CRE sector sees, IoT, 5G as key enablers of smart buildings
AUGUST 13, 2020 BY JUAN PEDRO TOMÁS
Commercial real estate firms are becoming more aware of how important emerging technologies such as IoT, 5G or artificial intelligence could be to enable smart buildings to reach their full potential. The combination of these technologies will facilitate the task of smart building managers who can automate multiple processes and can also achieve lower energy costs for building occupants, among several other capabilities. However, the combination of 5G, IoT and AI still faces technical implementation challenges, and building owners and managers have yet to learn more about the advantages these technologies can offer in the design of smart buildings. However, IoT networks with thousands of sensors are already enabling several smart buildings in the world and this is a trend that is only just beginning. According to Coretrust Capital Partners, a real estate investment firm focused on the acquisition and operation of large office properties across the U.S., 5G will be the key technology that will enable the full implementation of IoT in smart buildings. “Our position is that smart buildings will be integrally tied to the IoT, and we see 5G as a pathway that will enable IoT devices to perform most effectively both from a tenant and business operations perspective,” Coretrust Capital Partners managing principal, Thomas Ricci, said. Commenting on what specific 5G services or applications are already being implemented in the smart building field, Ricci said that some smart building applications and use cases include digital signage, wayfinding, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) systems, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HAVAC) and energy control applications, as well as security- including HD video security. Despite the increasing interest in 5G and other technologies such as IoT, Ricci believes that the real estate community still needs some additional evangelization about the advantages of 5G technologies in the smart building field. “More education and awareness is needed in the real estate community. Many still consider wireless inside the building to be outside their domain, when in reality it is the property owner’s responsibility to provide connectivity- be it wired or wireless to their tenants. Building owners and managers need to have a general knowledge of these systems so that they can take appropriate action to serve their clients in the building and support future technologies.” Vornado Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust which owns and manages nearly 24 million square feet of commercial office space in New York City, has been expanding its IoT footprint with the aim to expand the offering of smart building devices across its properties, Nicholas Stello, senior vice president of IT at Vornado Realty Trust, said. “Our IoT footprint continues to grow rapidly as we have focused our attention on increasing the number of smart building devices, introducing additional tenant amenities and other technologies which enhance our building’s operation. We continue to learn about the latest trends and how to be best situated for IoT’s imminent 5G “revolution” through active participation on advisory boards and by continuing our strong strategic partnership with national carriers that we believe will be critical in this new environment.” Stello also believes that 5G technology will allow Vornado to enhance the ability of CRE operators to attract and retain tenants. “We feel that the advent of 5G will play a big part in our technology offerings as the tenant/consumer will continue to have a growing number of mobile applications made available – many of which will be primed to operate on 5G.” RCR Wireless News recently published an editorial report analyzing how 5G, IoT and other technologies will shape future smart buildings.