Grab the opportunity

Poised for a big return, this market will re-emerge strong with integration

"Safety and security are critical issues for potential tenants when considering where to rent/buy, with nearly half of tenants demanding security solutions."- Parks Associates 2008 MFE survey

Are you ready for the comeback in the commercial market?

According to research firm Emporis, there are some 300 million people living in high rises and about 20,000 buildings in the U.S. Those statistics alone should get you thinking about the potential for new or upgraded systems in the office and high-rise market.

Sure, the last few years have been depressed to say the least, in the office and high-rise vertical market. There's a glut of office space and many buildings stand vacant. New construction has been at a virtual standstill and only now is this market showing signs of life. Even in Las Vegas, the boom cranes that were working feverishly throughout the night in past years have swung to silence in the desert air.

Fast forward to the near future-because there will be opportunities. Across the board, these buildings and their property owners and managers need to attract the types of customers who want to stay. And the way they will remain is with amenities that help them work and manage their buildings better or allow them to offer potential clients more than the developer up the road. There's tons of competition between buildings vying for renters or, all the better, long-term leases. Security is an important must-have amenity for developers, property managers and real estate companies but that's really just one part of what an integrated systems solution can bring to the table in this market.

Wants and needs

These customers want an infrastructure, the network, they can use for all their services and that will grow with them. They want connectivity in the way of Wi-Fi or other high-speed broadband lines. They want to be able to have an intelligent building that's efficient and green in its impact on the environment. They have become increasingly aware of programs such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, administered by the U.S. Green Building Council and many new buildings will go this route. They want security, with easy access for visitors. They need elevator control with access technologies and emergency communications systems that can notify them of an emergency or other event-to computer, smart phone or other mobile device. They need perimeter protection in the way of video, analytics and even super-strong bollards and aesthetic barriers. They want to be able to have an integrated solution that brings intelligence and efficiency to their properties as well as a lower total cost of ownership.

The systems integrator who continues to act in a consultative manner-assessing the current security and automation in the building or what the owner is trying to accomplish-will build a relationship as the 'go to' person now and when they really get on the road to recovery.

But all these wants and needs don't necessarily translate to being able to spend lavishly. In fact, older buildings are being retrofitted with hybrid solutions that allow them to make the most of leveraging the network. Property owners of older buildings want to make do with what they have and deploy solutions that bring them closer to the technology they need, without the high price tags of a rip and replace specification. They don't want forklift upgrades, because they simply can't afford them.

Opportunity one: bring intelligence and efficiency to the workplace

Dennis Mason, president and chief operating officer of Kings III of America Inc. in Coppell, Texas, is a central station alarm association member who has carved an interesting and successful niche in providing emergency communications solutions and elevator control at offices, high rises and a host of other properties.

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