Commercial tenants in the Baltimore and Washington corridor are not just looking for traditional office space anymore: They need access to technology in their offices that will connect them to the world.
That means high speed internet connections and fiber connectivity that enable employees to work remotely. Increasingly, businesses are also using technology that allows them to hold teleconferences.
In addition, many tenants still will want data centers in their offices. “Some [tenants] do want onsite data centers,” Theo Slagle, a director at the Washington, D.C., office of Cushman & Wakefield, told CEOReport. “The trend is … more of a move to the cloud.” By using the cloud for data storage, it reduces the amount of square feet — leading to lower costs for leasing, he said.
Similarly, Baltimore-based Merritt Companies said that hybrid solutions are popular where businesses keep non-critical data onsite and critical data offsite.
Slagle also sees some tenants looking for cell phone redundancy where the signal will continue no matter where someone is in the building – even, for instance, in a garage. This stems from the highly mobile workforce which relies heavily on cellphones to conduct work.
Sometimes, tenants, especially those which operate round the clock, are also looking for generators in office buildings — for backup energy in case of a power outage. “Some buildings have them, not all of them,” Slagle said.
Typically commercial tenants tend to look for fiber connections and multiple ISP options, according to Munir Sadiq of Merritt Construction Services. Some tenants want at least two, high-speed ISPs in a building. FiOS tends to be preferred by most businesses not requiring service license agreements. Government contractors, on the other hand, often favor fiber/T1 level services with service license agreements. Also, potential tenants in Class A office buildings frequently ask about Wi-Fi connections in common areas, courtyards and lounges. Tenants also inquire about bandwidth.
“With the mobile device movement and the cloud, your data is authored, managed and shared across a range of devices for better collaboration,” Sadiq told CEOReport. “As a result, server rooms will shrink in size, and businesses will focus on extremely fast and reliable internet.”
“In addition, with higher bandwidth comes improved conferencing,” he added. “These technologies will continue to reduce upfront costs, improve quality of services and facilitate a globally connected community of offices and marketplaces.”
More advancements are on the way. Sadiq predicts that soon “we will see a blend of real and virtual workplaces” and the presence of “smart buildings.”
For example, participants in an office conference will wear eyewear that will let them view contextual-driven data pertinent to the meeting. They can then walk through a jobsite and see virtual buildings, walls and underground utilities.
“The question isn’t who would want to leverage these types of technologies in a smart building,” Sadiq said, “but rather, how soon before we come to know no other way?”