-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City
Connectivity is not everything; it's the only thing. Whether you’re on-the-go, at home or sitting in your office, employees want to be available 24/7. As connectivity becomes increasingly more critical to productivity in today’s marketplace, companies seeking to position themselves in the forefront of their industry want the best work space with the utmost connectivity. Enter WiredScore, an internet connectivity certification program that rates buildings on their ability to provide internet for their tenants. With a common rating system applicable to any office building in any location, companies can now choose their building based on the 21st century’s most critical requirement.
“Buildings in emerging business hubs are often far from in-street fiber-optic infrastructure and have to find ways to provide world-class internet connectivity in order to compete," said Arie Barendrect, CEO of WiredScore. "As such, we have seen more demand for fixed wireless internet capability over the past several years. All of this change has spurred the need for a simple and easy-to-understand system for business leaders to evaluate potential office space. WiredScore seeks to be the global standard for connectivity in order to help businesses around the world solve meet this challenge.”
Originally started in New York City by Mayor Bloomberg and the New York City Economic Development Corporation, WiredScore is a certification program that qualifies buildings based on the speed and reliability of their internet connections. Wired Certification provides accurate and quickly-referenced internet accessibility ratings attractive to tenants and landlords alike. WiredScore boasts four distinct levels of certification, the optimal being Wired Certified Platinum, followed by Wired Certified Gold, Wired Certified Silver and Wired Certified.
WiredScore is a dynamic and robust qualification system that considers a variety of factors, including number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) available, speed of internet connections, cable points of entry and ease of carrier legal contracting, in order to generate each building’s specific certification level, if one is awarded.
Landlords, including SL Green, Brookfield, Beacon Capital, Equity Office, Hines and Jamestown, are embracing Wired Certifications to make their properties more attractive to tenants. Companies are reliant on their internet connectivity for both voice and data and can only lease office space with highly-dependable internet access; a lapse in connectivity for even just a few hours can cost firms thousands of dollars. Unwilling to take that risk, tenants need to know that their work space will meet their connectivity requirements and support their operations before inhabiting the space. While tenants of yesteryear often fell victim to occupying buildings with inadequate bandwidth that stunted potential growth, tenants today can use Wired Certifications to verify the capacities of a space before signing a lease, adding significant value to the landlord’s property.
As it stands today, only commercial office buildings are eligible for certification. This includes existing buildings as well as those in development or redevelopment. Building types include multi-tenant office buildings, single-tenant office buildings, corporate facilities, government buildings, medical office buildings and multi-use/mixed-use buildings. What started in the nation’s largest office market has quickly spread to other major markets, including San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Boston.
"As connectivity becomes more and more important across all industries, not only are we seeing the need for sophisticated technology grow, but we’re seeing this need in new places,” Barendrect added. “In New York City, the commercial center is expanding as leading companies increasingly move into traditionally industrial or residential areas like Long Island City or the Lower East Side."
In today’s commercial real estate environment, office tenants and landlords are increasingly data-driven. While LEED and WalkScore used to be meaningless descriptors, today they are ubiquitous when talking about sustainable buildings in pedestrian-friendly locations. WiredScore has the ability to become equally widespread. Given the commercial landlords that have already embraced the rating system and the technology tenants who are using it to evaluate their locations, it is possible that WiredScore will become the most relevant rating of all.
Ben Sayles is a director in the Boston office of HFF with more than 15 years of experience in commercial real estate. He is primarily responsible for investment sales transactions focusing on office, multi-housing and retail properties.
A graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, Mr. Sayles is the Director of the Commercial Brokers Association and an Executive Committee member of NAIOP Massachusetts. Additionally, he is active in several other notable commercial real estate professional groups, including Urban Land Institute and International Council of Shopping Centers.