The places we live, work, and shop have not kept up with the explosion of hardware we've integrated into our lives already. When Real Estate developers talk about utilities, they're talking about water and electricity and making what's in the toilet go away when you're through with it. There's an enormous opportunity to integrate the 21st century's utilities into buildings the way running water was added before:VAR Business calls for buildings with brains:
Residents of this upscale property on the Upper East Side of Manhattan can use an IP telephone and touch screen to control lighting, play music and raise the temperature in their units. That's because the complex runs a single IP-based network for building-management systems and IT.
This is no sci-fi movie set. It's the future of real estate - and where VARs need to be if they want to avoid extinction and evolve into 21st-century technology providers.
While most "smart construction" hotspots bubble abroad, in such exotic locales as Singapore and Tokyo, the concept is merely simmering here in the United States. But a handful of organizations are trying to bring this domestic pot to a boil.
"Think about an office building. You've got networked computers, servers, printers," says Jim Young, co-founder and producer at Realcomm, a San Diego-based trade group for the commercial real-estate industry. "Now look around. Look at the lights, the doors, the locks, the [emergency] sprinklers. Imagine the opportunity that comes with networking all of that. Where you had 20 or so IP addresses before, you now have thousands of them."
The housing and commercial real estate industries are notoriously slow to react to change. We're all still trying to find enough outlets for our gadgets, never mind having smart houses. VAR stands for value added resellers. It would be easy to add value, and resell it to all of us, if the mortar and bricks people would realize we don't still have rabbit ears on top of the television and one big black corded phone that rings like a four alarm fire on the wall.
Make it all work!