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With Wired Certification, Toronto Tenants Now Have A Standard For Connectivity

Wired Certification has arrived in Toronto, bringing with it some standard assurance for tenants who seek internet connectivity as a top amenity.

Twelve of the city's buildings are already certified through the global connectivity ratings system.

“Connectivity is the lifeblood of modern business. A city needs connectivity in its offices or it’s going to lose out,” WiredScore CEO and founder Arie Barendrecht said at the company’s official Toronto launch. 

WiredScore Wired Certification Arie Barendrecht
WiredScore CEO and founder Arie Barendrecht speaks at the Toronto launch of Wired Certification.

“As a society, we’re likely sitting at the very edge of what appears to be an exponential increase in the pace of innovation — innovation that is greater than anything we’ve seen before," he said. "Every time there’s innovation like this, there’s a disruption of the status quo. People have to keep up with the innovation or risk being left behind.”

And that is where WiredScore comes in.

More than 1,000 buildings worldwide, representing 4 million workers, have received Wired Certification since the company launched in 2013. Certification means a building measures up to the level of connectivity and reliability WiredScore has found we is necessary for the modern business to operate successfully.

Once awarded, a building can use the certification when marketing to potential tenants. 

Barendrecht said the certification assures tenants that the building they are leasing has — among other things — internet connectivity, speed and reliability. Call it tech peace of mind.  

“Every tenant today is a tech tenant. Every business today has to use the internet. It’s the oxygen we breathe,” WiredScore North American Director of Business Development Phil Kanfer said.

“If we [the landlords] are going to attract the tenants, we are going to have to up our games. Competition is really good if it makes everyone better."

On a basic level, the certification also functions as an appealing added amenity for potential tenants. One building might have a gym, but the other has internet you can rely on.

“The certificate provides the difference between certainty and the unknown. The certification removes the question mark,” Barendrecht said. “And people are willing to pay a good price for that. It’s simply good business.”

TD Centre WiredScore David Hoffman
The 50-year-old TD Centre has received Wired Certification.

The 12 Toronto buildings that have received Wired Certification include high-profile names like Scotia Plaza, the TD Centre (six buildings), 1 York and the 81 Bay St. development at CIBC Square. Also on board are 76 Stafford, 4711 Yonge and 3500 Steeles.

“Tech is changing the way we actually perform work. We are moving to a much more flexible environment,” TD Centre General Manager David Hoffman said during a panel discussion following the launch. 

“[Tenants] are looking for a better quality of fit with their landlords," he said. "It’s no longer just about price anymore. They’re looking for buildings and managers that are embracing their businesses, responsive to their needs. But, most importantly, they are looking for infrastructure that is reliable and resilient.”

Ivanhoé Cambridge Senior Director of Office Leasing Charlie Musgrave said tech issues have been a priority in the development of Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines’ 81 Bay from the start. 

“From a leasing perspective, technology really does inform our leasing strategy,” he said. 

Beyond tech, Musgrave said 81 Bay tenants like CIBC and BCG were attracted by the project’s people-first design that emphasized high ceilings, wide stairwells, a tenant gym and outdoor green space. The building’s connectivity will also have the effect of creating a less rigid workspace, where workers can feel free to do their jobs at several locations.

“We are really pushing the boundaries of collaborative space,” he said. 

WiredScore downtown Toronto CIBC Square TD Centre
Following WiredScore's Toronto launch, a panel discussed the current state of the office market. Here are moderator William Newton of WiredScore, Avison Young's Amy Erixon, Uber's Elizabeth Callahan, Ivanhoé Cambridge's Charlie Musgrave, Cadillac Fairview's David Hoffman and WiredScore's Phil Kanfer.

Kanfer said what used to be considered added frills for buildings are now viewed as necessities when businesses are searching for a new home.

“Connectivity used to be seen as an amenity, now it’s a utility,” he said. “And if you don’t have a gym, you don’t get a tour.”  

Hoffman said tech is not only changing the nature of employment, it is also signaling a fundamental shift in the relationship of landlord and tenant. 

“Landlords are changing from rent collectors to service providers,” he said.

To learn more about what is driving office in Toronto, join us at Bisnow's Toronto Workplace of the Future event Nov. 14 at Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel.