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In the UK commercial real estate sector, value-adding strategies and technologies are a key theme for 2016.

Although UK commercial property investment appears to have peaked, demand for commercial property from both investors and end users remains high and is predicted to remain so. However, commercial real estate businesses need to find new ways to maintain growth and compete in the marketplace with weaker capital value growth projections from 2017 onwards.

The adoption of digital technology is one area where the commercial real estate sector has been slow to invest, and one that offers strong opportunities for landlords and developers to differentiate themselves and increase their competitiveness.

Here we will be exploring one technology that offers key benefits for both commercial real estates businesses, their investors and their tenants: high performance wireless.

The demand for high performance wireless

As the use of wireless devices has exploded in recent years, it’s no surprise that tenants and visitors are demanding efficient wireless coverage in and around office buildings and retail estates. Last year, 74% of organisations were either using or planning to allow employees to bring their own device to work (BYOD). This trend is set to continue in 2016 with many companies expecting their employees to provide and use their own mobile device for work, rather than a company one. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the majority of people in commercial properties (whether for work or leisure) need efficient wireless access. In fact, poor or no coverage can impact severely on the tenancy or rental value of a property and it is increasingly becoming an important element of a commercial lease.

Alongside meeting this demand for wireless coverage, there are other benefits for property owners, managers, and agents. The commercial real estate sector is a highly mobile business with many employees working across various locations on a site. An effective wireless infrastructure enables property mangers and maintenance personnel to access their building management systems (BMS) and tenant support systems wherever they may be in the building on a tablet or other mobile device.

High performance wireless also negates, or reduces, the need and expense of installing Category 5/6 (Ethernet) cabling throughout a property, saving tenants and the property owners money and time. In some cases, there may also be savings to be made on buildings insurance if wireless coverage is effective in remote areas of the premises such as in basements and service areas.

Steps to take to get great wireless performance

We recommend a detailed radio frequency (RF) survey and audit in order to design the required specification. This will help identify any sources of interference and also provide a view of how radio waves behave within and outside the premises. Building infrastructure, materials and obstacles can all impact on RF radiation, and once this is understood it is possible to determine the optimum number and placement of wireless access points.

Consideration should also be given to scalability and what future network needs the property may have. If for example, you do not plan to offer full coverage when first implemented, are you likely to want to address extended coverage further down the line? If you provide serviced office space, will your wireless network be able to scale should your tenants’ businesses grow and demand for wireless access increases? Overall, future proofing is key and applying the new .ac wireless standard and iBeacons should be considered at the time of implementation.

You may also want to consider whether there are opportunities to collate data when allowing public access WiFi in your property. Is there scope to use guest login information for the benefit of your stakeholders or clients/tenants? Can you add further value for end users, tenants or investors through your wireless service, for example through mobile apps?

OryxAlign has a proven track record of delivering indoor and outdoor high performance wireless infrastructure to the commercial real estate, retail and hospitality sectors. Read our case study on how we enabled cashless trading at Camden Lock Markets through the implementation of high performance wireless.

If you would like to discuss your wireless requirements, please contact our support team at support@oryxalign.com or call +44 20 7605 7890.

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