The rise of remote and hybrid work lifestyles, along with the expanding smart tech spectrum, has created challenges and opportunities for buildings. The proptech industry addresses these developments by delivering new technologies and services that increase energy efficiency, lower operating costs, and improve occupant experience.
Proptech will continue to evolve and increase efficiencies. The key is establishing a foundation that allows buildings to evolve alongside it. In a survey conducted by Allbridge, more than 300 decision-makers in the building industry identified the main factors driving property upgrades. Allbridge CEO Todd Johnstone shared the results with Smart Buildings Technology.
A good network is the backbone of the technological ecosystem in a building
Without a robust network other building technologies will be unable to perform necessary functions. According to survey responses, property managers rank Wi-Fi higher on their priority lists than amenities such as entertainment options. Consistent with this trend, survey respondents ranked network speed and reliability as more important proptech priorities than network security or workforce management.
Property managers wondering whether their networks need upgrading should start with an audit. The audit collects information about the property’s network hardware, software, upload/download speeds, reliability, cabling type, and IT support system. Collecting occupant feedback can also be valuable to find out, how they are using the network (for example, for video conferencing, streaming, email), and identify network strengths and areas for improvement.
Convenience tech is top of mind
Tech amenities were of the highest priorities among respondents, particularly with the rise in contactless technology and smart devices. Motion-activated lighting, access control systems, smart locks, and smart plugs increase occupant satisfaction, building security and energy efficiency.
For existing buildings, surveying the low-voltage electrical infrastructure will help identify where new integrations and upgrades can be made. For full-building technology scenarios, this process should include assessments on interoperability, flexibility, scalability, user experience, and intuitiveness. For new builds, designing a technology foundation before the floor plans are defined is recommended, as Johnstone points out.
Strategic approach to energy management
Driven by occupants’ climate concerns and ballooning energy costs, property managers are looking for ways to integrate technologies such as smart meters, smart appliances, and smart building management systems to increase energy efficiency. A strategic approach to energy management can lower operating costs and increase property value while increasing marketability to potential occupants. In particular, a robust network is critical for connecting the front-end room technologies to the back-end building management systems to ensure everything is working in concert.
Streaming is not replacing television
According to the survey, 44% of respondents plan to offer both TV and streaming for their occupants. Some buildings have implemented systems that deliver traditional TV services through existing coaxial cables, with streaming services or casting apps delivered via Wi-Fi or ethernet cables. Others may choose to outfit rooms with smart TVs that rely on Wi-Fi or ethernet and include traditional TV programming apps.
Simplifying tech vendors
Properties can have more than 30 different tech systems and vendors, complicating an already complex ecosystem. Working with a partner that approaches technology holistically and can support owners and their end users throughout the entire building lifecycle can bring distinct advantages, such as newfound interoperability, speedier troubleshooting and issue resolution, simplified support services, and more consistent resident experiences.
Partnering with a managed services provider (MSP) to oversee and operate a building’s vast tech ecosystem, including Wi-Fi, telecommunications, entertainment, and security, offers many benefits. Contracting with a partner that provides cloud-based services can future-proof property infrastructure with cloud-delivered updates that eliminate the need for on-site updates and scale with property growth. With an MSP, equipment and installation costs are covered in the monthly cost, removing the need for management to request unbudgeted expenses.