Dimension Data has joined forces with property developer, M&T Development, to make ICT facilities and services part of the standard construction infrastructure of an office park.
According to Dimension Data’s general manager for Special Projects, KC van Straaten, the partnership with M&T Development taps into two trends: the convergence of voice, data, and video onto a single Internet Protocol (IP) connectivity backbone and the digitising of building management services – enabling a convergence of property management and ICT facilities.
“In other words, we’re at a juncture in the evolution of both ICT and property management where it makes more sense to design and build in ICT infrastructure from inception – along with other fundamental tenant requirements such as roads, storm water drainage, electricity, and sanitation services – than to handle them separately.
“It also makes better business sense to integrate all the various categories of property management services – such as CCTV surveillance, access control and other security systems, audio visual and public address systems, digital signage, fire and life safety systems, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, escalators, lifts, and automation and energy management – onto a single connectivity platform rather than having separate systems for each.
“And, of course, most businesses these days want data centre facilities. Why waste property management resources on keeping them separate, communications-wise, from the rest of the connectivity infrastructure?”
M&T Development project leader, Francois van Rensburg, agrees. “By building ICT in, literally, from the ground up, office parks and precincts can be intelligent from the outset. Tenants will benefit from being able to switch on whatever ICT facilities they want as or before they move in – instead of having to have everything retro-fitted and connected up after they’ve taken possession of the office space.
“In addition, tenants need deal only with a single service provider, instead of having to get, say, their telephony services from one organisation, data centre services from another, and email and Internet facilities from a third.
“Also, built in ICT facilities mean that buildings don’t have to be altered after they’re completed to accommodate cables and equipment.”
Dimension Data will make an upfront investment in the core communications infrastructure at a new M&T Development office precinct, laying a fibre ring connecting all the buildings, to ensure tenant access to high bandwidth. Dimension Data will also provide a wireless mesh over the office park, to provide mobility for data and voice across the precinct.
“Essentially, we’ll be providing three different but related service options,” van Straaten says. “The first is a base, carrier-grade, network connectivity – and tenants will pay for usage.
“The second is access to advanced security, building, and energy management services. And the third is connection into all the services offered by Internet Solutions, another of Dimension Data’s companies. So, whether they want a PBX or hosted data centre facilities, they have simply to sign an agreement to have them switched on.”
“What we’re offering tenants is a highly intelligent building that is also green – because of the energy we save using a single digital connectivity platform – and a one stop shop of all the most sophisticated building management and ICT facilities they could possibly wish for,” van Rensburg says.
“In fact, we specifically chose to partner with Dimension Data on this convergence of ICT with property development because it offers the full range of ICT capabilities. More importantly, perhaps, Dimension Data was very willing to innovate in this way. And, because they operate at the cutting edge of technology, we can easily add new types of building management and ICT functionality as they come to market – further future-proofing organisations’ decision to take up tenancy in an intelligent office precinct.”