Does real-estate development drive the demand for data communications?  Recently in discussion with a major developer of data center space the question of what truly creates demand for data infrastructure became a hot topic.

From the perspective of the developer, they create the demand. They should therefore own the design, delivery and revenue. Without their spark, so to speak, there would be no base for demand to grow upon.

From the governmental perspective, data centers are a basic element of the economic infrastructure for any country. The growth and health of data centers is an economic indicator of the country’s growth and competitiveness on the world stage. Beyond that, some governments seek to tap into this (and perhaps every) growth sector to generate funds for other objectives.

The business owners/operators of data centers see themselves as the revenue generators, the nexus of growth and prosperity. Without the operating entity and real-world business applications, there would be no need for the others and no opportunity for growth, profit and such.

While the turf battle seems endless, the outcome is important. Each of these perspectives carries its own unique objectives and views on how the data infrastructure should evolve. Finding a successful solution to satisfy all of these needs is difficult.

The concept of intelligent buildings is a good case in point. The benefits of this infrastructure approach have been documented.The progression of enabling technologies is very positive delivering measurable operational benefits. Why then is this approach not by now a common solution? It would appear that more than inertia is at work here.

Perhaps now a “perfect storm” of opportunity is at hand. Green buildings are forcing developers to think beyond capital cost, placing value and moral sway on building operating costs. This is a big change for many developers who have been motivated solely by the first six months of a building’s lifecycle.

Governments on the one hand want to encourage the healthy growth of the data infrastructure but now realize that the basic national infrastructures such as power, water and air are being consumed by data centers at an alarming rate. They have a need to encourage or legislate better efficiencies and hopefully strike a balanced best outcome.

There is light at the end of the Green Tunnel. Many projects in Australia are implementing intelligent building infrastructures. Cisco is offering EnergyWise solutions for free and data centers are rapidly increasing their efficiencies. It turns out that structured cabling provides access to these advances.

Business leaders expect green technology and that it will positively impact their businesses. Intelligent Building technologies are no longer optionalthey are critical to large scale commercial construction projects. This applies equally to owned or leased space. Perhaps it was once possible to say “That is not the way we do it.”

One CEO quoted George Bernard Shaw to make his point on new technology. “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.” Perhaps the time is now to stop pushing against IBIS and start pulling for itWhat do you think?


About the Author

James Young

James currently serves as the Director of CommScope’s Enterprise Data Center division, overseeing strategy and providing leadership to product and field teams globally. Formerly James has been involved in a variety of roles including sales, marketing and operations for communication solutions working with Tyco Electronics/AMP, Anixter, Canadian Pacific and TTS in Canada. 

James has gained extensive experience in the sale of OEM products, network solutions and value-added services through direct and indirect channel sales environments. His sales experience includes electronic transmission components, telephony systems, network systems, LAN infrastructure products and fibre transmission system products. James has garnered substantial experience in OEM and channel marketing, as well as network operations as assistant director of CP’s computers and communications group. 

James graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Western Ontario.  He is a registered Communication Distribution Designer (RCDD) and certified Data Center Design Professional (CDCP).

See all posts by this author


5 comments for "It’s Time To Line Up Behind Intelligent Building Infrastructure"
Fredrik Östling

Hi James, I been working in the realestate sector with Intelligent Building Solutions and IBIS for many years and I agree when you state that it is time to adopt IB solutions and good structured cabling solutions, as the pysical media for new developments, no question about it - it makes project work easier and more cost effective and it makes huge impact on operating costs! But to be honest, the things that scare developers and real estate owners /operators away is hidden behind the fact that they can´t understand how to run their own projects in the way that is needed to really benefit from these solutions. As a starter, to take full advantage of all cost benefits in the project, they need to separate the physical infrastructure design and control the interface of all components, which means that they need to rip apart the normal way things are contracted in the MEP world and in many ways go against the advise that the large scale MEP suppliers and consultants provide - but if they do, they will benefit on so many more levels than most of us are able to explain! So the real question is if we in the IT world are giving enough day-to-day support for the developers and real estate people to pull our way? In my mind the answer is clear, we provide stunning presentations and facts, alongside word like IBIS, UPOE, etc, which even for a normal tech guy like me are hard to understand, so I can just understand how impossible it must be for the developers and real-estate people to understand, adopt and implement Intelligent Buildings Solutions - we have not yet done our own homework and made IT as easy as IT should! So I think we really should ask, what do we need to do for normal people to get IT?

James Young

Fredrik, great comment, and great question. Some times a basic approach is the answer. When we describe IBIS to a facility manager, it needs to look and feel comfortable. It needs to provide a degree of ownership that they can accept. The same kind of approach can be taken with other stake holders. Our best case is to describe the building infrastructure as a universal platform that can be sliced up and tasked to what ever service that may be required. Each "slice" then looks like a seperate environment to the user but in fact all slices are basically the same. The difference is that we describe the infrastructure in familiar terms. We provide ownership and control of each slice to the user group. We try to make the transition look very much like business as usual at this level. Contracts and execution is another matter. It takes some effort and planning to change the commercial side of construction projects. An experienced integrator together with a strong commitment from the building owner can make this happen. In time the methodology seems to become more normal. Engineering companies gain experience and expertise. Success tends to breed more success. I have seen this in Australia for example. My hope is that more markets will move this way - and the sooner the better

Fredrik Östling

Hi James, Thanks for the reply! I know that everyone will benefit from moving towards IBIS, as it makes life easy for everyone and since it is the foundation for success and increased profitability in modern developments. And asking others to make it more understandable is a little bit lazy of me, so I will instead take it upon myself to put together a "Intelligent Buildings for Dummies" info web - thanks for the idea!

James Young

Great WP! I wonder how many projects have used this approach in ASIA? I would love to hear from others. I have certainly seen projects that have driven a "Connected" or enabled infrastructure park, often coupled with tax and other incentives. Quit often the building lots are designed and commissioned by individual developers - extending this concept into their projects would make sense but sadly I have seen several cases where base building designs were very basic - IBIS free designs. Thank you for this comment. You make a very positive case for the evolution of building infrastrucutre.


We are beyond Intelligent Buildings today and are at a point of looking at total campuses and next-generation Intelligent Business Campuses. From a white paper written several years ago, here is the view on creating next-generation intelligent business campuses like the DuPage National Technology Park which I reviewed some of the technologies at the Planning Stage:

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