An office space without fiber connectivity? Impossible.

Published on 27/07/2020 in Innovate

An office space without fiber connectivity? Impossible.

Connectivity is the second most important criterion for users of office spaces. Thanks to the WiredScore evaluation system, owners can improve and promote the connectivity of their property. Fiber plays an important role in this.

Fixed and mobile connectivity is a requirement of professional tenants. It is somewhat comparable to air conditioning. Twenty years ago, air conditioning was not a must in a building, but an additional option. Today, you could not imagine putting a building up for lease or leasing a building without air conditioning.

Essential connectivity

However, connectivity is a criterion that is still too often absent from real estate sector specifications, according to Frédéric Motta, managing director of the WiredScore certification system in France: “According to some studies, the rental value of buildings featuring, among other things, certified connectivity has an added value of up to 7% and half the amount of vacant space compared to uncertified buildings. Building connectivity has become a must.”

Connectivity should be provided as of the initial building plans. The objective is to offer future tenants the best possible experience from day one.

A new and necessary standard

In Belgium, optical fiber offers an immediate response to the growing demand for connectivity. Its deployment is structured, and the objective is to cover over half of the businesses in our economic fabric by 2025. “It must be noted that telecom operators are not necessarily contacted before renovation or construction of a building intended for professional use.

However, it is precisely during construction or renovation that the connectivity of the future represented by fiber must be taken into account. We want to reverse this trend thanks to, in particular, WiredScore, with an independent audit conducted in advance by SOCOTEC”, explains Laurent De Meutter, Director of Network Stakeholder Management at Proximus.

The WiredScore label

Originating in the United States in 2013, WiredScore manages an evaluation system for office buildings that allows the connectivity of property to be understood, improved and promoted. Frédéric Motta: “By using our reference system we analyze the connectivity infrastructure of the building, its capacity for resilience, and the availability of the facilities to the occupants.” Redundancy is also an essential criterion; optical fiber must follow two different paths to guarantee foolproof continuity.

Certification through co-creation

The WiredScore label has already proven itself in eight countries around the world. After the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Australia, the certification system has been launched in Belgium.

“Over 2600 buildings are certified worldwide, the equivalent of 60 million square meters and over 600 active customers. A very good potential virtual working group that allows us to develop our technical criteria as a function of real market demand, so we can put things into perspective and co-create efficiently,” explains Frédéric Motta.

The connectivity of buildings should be provided as of the initial building plans.

Frédéric Motta, managing director of WiredScore France

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SOCOTEC, active in certification

Preventing interruption is the objective of all the economic stakeholders, but also of the WiredScore label managed by SOCOTEC in Belgium. The independent consulting firm is active in 23 countries around the world and is represented by 8700 employees.

“Our engineers provide a comprehensive view of the building, unlike other project service providers who only analyze their own responsibilities in construction or renovation projects. We provide thorough technical expertise and we advise the parties, all the while taking the long-term view into account. The objective is to comply with the specifications of the contracting owner, but also of the building operator. The owner can ensure high-quality service and connectivity, while SOCOTEC verifies that it functions properly,” John Op de Beeck, Managing Director of SOCOTEC BELGIUM, specifies.

We provide thorough technical expertise and we advise the parties, all the while taking the long-term view into account.

John Op de Beeck, Managing Director of SOCOTEC BELGIUM

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Certification and support

According to Laurent De Meutter, some real estate developers think that the issue of connectivity is the tenant’s business. “Nothing could be further from the truth, and it is essential to provide for connectivity during construction or renovation of the building to facilitate its promotion and marketing. A building is leased more easily if connectivity is ensured. This trend has already been demonstrated internationally and is beginning to appear in Belgium.”

Toward proactive deployment of fiber

While WiredScore offers four levels of certification, Frédéric Motta emphasizes that an ongoing process of improvement is involved for real estate stakeholders. Over time, the sector’s objective is to go from reactive observation to proactive consideration, in collaboration with the telecom operators. “We're deploying a fiber network open to other operators. There are already over 14 partnership agreements in order to offer a longer-term view and better connectivity to customers and end users,” adds Laurent De Meutter.

Going with fiber means going for unlimited bandwidth and significantly reduced latency.

Laurent De Meutter, Director of Network Stakeholder Management at Proximus

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Fiber as key to the digital transformation

Along with wireless or copper wire technologies, fiber represents one of the key factors in the success of the digital transformation in the real estate sector. “Going with fiber means going for unlimited bandwidth and significantly reduced latency. It is easy to understand the importance of this choice in relation to the growth of Cloud solutions, for example,” states Laurent De Meutter of Proximus.

Do you want to connect your office building to optical fiber?

Contact Natasa Simovic, Journey Manager at Proximus.

Do you want to certify your building with WiredScore?

Contact John Op de Beeck, Managing Director of SOCOTEC BELGIUM.

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