How can YOU put the Tech in PropTech? Build the business plan here!

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Do you know what PropTech is? According to Tearsheet, “Technology aimed at the real estate industry is positioned to change the way we buy, sell, and manage property.” This is a growing area of technology.

PropTech should be on the forefront of anyone who does in-building work. All the contractors and distributors should be thinking of how to promote products that will show value for the tenants. Many need indoor technology and coverage to do business. Would they pay more for it? I think so.

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What does this mean to you? Working in wireless and technology, you have the opportunity to make a difference in how the property managers deploy. You can build up a model that helps them decide if it’s going to make sense to add your system to the buildings that they build, lease, or renovate. It makes sense to be a part of it up front so that when they decide to build or renovate, you are there doing it at the time of construction, not as an afterthought where you have to go in later.

Broadband Access

To me, this goes without saying. However, many realtors I talk to have no idea what broadband is available near a building they are representing. They just assume there’s access. BUT WHO IS IT? What I mean here, does Verizon have fiber here or another provider? Is a cable company offering anything? What is in the building and how close is the nearest fiber ring? What other technology tenants do you have here? It’s nice when this is identified before you talk to the client.

Indoor Communications

What are the opportunities here?

  • DAS in common areas and hallways,
  • Small Cells to cover less used areas,
  • Public Safety DAS to cover all areas,Small Cell Cover 4
  • Fiber runs inside the building, to feed tenant spaces,
  • Fiber access from the outside in,
  • Fixed Wireless broadband to rooftops,
  • Wi-Fi deployment in common areas and to feed tenant spaces.

Das and Small Cells:

Here is something that DAS and small cell vendors should be interested in. How can we create an app to place small cells and DAS? How could we prepare the properties for the communications that they need?

We have to show the building owners what the payback would be with new investors and how they could improve the quality of their building by adding commercial communications.official logo

This is where communications are needed the most. While many cities and municipalities have requirements to add public safety DAS systems since they are a requirement. This is why the building owners often put in the minimal requirement. This means that they have to have the coverage in most of the building. While many building owners will not do it unless they have to, they try to get what they can. It is never an issue until an emergency happens, then it is too late. Lives lost, then it seems like a priority.

How do I know this? When I was working with Alcatel-Lucent, we often put together models for companies that needed this. There were the obvious, like hospitals, large corporate centers and so on. I also did it for many businesses by putting in paging boosters, cell repeaters, public safety systems, and DAS. It has always been there. It was usually up to the tenant to put this in, but they are focused on one thing normally, not a system that spans multiple carriers. Now that we have Wi-Fi and companies want workers to BYOD, it’s not going to be the company that makes this choice; they will want it buried in the rent.

Why care about carrier communications when it’s not required? Because it’s what tenants want as well as public safety! Landlords don’t want it because of the costs. I find that interesting because the first person on the scene will want to dial 911, not sit and hope that the first responders arrive. They call for help if they can. It’s not always easy, but that is what has to be done. If they can’t get coverage, they can’t call for help; people could get hurt or die. Simple.

Public Safety DAS:

Now, imagine we can create an app for the property owners, realtors, or brokers showing them that public safety DAS is needed? Then they would see the value. Then we add the payback for DAS or small cells in the building. The payback could be bringing in more clients or offering an additional safety feature. I was hoping that CBRS would play a part in this, but the FCC is really late on releasing anything CBRS related.

Then the property owners would know what has to be done and what would have the greatest impact on leasing. It helps to put carrier coverage in front of them while they are still working on the building, and not as an afterthought. This is where the value is going to be added. By helping them get out of their own way. That’s our job!

Fiber:Tower Safety for all your safety training!

Fiber inside the building needs to be run. If the landlord can run the fiber ahead of time through common areas, then the tenant won’t need to go back and rip up the hallway ceilings or walls when they simply want to add fiber to their spaces. It makes sense. Help show the landlord that makes sense to run it ahead of time and label everything.

Fiber from the outside in should be considered. Where does the landlord own the fiber, it’s not always at the building, but if it is, make sure they know where the fiber is coming in and where it needs to go before it reaches the tenant. They could save cost and construction if they plan accordingly. When the tenant is in, they want fast and efficient construction costs associated with internet connections. It makes sense, yet so many landlords think they are saving money by not planning then they get pissed off when the tenant was to drill through the main wall or tear up a hallway to add new internet service. Save them time, money, and aggravation by creating a proactive plan.

Fixed Wireless Rooftop:

This is best to be planned in advance because the fiber will need to be run form a raceway on the roof to where ever in the building. Wireless is a cost-effective way for many to connect or a quick redundant internet access option. Help them plan for this ahead of time because they will want it to aesthetically pleasing and functional at the same time.

Wi-Fi in Common Areas:

While it’s easy and cheap to deploy Wi-Fi, you still need a backhaul. The landlord needs to understand this. They can have Wi-Fi if it’s planned properly. Make sure the coverage is good and that the backhaul availability is there and that there are CAT 5 or 6 cables run to the data room. Also, Wi-Fi needs to be upgraded to make sure there is access to the units. The easier it is to access the better in the long run.

Data Centers

Back when I designed data centers, we would help the people make decisions based on growth and need. It was easy because when I was in paging, we built data rooms all the time. At that time paging was booming, and we always planned for 3x growth.

While you think it’s easy, there is a lot to be considered. It goes beyond air conditioning and designing racks in a room. Maybe a raised floor, higher ceilings, temperature controlled environment, fire suppression instead of fire sprinklers, backup power, surge suppression, broadband availability, fiber and internet access, overhead water pipes, and so on. You should be a part of this discussion. Even cable management

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should be thought of ahead of time.

If a building owner wants to have technology customers, then they should consider what is needed for data rooms. Often the tenant chooses a closet as an afterthought. Those days are disappearing. The landlord just wants to provide space, but in today’s world where work is done remote, tenants still need a data room. They want one that is suitable for all their servers, backup power, and routers. It should never be an afterthought in today.  It should be the center of the design. Then the office space should be designed around it. I can’t believe it would be any other way.

I’ve known companies that put data rooms in basements and had water pipes break. I’ve seen a major distributor have an underground data center and a water main outside of their building burst and flooded their basement. They didn’t have off-site backups, so all of their records were destroyed.

I’ve seen power surges cripple data centers because they had a poorly designed UPS power systems. Often, it’s designed that way to save money, more cost savings that hurt them later.

I’ve seen so many problems that were caused because of lack of planning, lack of spending, or just plain bad luck.

If someone could help these landlords tell their tenants where the data room should go, where the fiber runs are, how to add redundancy, and where the closest fiber loop is located, then tenants would have a lot less homework to do. The decision to move in would be so much easier than all the crap they have to do now. It builds trust between tenant and landlord.

Most realtors don’t care until they start to lose business. We, in the tech field, have the ability to win them more business and we deserve to get paid for it. This is a growing business in PropTech where technology meets Real Estate. It could equal huge profits for all, include the tenant moving in. Why not carry the services over to them?

Let’s look at the opportunities:

  • Lay out the communications for the buildings,
  • Show the need for seamless communications,
  • Separate the public safety from commercial,
  • Identify the nearby fiber, fiber loops, and redundancy options,
  • Point out companies with large data centers, like Amazon, Facebook,
  • Identify the payback like value to tenants and increased rent value,
  • Identify the expenses and be transparent,
  • Put it all together in a spreadsheet,
  • Make an offer!

Now, the next steps:

  • Reach out to realtors, building managers, and renovators to show models,
  • Partner with construction and renovation firms,
  • Maybe you could align with banks who give loans for this kind of thing,
  • Create models, including BOMs and services costs,
  • Don’t forget the maintenance or testing that may be needed later,
  • Present the models you built in an organized way, slide decks or websites,
  • Offer to build different models with products and services
  • Build BOMs and scope, high level, to show cost models,
  • Show how this will entice tenants to move it,
  • Identify how the quality of tenants will increase,
  • Make this a new business line with your new partners.

Hey, I just laid out most of your business plan, now get busy and make it happen. Whether you’re an installer or an app developer or a distributor, you can find a business in this model.


Thank you for your support and your time. And good job on learning all you can in the wireless industry, you are amazing! Now, go out and impress people!

Would you sign up for a membership site with private content? If so, email me at and write Membership. 

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Be smart, be safe, and pay attention!

See Ya!

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Climbers can get seriously injured and/or die on the job. Support the workers who build and install the wireless systems!

Together we can honor and remember the fallen in our wireless family.  

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