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What do office tenants and companies seeking new office space expect today?

High-speed internet and connectivity are high on the list, but not all office spaces are created equal when it comes to business-grade internet connectivity.

Tenants expect their building to be compatible with their company’s technological needs, which is why commercial real estate owners and developers need to provide workspaces that meet the ever-evolving digital needs of companies.

This is especially true in Toronto, which has experienced a 33% increase in its tech workforce from 2011 to 2016, according to a CBRE report. It’s not just new tech businesses that are going digital, financial services, life sciences and education are increasingly dependent on technology and the connectivity that powers it.

Wired Certification has officially launched in Toronto amid a radical digital transformation in a city recognized as the “Silicon Valley of the North” and a time when 99% of the GTA’s office workers said access to reliable internet is critical in a recent survey on the current state of Digital Connectivity in Toronto.

Arie Barendrecht, CEO and Founder of WiredScore

“Toronto is a global centre of innovation and technology that continues to expand with unprecedented growth including the financial services sector. Our City must use our advantage to attract and retain talent and to continuously improve our competitiveness which also means adopting global standards related to the innovation economy. Wired Certification will assist Toronto as it moves forward within the innovation economy,” says Councillor Michelle Holland, the Mayor’s Advocate for the Innovation Economy.

The biggest challenge for office owners and developers is how to communicate their connectivity capabilities so they can attract and keep tenants. The commercial real estate industry has adopted Wired Certification as the global standard to identify office buildings that offer the best-in-class connectivity infrastructure to keep their companies online.

Toronto’s most forward-thinking landlords and developers are committing to Wired Certification, the preeminent international platform developed by WiredScore that rates the connectivity and technological capacity of office buildings. The first Wired Certified office buildings in Toronto were announced at WiredScore’s Toronto launch event Oct. 26.

WiredScore has nine launch partners who have committed to Wired Certification for Toronto office properties: Cadillac Fairview, Hines, Menkes Developments, Ivanhoé Cambridge, Canderel, KingSett Capital, Alberta Investment Management Corporation, Bentall Kennedy, and Hullmark with more commercial landlords and developers signing up in the coming weeks.

Until now there has been little information available to Toronto’s commercial tenants about the quality of internet connectivity in office spaces. Landlords can now use Wired Certification to provide tenants with that critical data when evaluating office space. The WiredScore team also helps commercial owners understand and improve the digital capacity of their buildings and works with developers to design superior connectivity for new developments or renovated properties.

More than four million tenants in over 1,000 buildings globally trust Wired Certification as the benchmark for connectivity standards. Toronto is the first Canadian city where Wired Certification has launched, WiredScore plans to expand into additional Canadian markets in 2018.

“Poor planning, perceived financial burden, and a lack of understanding about how and why tenants leverage connectivity, often limits commercial real estate professionals from optimally catering to companies that demand technological infrastructure to match the sophistication of their essential day-to-day operations,” says Arie Barendrecht, CEO and founder of WiredScore.

“Addressing these challenges starts with standardizing how our industry approaches the building process: with a set of universal guidelines providing the simple infrastructural foresight needed to keep up with the rapid pace of technological advancement in the workplace, both now and in the future. This is why Toronto will benefit from Wired Certification,” he adds.

Companies seeking new office space should ask the following questions:

1. What are my telecom needs?

Leverage a trusted IT advisor to help you determine your company’s critical connectivity requirements. If your business’s lifeblood revolves around internet usage, you should be able to clearly communicate your speed, reliability and security requirements to your landlord or broker so they can best assess if a building has the tech infrastructure you need.

2. Which telecom providers and carriers are in the building?

Ask your broker or landlord what companies service their building. Look for buildings with a wide range of providers because this creates competition between them – which means better pricing and more services for you.

3. What services do these providers and carriers offer?

Although large providers might have connectivity to the building, because of the building’s infrastructure, the providers might not be able to offer their full range of services. If your company lives and breathes internet, your best bet is to look for buildings with fiber-based tech services. Because fiber is the latest technology available, it is a good indicator of how much the building can support your business connectivity needs.

4. Is my potential office space equipped for optimal service?

Even though fiber services might technically be “available” in the building, the office space you are leasing might not be equipped. Your building might say it offers fiber, but in some cases, the fiber cables may not be near your office. Look for buildings with a dedicated telecom closet in your space that has the fiber “pulled” into it already.

5. Is the landlord willing to bring new providers into the building?

If you’re business requires internet services like fiber that your building doesn’t offer, some landlords may be willing to work with your preferred internet provider to build fiber to the building. Ask your broker or landlord if the building is open to bringing in new providers to meet your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask for a specific provider as a negotiating point when securing your lease to make sure you have the internet services your business needs to function.

6. Is the building Wired Certified?

One way to streamline the process is to ask your landlord or broker if the building you’re considering is Wired Certified.  If the building isn’t Wired Certified, ask your landlord to get certified. Wired Certified buildings are best-in-class in connectivity so you can rest assured the building can support your internet-driven business.