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The Impact Of Infrastructure: Designing A More Connected Space


When food and hospitality giant Delaware North decided to relocate its global HQ, the Buffalo, New York-based company required a space that would meet its employees’ demand for mobility and connectivity. Delaware North decided on a 12-story, 300K SF mixed-use development in downtown Buffalo that would offer uninterrupted and untethered digital capabilities. 

Like many corporate office tenants, Delaware North realized office design is about more than just aesthetics. Connectivity is a No. 1 priority for tenants, and the need for speed continues to grow. Global internet traffic is expected to more than triple by 2021, according to a Cisco report.

Mission-critical applications inside buildings supported by information technology infrastructure have increased significantly in recent years. IP-based SaaS systems deployed in the last 15 years have surpassed the rudimentary property management, building automation, accounting and telecommunications services implemented in the late 20th century in both amount and complexity. As buildings become smarter and more connected, they are providing enhanced solutions that enable a collaboration between applications, services and devices. These solutions provide future-ready connectivity and support multiple forms of technology across a simplified infrastructure. As digital demand increases, these enhancements are beginning to play a critical role in how corporate tenants design their office spaces. 

"The acronym CRE means 'commercial real estate,' but it may as well mean connected real estate," Corning Vice President of Market Development John Dulin said. "Network infrastructure is effectively a fourth utility, just as important as electrical wiring, plumbing and heating/cooling systems." 

There are several design elements that may impact a building’s level of connectivity. When tenants are shopping around for an office space, it is important to determine whether a building has the infrastructure to support advanced communications and mobility. 


Space allocation inside a building is critical to creating a connected office. A tenant might want to add or upgrade network applications, but may not have the space to accommodate an upgrade. Flexible spaces support the installation of new technology because they provide an opportunity for things to move around. This is particularly valuable for a corporate tenant that plans to grow its team and needs a space that can accommodate increased demand.

When a tenant decides to implement integrated solutions, it needs to ensure its office space has the infrastructure to support these advanced connectivity solutions. This might include making sure there is fiber availability and pathways for cable installation throughout the building. Understanding the size and density of the building can help tenants determine what type of solution makes the most sense for a given space.  

In today’s buildings, developers and architects are beginning to think about how specific designs will impact access to integrated technology and connectivity solutions. Network capability is no longer an afterthought. Offices are seeing increased demand for big data, and smart building infrastructure is the new normal. Developers are prepared to tackle a digitally focused future.

This story is Part 1 of a larger series that explores the future of connectivity in the built environment. 

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