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Connectivity is crucial to realising data ambitions of proptech

Proptech remains a relatively new term – and one that means many different things to different parts of the real estate industry. Despite this, delivering on the promise of smart building technology remains one of the core pillars of the proptech proposition, using data to optimise the use and increase the value of properties.

Data, through Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructures, has huge potential to change how properties are managed – from temperature to lighting, space utilisation and maintenance – and realise significant efficiencies and cost savings for commercial real estate (CRE) companies. Moreover, as tenants come to expect more ‘smart experiences’ from their facilities, there are also potential new revenue streams to be tapped – either through broader wellbeing initiatives or by using technology to offer more advanced features that can be charged on top of base level services.

Until recently the potential cost savings, increased margins, and improved tenant relationships remained unrealised as the IoT systems and sensors remained prohibitively expensive for CREs to deploy at scale. As such manual data collection remains the norm in most commercial properties.

Now that picture is shifting as price points for IoT systems come down and ease of deployment increases. Data is increasingly seen as the holy grail for the property sector as the IoT and smart buildings become more of a reality.

This is obviously good news, but in the rush to herald the potential for data in the property sector one issue remains awkwardly on the sideline of discussions – connectivity.

It’s all well and good talking about the potential value of data, but we need to talk seriously about how all of these sensors are going to transmit their data back to central management platform. Smart buildings can only be realised with proper in-building connectivity, otherwise all that data won’t be accessible.

If property owners and businesses are serious about the future of proptech then they need to partner with wireless experts who can give them the infrastructure they need – without requiring property owners to become wireless experts overnight.

As is well understood we cannot rely on the outdoor macro network to provide sufficient coverage indoors. Of course, many organisations may immediately think that Wi-Fi is the answer. It’s easy to set up and accessible to anyone familiar with technology, but Wi-Fi usually struggles to match enterprise speeds and network reliability is often variable. As such it will struggle to provide the connectivity required for smart buildings.

Instead, bringing full cellular connectivity indoors through solutions like Building Connections from Vilicom are essential if we are to deliver on the visions for proptech and data in smart buildings. A dedicated internal mobile network addresses all indoor mobile coverage problems, offering comprehensive security alongside far greater capacity and consistency.