Broadband Basics

Smart buildings a reality for Oakwood Properties

Chorus Dow
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October 28, 2015

From its Dunedin base, Oakwood Properties develops and manages commercial premises across the lower South Island including Christchurch, Invercargill and Queenstown. Operations Manager Matt Mackinlay says gigabit fibre makes remote building management simple and it’s making their strategy of smart buildings a reality.


[caption id="attachment_230" align="aligncenter" width="2655"]Oakwood Properties operations manager Matt Mackinlay. Oakwood Properties operations manager Matt Mackinlay.[/caption]


What attracted you to upgrade to gigabit fibre?


This building was retro fitted for us in 2009. At the time we reviewed opportunities to maximise property management technology but the infrastructure wasn’t available. As soon as the gig was available we signed up and we’ve been using it since May 2015.


When Dunedin won Gigatown in November 2014 we decided to have gigabit fibre installed in a trial batch of our Dunedin properties, so far we have completed installation in three of the trial five.


How has improved connectivity over fibre changed your business?


New technology is making property management more efficient for us and for our tenants. Since hooking up to the gig it is so simple to run remote property management. We have cameras installed in our buildings in Christchurch and Dunedin and my day begins with a digital walk through. I log on and check the properties for maintenance, damage and things like rubbish, or blocked exits.


How has gigabit fibre made your business more efficient?


A digital building walk through replaces a person physically visiting our properties every day, which is great for managing our time. It’s also particularly beneficial for us with properties outside of Dunedin, allowing us to be proactive, addressing issues as soon as they arise. For example, we can see tagging as soon as it happens and arrange immediate removal. This is important because its presence attracts more graffiti so it’s imperative it’s removed immediately.


What opportunities is it opening up for your business now?


Managing energy use is the next phase of our smart building implementation, all made possible with remote technology. We’re building a property in Christchurch with solar panels. Using fast fibre we’ll monitor the photovoltaic system and detect when we need to buy power off the grid or when we’re in a position to sell it back – this will change the way we manage property. The technology is providing so many new opportunities, I’m not sure we even understand them all yet!


Is fibre helping generate more revenue?


It’s hard to measure but we know that the buildings we have put gigabit fibre into are more appealing to potential tenants. People love the fact they can plug into gig fibre as soon as they move in.

What would you say to other businesses considering gigabit fibre?


It’s crucial! Gigabit fibre is the way smart business operates. For us it means a lot less headaches.

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