In 2011, 35% of Americans owned smartphones; now, in 2018, that number has grown to 77%. With the rise of smartphones has come to a sense of dependence on these useful devices—from business applications to social media, our phones make daily tasks much, much easier.
As a direct result of this dependency, and the accompanying growth of 4G LTE networks, users expect to receive service everywhere they go—especially in the workplace. After all, nothing is more frustrating than trying to make or receive a call on your cell phone, only for it to drop because of a lack of service.
Thankfully, commercial real estate has wisened up to this burgeoning trend of connectivity. Let’s explore the office of the future: the smart building.
Network Infrastructure: A Necessity
Traditionally, network infrastructure has been a peripheral feature in office buildings. However, with the rise of smartphones and internet connectivity, these types of networks have become essential in office infrastructure alongside mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.
Among the network infrastructure included in smart buildings are applications and technologies such as:
- Building automation, or the automatic and centralized control of a building’s climate, lighting, and other systems.
- Asset management, or the management of a building’s cost flow.
- High-tech security, or modern applications like access control, surveillance technology, and other audio/visual solutions.
- Digital signage, or the high-tech replacement for static signage and internal communications.
The Rise of Fiber
Because smart buildings require more reliable network connectivity, the traditional method of installing a single-purpose infrastructure is no longer viable. Rather, building owners have now switched from copper to fiber infrastructure to power in-building connectivity.
This is because fiber can converge and support multiple services and applications such as voice, data, and video, even when used in conjunction with each other across several office spaces. Once upon a time, the traditional infrastructure would have become overwhelmed by all of these tasks, but technology today anticipates the increased load.
However, this isn’t to say that copper wiring is completely obsolete. Instead of using copper wiring for the majority of internal infrastructure, smart buildings will use it to help connect the fiber cables when it is needed.
Even though technology has been steadily changing in the last few years, some types of buildings have been reluctant to adapt. Specifically, Class A buildings tend to be slow to make these expected changes—and if they continue to lag behind in adopting new technology, they’ll risk missing out on Class A tenants, and other buildings will step up to the plate. Regardless, the demand and need for smart buildings will continue to grow.
At Murphy Commercial Real Estate, we have seen firsthand an influx of smart buildings available for lease and purchase in the Baltimore-Washington area. As our dependence on technological advancements such as smartphones (and smart buildings) continues to grow, we look forward to monitoring the ways in which commercial real estate will adapt to these changing needs.
Contact us today for more information about the growth of and demand for smart buildings.