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Should commercial landlords invest in smart buildings?

By Greg Bell

Smart buildings in commercial real estate use digital systems to enhance a tenant's experience, or to improve the behind-the-scenes property management. Investment in smart buildings is expected to reach £14.4 billion as we enter 2019, according to a report by Unwork. But what does it mean to have a smart building and should Gold Coast commercial landlords be adapting?

What makes a smart building?

A smart building is about more than just providing tenants with appropriate technology. Of course they want high-speed internet and environments that promote employee wellbeing. Smart buildings stand out because they allow landlords and tenants to manage the technology and use it to increase business efficiency. 

The most basic type of smart building has features most of us are familiar with  – movement-sensor lights, or automatic temperature adjustments, for example. These features contribute to the efficient running of the property by streamlining expenditure, but also contribute to the wellbeing and health of the building users to help productivity. 

More advanced technologies allow various building systems to be controlled via a network of shared information, allowing different equipment to adjust its output according to what's happening elsewhere. 

Additionally, smart buildings provide data insights to allow resources to be deployed efficiently and highlight issues such as equipment failure automatically, and often before it happens. They also allow real-time monitoring, as well as important security measures such as facial or fingerprint recognition and automatically activate agreed protocols when needed. 

Are commercial smart buildings necessary?

As the old saying goes, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Landlords and property managers have been maintaining their buildings quite happily for many years, so why do they need to change? New technology comes with installation costs and set-up time before they provide any return on investment. 

However, there are some key benefits that well outweigh the initial outlay:

  • Security – Keeping a building safe and secure both during operating hours and while closed is an important step in protecting your investment. New technology allows remote security control.
  • Visitor management – During a fire or other safety concern, it's not always practical to rely on old-fashioned sign-in sheets. Digital systems keep a tighter control on visitor movements and can be accessed from elsewhere in the event of an emergency evacuation.
  • Reduced outgoings – Sensors and controls, whether remote or on-site, allow companies to reduce their utilities spend. Movement-activated lights, for example, mean that costs only start racking up when employees are actually using a room.

Ray White Surfers Paradise are experts in all things property. Whether you need efficient property management services, are looking for a new commercial investment or want to relocate your business, talk to the team today.

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