WiredScore founder Arie Barendrecht and William Newton, Director, EMEA
Business & Finance met with WiredScore to discuss their certification for the speed and reliability of internet connections in office buildings
Office building in Dublin is in full swing, and demand for premium space is set to grow post-Brexit. In the first quarter of this year alone demand was up 11% on 2016 figures, with close to 550,000 sq ft across a total of 40 deals taken up in Dublin alone, according to property advisory firm JLL. It’s the ideal climate for the launch of WiredScore in Ireland. The connectivity certification company, originally established in New York in 2013, rates office buildings for the speed and reliability of their internet connections.
Business & Finance met with William Newton, Director, EMEA and Tom Redmayne, Director of Business Development for UK & Ireland, to discuss the importance of connectivity certification and development of WiredScore since it launced in the UK in 2015. They opened for business in Paris earlier this year, and the Dublin launch last night saw a first for the company, with 11 clients already signed up and certified across 40 developments, representing 2.75 million sq ft of office space. To put that in perspective, these impressive figures include over 22% of the current commercial development pipeline in Dublin.
Irish clients who have already signed up for a digital connectivity certification rating include Blackstone, Castlepark, Clancourt, Green REIT, Hibernia REIT, Hines, IPUT, Irish Life, McGarrell Reilly Group, Ronan Group and U+I.
Newton, a former policy advisor at Downing Street, told Business & Finance, “We’ve been really excited to work with Dublin’s leaders in digital connectivity, amazing landlords who really care about what their tenants need now and what they’ll need in the future.”
“It’s really interesting to see the landlords who genuinely understand that buildings are changing,” said Redmayne. “They are no longer just illiquid assets; buildings are now a service to tenants and in order to provide that service you need to turn your buildings into platforms that are inherently relevant, flexible and aspirational, not just for today, but also for five, ten, fifteen years down the line. Having the digital infrastructure in place is really the platform that you build all the rest of it on.”
Newton revealed that they will be launching in Germany and Canada later in this year also, while Redmayne cited three reasons for expansion in Ireland first: “The demand we had from the market; we got such a strong reaction from landlords, engineers and agents. We saw that there was a real appetite and it was confirmed that both landlords and tenants really care about this here, and put a lot of time and effort into ensuring that they can build best in class infrastructures and particularly trying to attract global tenants coming in. Clearly the language and proximity to the UK are helpful but for us the fundamental driver was that this is a market that really cares about this and would embrace it.”
The Chairman at Savills Ireland Roland O’Connell stated “I am delighted that WiredScore are launching in Ireland. We have increasingly found, as agents, that tenants and landlords are placing an ever-growing emphasis on connectivity. With WiredScore’s stamp of approval we will be able to identify and tell which buildings will give access to world class connectivity. We are confident that the Wired Certification will help Ireland continue to be an attractive place for businesses to grow and develop.”
The uptake of their certification, even prior to officially launching here, underlines the importance of connectivity to the modern workplace. Research commissioned by WiredScore found that connectivity issues are common in Ireland with 85% of office workers reporting incidents of connectivity failure, and resultant stress when on tight deadlines. In addition, 1 in 10 workers surveyed experience connectivity issues at work every day.
As a global tech hub, connected offices are crucial to Dublin, and Ireland’s competitiveness and attractiveness. And not just for technology companies – 79% of employees surveyed by WiredScore said a reliable internet connection is essential to their company and their work.
Apart from the obvious business benefits of excellent connectivity, meeting rigorous standards makes a property inherently more attractive when it comes to closing a deal. Redmayne shares an anecdote from a UK landlord who worked out that if they got a deal done two-thirds of a day quicker, it enabled them to cover all the costs involved, so improvements on streamlining the process were extrememly valuable. “We’re beginning to do quite a lot of work on the valuation side,” he revealed, “which is something we are really going to be focusing on over the next couple of years with some of the major agencies, looking at how you can impact on rents.”
“I think one of the really exciting things for us is working with clients with multiple buildings,” Newton concluded, “having done an initial couple of buildings and then seen the benefit and come back and certified another 20 buildings. It’s a really exciting evolution to show the adoption in the market and the benefit landlords get out of it.”