Bundling WiFi connectivity is a commercial and industrial property value-proposition, which attracts potential buyers and boosts property value, says wireless networking company Ruckus Networks.
“South African property developers are proving to be enthusiastic WiFi adopters because the availability of WiFi is not only boosting property values but also helping with quicker sales and rentals,” says Ruckus Networks sub-Saharan Africa sales director Riaan Graham.
He notes that WiFi connectivity in commercial properties will increase the demand for such properties because many people would want to live in the residential estates or suburbs where connectivity is easily accessible.
Graham adds that, as connectivity is becoming a cornerstone of the economy, technology and, more specifically WiFi, is playing an integral role in providing access. “Access across businesses, homes, schools, warehouses, stadiums and retail establishments is now at the heart of building and infrastructure development; therefore, WiFi is becoming a fundamental property utility similar to water and electricity.”
Developments, such as malls, complexes and multiuse dwelling properties, are ensuring that their development plans incorporate WiFi from the start, he says. Including WiFi in the planning stages is an advantage for developers because “there would be no after-purchase capital cost or additional investment required to get the property connected”
With more citizens working from home or remotely, connectivity is critical – and if it comes with the home upfront, even better, he points out. Graham further notes that Millennials are increasingly entering the property market and subsequently transforming demand for technology-orientated facilities to suit their increasingly connected lifestyles.
Ruckus Networks is engaging with property developers at early stages to advise them on including WiFi in their developments for business and property complexes for future tenants. “Currently, information and communication technology services are available at office parks, residential estates and gated communities for tenants before they move in – everything is operational and ready to work.”
“All property owners and tenants now expect functional and reliable Internet connection, caused by the advent of streaming services, such as the entertainment platform Black and media services providers like Netflix.”
WiFi in business properties enables owners to be more productive, which leads to more revenue for business, while people in residential areas feel more secure because security cameras can be connected to the WiFi infrastructure within their estates, adds Graham.
“For instance, if you provide indoor and outdoor WiFi for a gated community, it is much easier to have a residence forum, as all the tenants are connected, providing them with an easy communication model to get news bulletins and stay informed about current events in the community.”
Meanwhile, Graham says smart cities are at different stages of development depending on which council is managing it or in which metropolitan area it is situated, and there is still a long way to go. “However, if you have a look at the Cape Town and Tshwane metros, they have started deploying technology that will allow for Internet of Things (IoT) services to assist with traffic flow and management.”
He believes that smart cities will ensure that municipalities use IoT to increase operational efficiency, share information with the public and improve the quality of government services and citizen welfare.
However, developing smart cities is costly because of the utilisation of smart technologies for traffic routing, parking, infrastructure planning and transportation. “If the local departments and industry work together and share information, South Africa may see a growing trend of smart cities,” concludes Graham.