How will 5G technology change commercial property?

By Gary Tasman

Do you remember your first mobile phone? Perhaps it was a 1980s car phone, a 1990s brick phone, or a flip phone from the early 2000s. Several generations of mobile technology preceded today’s smart devices, and each advancement in tech followed a revolution in how mobile networks operate.

Today, we’re on the cusp of another revolution: 5G. Simply put, 5G is the 5 th Generation of mobile networking technology. Over just a few short decades, wireless tech has evolved from basic analog audio to the incorporation of digital voice, texting, web access, and mobile streaming. 5G is poised to bring innumerate improvements to mobile networking—many of which have yet to be invented. 5G won’t just change the way we use our phones and mobile devices. This new technology promises to change our workplaces, as well as the way we design, market, and monetize commercial property.

While it may seem like we’ve been hearing predictions about 5G for years, the first 5G-enabled iPhone just hit the market in October 2020. Currently 60 major cities in the U.S. have 5G Ultra Wideband access, which offers ultra-fast networking speeds. These cities include Miami, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Tampa. Many other areas, like parts of Southwest Florida, offer 5G Nationwide access, which is closer in speed to 4G and promises to improve. But the number of locations with Ultra Wideband is also expanding, meaning more potential for all of us to experience the immersive networking experiences that 5G boasts.

The 5G revolution comes at a perfect time. More Americans than ever are working remotely and discovering both the potential of remote work as well as the challenges it presents. We’ve become accustomed to video conferencing with anyone at any time, and to working untethered from our desks on multiple devices. For those who will remain working from home or other off-site locations, 5G allows for faster streaming, less latency, and higher quality video.

For the majority of people who will eventually return to the office, private 5G networks will permit employees the opportunity to work free of cables and bulky devices. Rather than being limited to working in certain areas that have network access ports or a strong wireless signal, staffers will be able to meet on the fly, seamlessly access real-time data from any device, and connect to network-enabled monitors, projectors, computers, and other devices with ease. With unlimited access to bandwidth and data, video conferencing and cloud-based collaboration will remain commonplace, and mobile apps will become even more powerful and interactive.

As a result, close attention to 5G technology infrastructure will be key for builders and property owners when marketing their spaces.

“Landlords and investors are increasingly viewing 5G as a ‘must have’ versus a ‘nice to have’ amenity,” explained Rob Franch, Cushman & Wakefield’s Chief Technology Officer. “We’ve been advising our clients to make sure they have the technology infrastructure in place to be able to enable 5G, and recently we’ve gone a step further, helping tenants optimize their space for 5G as well.”

To ensure that property owners are prepared for the 5G revolution, Cushman & Wakefield is partnering with Verizon to help owners develop 5G strategies.

“With high-speed connected buildings in place, owners and investors could potentially be offering premium connectivity to tenants,” said Arvin Singh, Verizon managing director of connected solutions. “Smart building enhancements like security enhancements could also lead to new offerings. These are the types of things that could change the economics of the investments you make in a traditional building, really adding long-term value.”

5G infrastructure also provides additional opportunities for property owners to monetize wireless technology expansion by leasing rooftops of their buildings and other structures for small cell towers. 5G relies not only on existing cell towers but on a network of smaller towers to transmit high-spectrum, high-frequency signals. Partnerships between carriers and building owners will be critical for the success and expansion of 5G.

5G promises to change the way we access data and communicate with others, just as earlier technology like texting and video streaming has evolved. As a builder, property owner, investor or tenant, are you ready for this next generation of wireless technology? Our team of professionals at Cushman & Wakefield |Commercial Property Southwest Florida are prepared to help you make this transition. Our local data, insight, and experience, combined with Cushman & Wakefield’s expertise and strategic partnerships can help you prepare for the 5G revolution. Contact us for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation by calling 239-489-3600 or contact-us.

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