Investment decisions in buildings are typically seen by developers through two different lenses: capital expenditures (capex) which go toward maintaining assets, or operating expenditures (opex), which go toward maintaining asset value. Today, decisions to acquire, install, and operate smart building technology carry both risk — will it be too hard to operate or be obsolete quickly? — and increasing rewards. And as requirements for workspaces continue to change, often dramatically, new opportunities are emerging that point to different roles and potential partnerships between developers and tenants.
Jay Wratten, senior director at diversified professional services firm WSP, will present a talk titled "Beyond Occupancy — Risk Management and Revenue Streams" at LightSPEC West in Los Angeles on Sept. 22, in which he will explore investment in smart buildings from the perspective of building owners and operators. He’ll show how smart, integrated building systems not only decrease opex by enabling things like predictive maintenance and energy efficiency but can provide operating revenue from increasingly valuable data streams and analytics. He’ll also explore how becoming more involved in building systems integration and data architecture is an increasingly important collaborative scope for systems engineers, IT professionals, and lighting designers.
In a recent podcast, Wratten also talks about emerging business models for developers in providing shared amenities and experiences for tenants, such as “third spaces” like rooftop gardens, coffee houses, or gyms, where tenants from different businesses can socialize and benefit from chance encounters — one of the main drivers to return to physical workplaces among certain employee cohorts. He also discusses how both building owners and tenants can consider information-as-a-service business models, where data about building use and performance can be processed and analyzed, thus becoming more valuable and sold to interested parties to provide valuable revenue streams. This is not yet widespread practice but may become so in the future.
Wratten is also a panelist in a LightSPEC West panel session that I am moderating, titled "IEQ, Real Estate Asset Value, Health, and Productivity," where we will be covering many of these issues in detail.
If you’re in Southern California or plan to be in the third week of September, make a point of checking out this excellent conference!
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In addition to his role as program director for LightSPEC West conferences, CLIFTON STANLEY LEMON is a contributor to LEDs Magazine and CEO of Clifton Lemon Associates, a consultancy providing strategy, marketing, and education services to the lighting and energy industries.
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