Currently, the next generation of cellular, 5G, is merely a discussion point in the commercial real estate industry as the major carriers in the United States race to be the first to bring a true 5G network to mobile users. Although 5G is not here yet, its arrival does appear to be inevitable. When that day does arrive, 5G will have an impact on commercial buildings and how their owners go about their day-to-day operations. Everything from the occupant experience to workplace productivity to the Internet of Things (IoT)-based systems that connect to the cloud and smart grids will be affected. That means commercial real estate owners must find ways to make sure their tenants and visitors alike can leverage all that 5G has to offer when it is finally deployed.
Here are six things commercial real estate owners can do to ensure they’re ready for 5G.
- Understand what’s already in your building from a network standpoint.
Building owners should work with their chief information officer or information technology (IT) staff to review their building’s network infrastructure so they can decide what needs to be upgraded or replaced. Everything will need to be 5G compatible whether it’s hardware, software or additional systems. Network upgrades can be costly, so CRE owners should budget accordingly and sooner rather than later so they’re ready to enhance their building’s wireless offerings the moment 5G is deployed.
- Understand your network’s vulnerabilities from cyber attacks that may now come through sensors, devices or even property technology (proptech) apps.
What will be great about 5G is it will enhance IoT devices’, systems’ and smart city applications’ ability to connect and communicate with one another. The downside however is great connectivity and communication means heightened cyber security risks—both data and physical security occupants could be exposed. There’s nothing available right now that CRE owners could use to mitigate these risks or cyber attacks 100%, but they can team up with IT departments to set goals and protocols that will keep cyber hacks to a minimum.
- Realize that while 5G is looming, no one knows what the killer apps will be.
Yes, carriers are touting faster speeds, but how will that help you? As 5G comes closer to becoming a reality, be prepared to do more over your network and keep and open mind. With access to a 5G network building owners can offer current and potential tenants workplace perks like real-time video conferencing. CRE owners can benefit from real-time video conferencing as well, as 5G will enhance surveillance camera’s capabilities, making the building safer for all occupants. Again, it’s important for commercial real estate owners to confer with their IT staff to make sure their infrastructure can handle these types of upgrades.
- Your IT networks will be getting hit with much, much more data.
What do you want to do with all of that newfound data, and how will you store it and slice and dice it? Hold an internal meeting and get input. Topics for discussion should include current IoT connected devices and determining where the 5G-enhanced transmission speeds can provide occupants with a better experience as well as increase their bottom lines. CRE owners should also determine what applications will not need to collect such large amounts of data.
- Focus on your tenant experience software, apps and layout.
Don’t forget that table stakes for all of is can tenants make 911 calls, or is your in-building network lacking? This is part of the tenant satisfaction equation. Of course tenants will want an efficient work experience that includes reliable coverage to make phone calls, use their laptop or tablet anywhere on the premises or stream live video. However, they also want to be safe in the event of an emergency. So, while ensuring your building is 5G ready from a technology standpoint, make sure public safety is part of the process. That means confirming 911 calls can get out of the building, and first responders can communicate with one another when they’re inside.
- Most importantly, don’t panic.
The emergence of 5G and how to get ready for it can seem like a lot to process. Fortunately, there are people and resources that can help you make these considerations easier to understand. Be sure to read Connected Real Estate’s weekly newsletter and quarterly print publication to help you figure out all that you need to know about 5G and all things wireless as they relate to commercial real estate.