Is A Connected Real Estate Revolution Upon Us?

By Gordon Feller

Gordon Feller is the Co-Founder of Meeting of the Minds, a global thought leadership network and knowledge-sharing platform focused on the future of sustainable cities, innovation and technology.

Imagine going to work in a high-performance, “smart” building every day. Workers could take advantage of flexible and productive workspaces, wireless and mobile capabilities, and remote, collaborative technology. “Smart” buildings can virtually connect systems and people while measuring, monitoring, and managing resources. With more than $600 billion of new real estate constructed annually in the US and Canada alone, connected real estate offers an opportunity for developers and owners to simultaneously create better work conditions and increase their property value.Integrating this technology into working environments begins with connected real estate, creating a process of designing and renovating buildings to converge all systems onto a streamlined network.

Almost every government and enterprise uses real estate, which is typically the second-largest expense for any corporation. With more than $600 billion of new real estate constructed annually in the US and Canada alone, connected real estate offers an opportunity for developers and owners to simultaneously create better work conditions and increase their property value.

Connected buildings use a single IP network to converge data and systems with centralized operations, management, and efficiencies, enabling owners to extract information from real estate assets. In addition to being more efficient, using less energy, and lowering emissions levels, the converged network approach is less expensive than installing and maintaining separate systems. In turn, the property owner can pass along sustainable benefits to companies and workers in the form of more productive workplaces, lower costs of doing business, and a more responsive landlord/tenant relationship.

Overcoming Hurdles

Offering connected real estate—while worthwhile to both the property owner and company employees—can present logistical hurdles. Property owners, builders, and managers are striving to keep up with an ever-evolving and increasingly technologically focused tenant base. Taking a holistic approach to connected real estate is crucial in order to create lasting workspace benefits. Developers and owners can consolidate, connect, and virtualize the following areas to work toward holistic connected real estate:

  • Increase collaboration and decrease operating costs while reducing the burdens created by travel and commuting (such as pollution, stress, and infrastructure wear and tear) by offering high connectivity, remote technologies, and wireless access.
  • Improve productivity while decreasing energy, water, heating, and cooling requirements by reconfiguring workplaces to increase occupancy and leverage shared resources.
  • Collapsing building management onto the network (including HVAC, lighting, and security).
  • Facilitate scaling and security without significantly increasing the data center’s energy or physical footprint by replacing blade servers with sophisticated storage solutions and by using advanced energy management applications.


Although technology design consultants and implementation engineers are available to support the commercial enterprise, they are often unfamiliar with the construction process, just as the construction team is sometimes unacquainted with the required technologies. Close collaboration and communication between both teams throughout the entire process—along with well-documented experiences available for future use—will prevent projects from being executed in a haphazard, reactive fashion and will ensure sustainability for creating valuable connected real estate projects in the future.

The Future of the Built Environment

Control systems and network technologies are driving the transformation of the built environment. Solutions are now available that allow building owners, managers, and tenants to leverage their IP-enabled networks to converge a vast array of systems, and offer benefits to everyone involved. Intelligent systems work to increase the quality of work and personal life, and truly winning strategies will utilize connected real estate to enable citizens, business leaders, and policymakers to drive job growth, increase economic opportunity, and enrich citizen services.

Discussion

Leave your comment below, or reply to others.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more from the CityMinded.org Blog

Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology

Smart Cities and the Weather

A study by the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in 2008 found that the impact of routine weather events on the US economy equates annually to about 3.4% of the country’s GDP (about $485 billion). This excludes the impact of extreme weather events that cause damage and disruption – after all, even “ordinary” weather affects supply of and demand for many items, and the propensity of businesses and consumers to buy them. NCAR found that mining and agriculture are particularly sensitive to weather influences, with utilities and retail not far behind.

Many of these, disaster management included, are the focus of smart city innovations. Not surprisingly, therefore, as they seek to improve and optimize these systems, smart cities are beginning to understand the connection between weather and many of their goals.  A number of vendors (for example, IBM, Schneider Electric, and others) now offer weather data-driven services focused specifically on smart city interests.

Invest in Resilience Before Disaster Strikes

Investing in at-risk communities before disaster strikes is one of the most cost-effective ways to protect residents and property while increasing their ability to weather the severe storms ahead. At Enterprise Community Partners, our Resilient Communities Initiative works nationwide to strengthen communities and equip residents so they are better prepared for, and able to respond to extreme weather events and other emergencies. We provide technical assistance, grant funding, research and analysis, and build innovative tools to support this goal.

Meeting of the Minds is made possible by the generous support of these organizations.