When connectivity becomes all-important

Published in Hunter Business Review October 2019

I’ve had some challenging experiences of late with the NBN Co, which is particularly important as we venture further into a world where communication connectivity for businesses is paramount. So, I thought it timely to examine where Australia stands in comparison with other countries and technologies.

Fortunately, in Newcastle we haven’t yet experienced many of the joys of tenant reps and companies who compare commercial buildings based on their connectivity, as well as energy, waste, water efficiency and even wellness as the tenant reps and companies try to meet the mandates passed down from their ivory towers in New York, Chicago, Sydney or Melbourne.

It was only two years ago when a tenant rep tore one of our more prominent office buildings apart based on its connectivity, lighting, bumps in the concrete floor beneath the carpet, air conditioning, and energy rating. However, it was when he asked to see the “End of Journey Amenity” that I had a double take.

“End of Journey Amenity?” I asked. “Yes, your end of journey amenities?”. I replied, “Sorry, what are you referring to?” “The showers. Do you have showers and locker rooms when people run or ride to work?” Luckily, the answer was yes, but the building’s amenities didn’t extend to the towel and laundry service they required.

Measuring connectivity

US connectivity certification company Wiredscore is now able to help owners and buyers contemplating the connectivity ratings of a building. Wiredscore can assess a building for its connectivity and rate it with either a Silver Gold, or Platinum certification. This rating system aims to sway a purchasing and leasing decisions, and with 80% of people in a recent Lendlease survey experiencing connectivity problems, Wiredscore’s services may come in handy.

Sadly, Wiredscore can’t do much about Australia’s woefully slow internet speeds. According to several sites, Australia either comes in with a ranking of 50 to 52. In comparison, even Slovakia’s ranking is 23.

Maybe the mysterious 5G will make a difference. The trouble is that only Huawei offers real 5G speeds and won’t be releasing it until 2020. The USA is in the race for 5G, but they are five years behind and won’t have it until 2025. You might have noticed that the new iPhone is not 5G ready!

This lack of 5G capability in the iPhone is a sign of much larger trade war issues. There is a real chance that China may block iPhone sales in China, as the USA has done with Huawei. Now 51% of Huawei’s phone sales are in China and growing with a 26.4% market share. Apple’s numbers are falling with only a 9.1% share in China, but of the 900 million iPhone user’s world wild, 300 million are in China – Huawei has no users in the US. What would this do to USA’s flag ship company?

Last year of Huawei’s $108 Billion turnover, the company spent $15.3 billion on R&D. Of the firm’s 188,000 employees 75,000 work in R&D.

However, what is 5G, and why does it mean so much. In a nutshell, 5G is the fifth-generation cellular network technology. If the US is to win the race as they did with 4G, then it has been estimated, 5G will create 3 million jobs and add $US500 billion to the nation’s bottom line.

To put the impact of the 5G into context, take the 2-hour movie download test:

1G        Just a brick – head to Hoyts for your movie fix
2G        The old Nokia – still getting your movie fix at Hoyts
3G        26 hours to download the movie – more time-efficient to catch the latest blockbusters at Hoyts. 
4G        Took 6 minutes to download the movie
5G        Will take 3.6 seconds

So, with Australia backing the USA in just about everything Trump wants, what will become of the 5G rollout and local communication connectivity is still anyone’s bet. And I haven’t even mentioned my NBN horror stories.

Post written by Steve Dick
0425 302 771

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