed to trail technological advancements. One of the most important things they can do is prioritise connectivity. It’s what enables the flexibility, sustainability and conveniences tenants are looking for from modern properties. And the right kinds of connectivity can lay the foundations for innovations to come.

So let’s take a deeper look at why connectivity matters – to tenants and their landlords.

It all starts with connectivity

Not too long ago, being a well-connected building just meant you had wired infrastructure and an ethernet port for each desk. No one was looking for ports to plug into in the parking garage. Any work people were doing in the cafeteria was on paper, and they were effectively unreachable until they got back to their desks.

But that won’t cut it today. Office workers are often using mobile devices, and they’re no longer prepared to do their work from one spot. When they leave their cars in the morning, they expect to be able to check email on their phones on the way from the parking garage to their offices. They want to be able to sit in a shared lounge and collaborate with remote colleagues. They might not even have a permanent desk.

That means buildings have to offer a different kind of connectivity. It has to be wireless. It has to include cellular coverage. And it has to be everywhere.

One way to let prospective tenants know your building offers exactly that is WiredScore certification. Much like how BREEAM or LEED certification measures a building’s sustainability, WiredScore measures its connectivity. It does so based on criteria like ISP (Internet Service Provider) resilience, mobile coverage and user experience. As flexible connectivity becomes standard, more tenants will be looking for this mark of assurance that your property provides it. If you’re not certified but your neighbour down the road is, it’ll be hard to compete.

To really stand out and make the most of your investments in connectivity, it’s wise to understand how connectivity supports your tenants – delivering more flexibility, sustainability and convenience – so you can tailor your offering to exactly what they want.

Enabling flexibility

There’s been a huge spike in hybrid working models since the pandemic, and it’s pretty clear those models are here to stay. That means companies need more flexibility in their office space than ever before. According to a recent survey, 86% of respondents said flexible office space was critical to their future real estate plans.

Companies now have different numbers of employees using the office each day, and their needs vary. They need spaces for individual, focused work. They need boardrooms where they can work easily with colleagues on-site and in other locations – without disrupting those who need quiet. They need to be able to enjoy a cup of tea while staying productive. The next day, they’ll need a whole different set of work environments.

That means employees are no longer tied to a specific desk, and companies want the option to reconfigure their space as their needs change. Many will downsize their dedicated space and look to shared, flexible spaces in the rest of the building that enable them to take up a smaller or larger footprint on any given day. 

This kind of flexible space made up less than 1% of the global office market in 2021. There’s a massive opportunity for forward-looking commercial property owners and developers to offer more of the kind of space tenants want. And to do it, high-quality connectivity must be available throughout.

Supporting sustainability

Tenants are also increasingly concerned with sustainability. Some are driven mostly by economics – using less energy means they spend less on it. Others have made environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments. On top of that, legislation like the UK’s minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) is holding property owners themselves to a higher standard, requiring all commercial buildings – new and existing – to comply by 2030.

Proptech solutions like connected Internet of Things (IoT) sensors are an easy way to retrofit a building to improve its sustainability. These sensors can control lighting levels based on occupancy and available daylight, adjust HVAC systems based on demand, and identify unusual energy use patterns that could indicate something isn’t configured properly.

On top of helping make the building as a whole more efficient and sustainable, these same connected sensors can collect a host of data points. These can be shared with tenants to help them identify areas where they can become more efficient and sustainable.

Delivering convenience

Excellent connectivity can also offer extra conveniences that enhance the tenant experience. A network of sensors can be connected to a booking system to make it easier to manage flexible spaces, enabling workers to see what spaces are available and reserve the type they need on a given day.

These sensors can also allocate parking when someone books a workspace, or based on meeting invites when guests are expected on site. They can automatically turn on the lights and other equipment in a reserved space when the occupant swipes in at the front door, so the space is ready when they arrive. Specific people can be notified when someone arrives to make in-person collaboration easier.

Be ready for the future with high-quality connectivity

All this means connectivity is no longer optional. It helps companies enjoy the flexibility they want. It enables greater sustainability. And it makes the office experience more convenient for tenants. Delivering on that promise calls for a partner that understands how to make sure your whole building is connected. A partner who knows how to build the networks so you’re ready for the demands of today and of tomorrow.

At Boldyn Networks, that’s what we do. Our connectivity-as-a-service model makes it easy and affordable to set up a fast, reliable 4G/LTE or 5G network in even the most challenging buildings. Talk to us about setting one up in yours.