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Attracting Next-Gen Tech Tenants: How Millennials and Smart Workplaces are Reshaping Commercial Real Estate – COMBA

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Digital connectivity will play a significant role in attracting technology tenants as more enterprises demand frictionless, agile and digitally empowered workplaces to meet the growing demands of a tech-savvy millennial workforce.

digital workplace

Many building owners are looking to companies such as Comba Telecom, Inc. that offer a wide range of wireless solutions that fit the growing demand and trends in an evolving technology-based world.

Comba Telecom, Inc. is a subsidiary of a global-leading telecommunications solutions company that has its North America headquarters based in Milpitas, California.

Delivering innovative wireless equipment to support in-building wireless connectivity through Bi-Directional Amplifiers (BDAs) or Fiber DAS systems that serve the needs of both commercial and public sectors, Comba offers a competitive and cost-effective solution. With high-quality and excellent customer service, building owners will have a smooth process from start to finish utilizing Comba products.

TECH COMPANIES ARE CRE’S BEST TENANT

According to research by Cushman & Wakefield, tech companies have accounted for 42% of the square footage in the top 100 leases in North America, double the percentage taken by the financial industry in the past two years. Tech industry tenants have become key drivers in the rise of commercial office rents.

The average cost-per-square-foot for office space leased to tech companies in the top 25 cities increased by 59% between 2000 and 2018, rising to an average of $316 from $199 per square foot. Fifteen of the top 20 markets for new construction are tech markets, which suggests that there is a significant relationship between industry demand and new office space.

The boost in commercial leasing from tech firms is not only taking place in dense urban tech hubs, but coast to coast.

Smaller secondary and emerging markets are becoming more attractive to startups and big tech firms due to the lower cost of living and the increasing availability of a talented workforce.

“Although we expect established markets like Silicon Valley to see continued investment, new tech hubs are emerging across North America, from Provo to Philadelphia, sustaining a period of tech-driven, economic growth unseen since the dot-com boom of the late 1990s,” stated Ken McCarthy, Principal Economist and Applied Research Lead at Cushman & Wakefield.

digital workplace

The migration of startups from San Francisco and Silicon Valley to other talent- rich locations such as Denver, Austin and Atlanta is creating opportunities for landlords and owners to access higher profitability from technology tenants nationwide. For the landlords keen on capturing fast-growing technology tenants, addressing the values and habits of the tech employees — particularly millennials — is critical.

ENABLING ENHANCED USER EXPERIENCES THROUGH FRICTIONLESS WORKPLACES

Technology firms are demanding frictionless workplaces, designed for occupant comfort, workplace productivity and ubiquitous connectivity. As more building owners compete for tenants, landlords who can deliver a superior “user experience” will attract and retain tech tenants.

Landlords who can provide better access control, occupancy and space planning and eliminate pain points or lows in the tenant’s journey by streamlining the leasing and move-in process will attract tech tenants. Property improvements such as eliminating turnstiles, long lines, full optical fiber cabling, and optimizing the initial leasing documentation and the tenant move-in process can be ways of removing friction.

Technology companies often consistently embroiled in a competitive race for talent are demanding workspaces that enhance workplace satisfaction and productivity to gain the most value from their millennial workforce. To this end, more tech tenants are seeking buildings equipped with IoT sensors, which offer users the ability to set temperature controls and preferences, improve air quality and that are outfitted with green spaces in common areas, lobbies and workspaces to promote collaboration and comfort.

Tech companies are attracted to buildings that can support fiber optic links, plug-and-play workstations, screens for work sharing and high-speed wi-fi to allow employees to seamlessly interact throughout a facility, including smartphone access in elevators and parking lots.

UBIQUITOUS CONNECTIVITY UNLOCKS VALUE FOR TECH TENANTS

Not surprisingly, the key to providing most, if not all, of these services, lies in the provision of universal connectivity. Ubiquitous connectivity not only enables millennial workers to collaborate in different parts of an office, but it also is critical to the proper functioning of real-time occupancy and space planning, access control and video conferencing tools.

According to a recent study by internet rating firm WiredScore, 95% of office workers in Atlanta stated that access to reliable internet is critical, with 90% of workers indicating that their companies should prioritize access to reliable internet connectivity when selecting office space. More than 75% of employees stated that they would encourage their company to find a location with better, more reliable internet connectivity during leasing decisions.

Connectivity is only one part of the puzzle. The next step for building owners to figure out is how to ensure the connection is stable, and can also be concurrently used by multiple tenants. Comba Telecom offers flexible and scalable cellular coverage for indoor and outdoor coverage with their ComFlex™ DAS lineup aimed for enterprise customers from small to large businesses, including office buildings, shops, stadiums and more.

The signal source for the system can either be onsite (Small Cells or Base Stations) or on “off-air” feeds over-the-air RF signals — in either case, the system will provide extended support for both coverage and capacity.

Comba recently added 600MHz, 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz frequency modules to its ComFlex™ DAS, allowing support for all major wireless operators in North America. With its multi-band and multi-operator distributed antenna system, Comba solutions offer an enterprise-level quality at a fraction of the cost compared to other competitors.

LOW-COST TECH BUILD-OUTS OFFSET SPENDING ON DIGITAL SOLUTIONS

One key advantage for outfitting a property for tech tenants are the significant savings in build-outs and hard costs that offer landlords the opportunity to spend more on digital connectivity and smart building solutions.

“According to a recent study by internet rating firm WiredScore, 95% of office workers in Atlanta stated that access to reliable internet is critical, with 90% of workers indicating that their companies should prioritize access to reliable internet connectivity when selecting office space. More than 75% of employees stated that they would encourage their company to find a location with better, more reliable internet connectivity during leasing decisions.”

According to a recent report by commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated (JLL), the tech office costs 15% less than a traditional office space to build out and hard costs and materials are 21% lower in tech fit-out budgets compared to conventional offices.

Traditional workspaces generally have a higher density of private offices while tech offices minimize the individual office count in favor of common areas, quiet spaces and meeting rooms.

Open offices, often preferred by tech tenants, significantly reduce the amount of physical materials needed to be purchased and installed, resulting in an average savings of nearly $20 per square foot, according to JLL.

These savings can offset increased spend on audio/visual and technology amenities such as equipment projectors, smart TVs, video conferencing and a robust digital infrastructure demanded by an increasingly tech-savvy workforce.

Building owners can save even more by using equipment from an OEM that is budget-conscious for their telecommunications equipment. With R&D and manufacturing services based in China, Comba Telecom combines a low cost of manufacturing, with years of telecommunications hardware and software R&D experience — resulting in a product line that is high in performance, high in reliability and ease of use, and has an overall small footprint for all of its products at extremely competitive prices. In a typical deployment, DAS systems that require more time to commission will result in higher overall project costs.

To alleviate this burden, Comba has dedicated technical support resources to provide excellent technical and customer services that allow DAS systems integrators to offer fast, smooth deployments.

Technology tenants are among the first adopters of digital workplace solutions such as video conferencing, augmented reality and 3D applications. These applications require a fast, high bandwidth and reliable wireless network to deliver a high quality of experience to the consumers.

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