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Real estate developers that fail to adapt to smart-city technology risk becoming obsolete

It is quite clear that technological advancement has greatly influenced the subsistence and survival of man in all facets of life. Its impact appears so vast in some areas of life such as construction, manufacturing, finance and communication, amongst others. With regards to construction, the real estate industry in Nigeria is currently witnessing a cyclical change, as developers begin to fully grasp the benefits and comparative advantages of technological real estate innovations, in terms of attractiveness of their properties to prospective buyers.

The advent of smart buildings technology is one of such innovations that has become the deciding factor in identifying prime real estate as customers are actively seeking new experiences in their purchase and consumption of real estate. To enable new customer experiences, accelerate workforce innovation and introduce innovative business models, companies are digitizing their business operations and buildings – be it a retail store, a factory floor, a healthcare or an educational institution or your very own workplace – are central to this digital transformation.

Building owners are looking at technology convergence to deliver enhanced occupant experiences and improved efficiencies in their buildings. However, as the number of networks and connections within buildings grow, they are becoming increasingly complex. Interconnecting and interoperating isolated building systems such as lighting, HVAC, badging systems, security, CCTV, sensors and audio-video equipment, into a single converged system is fundamental to the digital transformation of buildings. Today’s building systems and equipment need to work together smoothly and efficiently to meet owners’ and occupants’ needs, which requires a holistic approach of integrating new technologies.

Cisco has the leading footprint in network innovation, the Cisco Catalyst Digital Building Series switch is a big step towards a robust foundation for the next-generation digital buildings. This is the industry’s first purpose-built switch optimized for low voltage PoE deployments, IoT connectivity and building automation in smart buildings. Digital Building Series switches will greatly simplify the deployment experience with integrated security and lower total cost of ownership. Other developers in Nigeria have also leveraged of the attractiveness of smart city technology to ensure that its structures are equipped with start of the art innovative technology that ensures efficient communication between all devices within the city. But the question here is do consumers fully understand the value and benefits of smart city technology.

A building isn’t connected unless the people inside are. Smart buildings can be outfitted with high-speed internet and voice over internet protocol services. Since businesses increasingly rely on the internet, an increase in speed could mean an increase in production and revenue. Smart buildings are designed to constantly gather data and monitor themselves for problems in the structure’s facilities. These technological advancements are made possible by companies which constantly push the boundaries of innovations, Cisco is one of such organization.

The vision of smart city offered by Cisco is of an integrated urban information and communication technology (ICT) overlay on a city that can support delivery of connected urban services and allow for efficient management of those services on a global scale. Cisco helps cities gather, share, understand and act on data from and with other agencies, from and with city residents and visitors, and from and with business and social organizations. So, for example, if an elevator breaks down, the building could find the problem, self-diagnose and communicate with the appropriate organization to get it fixed. Smart buildings can also monitor system performance to increase energy savings. Overseeing these processes could decrease complaints about inefficient or failed facilities, reducing time spent addressing potential problems. Smart buildings are expected to save money in more ways than one might think.

It is quite clear that smart cities significantly reduce energy and operating costs, but there are a number of expected not-so-obvious benefits gained from implementing a smart building system. It is becoming increasingly important for people to feel safe at the workplace, and smart buildings can help in those efforts. Take, for example, a situation in which a fire alarm goes off. With Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities, a smart building can detect smoke, tell occupants to evacuate the building, contact the correct authorities and prepare the structure for minimizing the spread of risk. Security also is an important issue, and the deployment of cameras and the ability to stream footage from a surveillance camera to a laptop can increase safety and provide peace of mind to tenants.

By leveraging the Internet of Things , cities can integrate people, processes, data and things to create safe and vital places to live, work, learn and play. Partnering for Innovation and Success Cisco’s engagement in smart-city issues is championed by the Smart+Connected Communities (S+CC) initiative under the Cisco Industry Solutions group. Working closely with the Internet of Things group, the Services Platform Group and other departments within Cisco, S+CC is developing a growing portfolio of city-oriented solutions

These solutions provided by intelligent buildings could give a boost to a building owner’s return on investment while providing occupants with an intelligent work and home environment Smart buildings are set to adapt to the way people live. They have control of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting, learning the schedules of those who operate these systems in order to optimize comfort.

Early adapters of smart building technology are embarking on a journey that will lead to increased economic benefits, sustainability, and positive occupant experience outcomes. This is equivalent to incremental change driven by simplistic short-term returns. Crossing the chasm into a truly intelligent built environment will require a roadmap, supported by not only facility managers but also, real estate developers, and all key influencers in the digital transformation of real estate. The future of intelligent buildings is experiential — and real estate developers who embrace the intelligent building roadmap process will gain a competitive advantage.

Olakunle Oloruntimehin

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