Building connectivity certification.
Most of the technical installations and complimentary services provided in a building are closely regulated by local ordinances and luckily a little boring. When you build or rent a home, you can be pretty sure of the quality of the water running out of the tap. Electricity? Barring the need for exotic appliances, everything will probably just work and be interoperable with your existing appliances.
However, It becomes more complicated when the provided services get more complex and the number of integrated components gets higher. How can you compare the environmental design of a building? How do you score water efficiency? And most importantly, how do you make sure that your internet connection is rock-solid, independent of your location in the building?
WiredScore is focussing on what some describe as the most basic of human needs, Wi-Fi, and the digital connectivity potential of your building.
WiredScore (the company), offers certification schemes related to digital connectivity and smart building aimed at landlords and project developers. The certification scores on subjects ranging from IT security to resilience, and from user experience to future readiness.
WiredScore doesn’t just score buildings, but they also partner up with landlords to improve the connectivity in their building, always with the certification criteria in mind.
Certificates aren’t permanent, they get reviewed every so often to ensure that the standards are preserved, and that technological progress will be incorporated.
Imagery courtesy WiredScore
WiredScore was founded in 2013, by Arie Barendrecht in partnership with the city of New York and the then Mayor Bloomberg. As connectivity was found to be an important differentiator when trying to convince organizations to become tenants of office space, WiredScore (the certification), was focused on the needs of office real estate operators. Afterward, they extended their offer into the smart building space with SmartScore, and they launched an offering, WiredScore Home, to take the advantages of certification to the residential space.
Now you can find WiredScore certified buildings on three continents, and they are still continuously expanding into new territories. Scaling across national boundaries don’t seem to be as big of a problem for certification bodies, compared to what we see traditionally in PropTech.
🕵️♀️ Who else?
WiredScore seems to have the connectivity certification niche cornered pretty tightly, especially compared to the situation in green building certifications, where the diversity in providers and certification can make it non-trivial to select the right certification for your use case.
In the smart building certification space, there are other interesting initiatives. Smart Building Certification is a recently founded certification body from the Netherlands with similar ambitions to WiredScore. The European Union is also looking into a way to provide a Smart Readiness Indicator for Buildings and in Canada Boma Best is working on a smart buildings industry benchmark.
As the saying goes: “What gets measured, gets done”. Having clear targets concerning connectivity in a building is certainly a good idea, and will assure that more attention and care is dedicated to this particular subject. The skills to make connectivity and “smart” work aren’t necessarily the same skills that are needed in the rest of the construction project, so defining clear goals will increase the chance that someone with this particular skill set is consulted.
Having a common baseline to compare buildings to is a definite improvement for potential tenants. Typically, the real situation concerning connectivity is only discovered after some time occupying the rental property, connectivity certification can remove this uncertainty.
👎 Why not?
As in any certification process, trust in the certification body is of utmost importance. The fact that the certifying body is also consulting should be a point of interest. However, as reputation is certainly a top priority to WiredScore I’m positive that steps are taken to avoid any conflict of interest.
Not every use case is the same, so while a certification process will probably guide you towards industry best practices, it’s still important to evaluate the chosen process and make sure that the guidelines of the certification are aligned with the vision that you have in mind for the building.
📚 Further reading?
Bloomberg: WiredScore leed for broadband
Placetech: Launch of SmartScore
Irish Times on the launch of the build-to-rent certification
VTS Blog: Everything you need to know about building certifications
Funny, cause true.