Property Australia

Tick, tock, tech: Time to embrace digital


The race is on to improve connectivity, as corporate tenants seek better amenities and the latest technology solutions, finds JLL’s new national report.

End-of-trip facilities and meditation spaces, concierges and dry cleaning may have set new benchmarks for office amenity, but they are increasingly the norm in premium office buildings.

This leaves landlords having to work harder to retain good tenants, JLL’s Tenant Trends report finds.

“It takes more than a ping-pong table to impress tenants these days,” says JLL’s director of tenant representation in Victoria, Kate Pilgrim.

“Landlords are having to think more broadly about what amenities are perceived as enablers of a more efficient and happier workforce.”

According to JLL research, 34 per cent of real estate leaders nominate technology as the item attracting the biggest increase in budget allocation over the next 12 months.

Building owners in the hunt for high-quality tenants are responding with the “next generation of tech-based initiatives,” Pilgrim explains.

“The demand for data from consumers, cloud-based services and smart-building Internet of Things devices is increasing exponentially. I don’t really see this slowing down.”

More than six million people across Europe, the US and Canada now work in buildings certified by WiredScore, a rating scheme that verifies landlords’ investment in technology.

In September, Lendlease signed on as WiredScore’s first Australian client, assessing 14 buildings for infrastructure, electrical resiliency, wireless capability, as well as ease and reliability of connectivity.

A recent YouGov Galaxy survey commissioned by Lendlease found that more than 80 per cent of Australian office workers have experienced connectivity problems, and 98 per cent said digital connectivity supported productivity.

Pilgrim says the challenge for landlords was to integrate technology into office design. JLL’s report points to Charter Hall’s new GPO Exchange building in Adelaide, which replaces swipe cards with smart phone access, as a successful case study.

Building apps also provide convenience and personalisation, as well as real time data to help landlords customise the workplace, the report finds.

Technology does not come at the expense of service. A concierge makes dinner reservations at ISPT’s Central Plaza building in Brisbane, for instance, while a justice of the peace is on hand to help workers at Lendlease’s International Towers in Sydney.

“As long as buildings have a strong fibre optic backbone, landlords and tenants can implement whatever technologies deliver the best value and the best experience at the time,” Pilgrim adds.

Download JLL’s Tenant Trends report.