From ordering concessions and team wear in stadiums to making reservations after the game at nearby restaurants, DAS and Wi-Fi have become integral to marketing efforts to fans, concertgoers and shopping center roamers, James Carlini, president and certified infrastructure consultant, Carlini & Associates, told an audience at the Building Industry Consulting Service International’s Winter Conference & Exhibition, Jan. 22, in Tampa, Fla.
“We are moving from single-venue opportunities to multi-venue opportunities. For example, if I had a retail center, an entertainment complex and a convention center all in the same area. Instead of putting together a master contract for each one, you put it together under one intelligent retail, entertainment and convention center complex,” Carlini told DAS Bulletin.
Carlini discussed some of the mobile technology that is feeding the integration of smart phones with retail, such as near-field communication chips that making handsets into so-called mobile wallets and the need for a new network to support those capabilities. Keeping up with technology is not always easy, however.
“Almost all of the facilities built to this date are already technologically obsolete because they used coaxial cable, instead of fiber. Now they will have to back in re-wire everything and disrupt the venues’ operations,” Carlini said.
Using a multi-venue operation, according to Carlini, allows everyone who enters one of the facilities to be cross-marketed by the other venues through ads and coupons sent to their smart phones.
“I call it the virtual-resort effect, where you get a consumer to spend more money in your area rather than drive down the street and spend it. Capturing the lost customer. It’s huge,” Carlini said.
Broadband Connectivity in Business Parks is an ‘Intelligent Amenity’
Telecommunications networks and power infrastructure used to be an afterthought when it came to master planning new business development, Carlini said.
“For example, if I was planning to build a business park, I would wait until I got my corporate tenants in to really decide what to do from a power and network infrastructure standpoint,” he said. “That is not the case anymore. Today, you have to have those issues taken care of upfront.”
In the last couple of years, broadband connectivity has jumped into the top three criteria of corporate site selection committees, Carlini said.
“Most corporate site selection committees are looking for power and network infrastructure when choosing a business park to place a corporate facility,” he said. “Broadband connectivity and redundant power supplies equal intelligent amenities, which equal economic development.”
Carlini was involved in the planning of the Dupage Business Center (formerly the National Technology Park), an 800-acre business park outside of Chicago. Completed in 2005, the business park is home to a division of Pella windows and the Cyber Continuity Center, a 60,000-square-foot, Tier III data center, which demands a high level of both telecom and power infrastructure.
The business park example of how real estate developments need to be designed and built, Carlini said. It was master planned to provide value-added amenities and a fiber-optic based network infrastructure in order to support businesses that are dependent on high-speed access, as well as other non-traditional amenities.
Even a business park that was engineered for high technology must hustle to keep up with the times. The wireless requirements set in 2005 at the Dupage park were to bring in more than on carrier, providing only 40 gigabits per second.
“That’s pretty sad for a business park. They are moving ahead to try to up that speed to 100 gigabits per second,” Carlini said. “The real estate industry, in many cases, is even further behind the tech curve by 30 to 40 years, however; and you still have to convince them that it is a competitive advantage to put broadband connectivity in place.”
One of the answers is government support of the broadband infrastructure, according to Carlini. The telecom infrastructure for the [Dupage] business park was paid for by a consortium of the carriers and grants from the state and federal governments.
“[Grant funding for telecom] has to happen more and more. The government has to realize that broadband connectivity equals economic development and more jobs,” Carlini said.