Backbone Connect has flown past its target to provide digital connectivity for 100 buildings over the past 12 months, as appetite from commercial office owners and asset managers grows for its digital infrastructure services.
Peter Bell, head of sales at Backbone Connect, comments: “We’ve experienced a real step change in the market and a willingness from landlords to invest strategically in connectivity that just wasn’t there before. Digital infrastructure for offices wasn’t traditionally viewed as the landlord’s responsibility but it’s becoming more and more important in tenants’ decision making, especially as the pandemic has reshaped ways of working and accelerated digital trends. Landlords are recognising that it has to be a fundamental part of their offer to compete in the post-Covid marketplace.”
High quality and robust digital infrastructure is needed to support hybrid working, with the use of software such as Zoom and Teams, for example, putting pressure on buildings’ internet bandwidth. Backbone Connect has seen appetite for its services across the UK, including in regional office hubs such as Leeds, Manchester and Leicester as well as strong demand in London. Clients include Schroders, Legal & General and Aberdeen Standard Investments.
He adds: “Whether a building has the right technology actually matters more to some prospective tenants than price or even location – a fact borne out by our recent research study. Landlords are investing as part of wider refurbishment projects to bring assets in line with this market demand, but we’re also noting some building owners taking a more proactive approach, putting digital infrastructure in place as part of a new, more partnership-style model of leasing.
Peter highlights that building technology is increasingly important for supporting emerging corporate drivers like employee wellbeing and net zero. He continues: “Better tech has a key role to play in supporting business’ commitments around employee wellbeing and environmental action, by driving smart building monitoring systems for example. Landlords are facing many new corporate pressures and are seeing that if they can help address tenants’ challenges, then they’ll be in a strong position to secure leases.
“The emphasis is on future proofing buildings. It used to be the case that landlords who invested in connectivity were ahead of the curve – now if you don't do it, you’ll be left behind. It is quickly becoming the standard for the UK offices market.”