Most residential and commercial building developments were designed and built in a pre-digital era.
This was when written correspondence had to be inputted on paper with a typewriter, folded neatly on a properly addressed envelope, and brought to the post office where enough postage stamps were bought, stuck on the right upper corner of the mailing envelope then dropped in the mail box where it went thru a process of sorting, dispatching, transport, and finally delivered by a mailman to the recipient’s mailbox.
Delivery of this “snail mail” as we now call it would take days and even weeks if the recipient was overseas.
A faster but more expensive option was via telegram which used analogue radio and telephone networks to send short messages and only takes a day. A sender had to pay a rate multiplied by the number of words of the message.
Phone calls was purely via analogue voice calls made thru a network of wired telephone lines. Installing a phone in one’s home was expensive if you’re fortunate to even get one.
Since telcos started making cellphones, and broadband internet services more accessible, private enterprises became the first adaptors of these new digital technologies in boosting productivity of their operations.
Compared to other economies, Philippine adoption digital technologies was slow but when the pandemic hit, everyone had no choice but to go digital to survive.
Now we are in a new normal where the speed of digital transformation of our ecosystems will determine the pace of recovery from the deep economic scars of the pandemic.
Critical is the integration of digital connectivity into our homes and workplaces.
However, many real estate developers are slow in adopting to this new digital mindset to the disadvantage of their homeowners or tenants who could not access or at best have intermittent and slow internet connections because telcos or ISPs who could have readily provided quality broadband services are not allowed to install the cell sites and fiber cables in these gated communities or residential buildings.
In a published statement by consumer advocacy group CitizenWatch Philippines co-convenor Atty Tim Abejo urged real estate developers to partner with telecommunication companies so they could ensure fast and reliable internet service to their homeowners and tenants.
“Telco space for network infrastructure in housing developments, be they buildings or subdivisions, should be a standard facility integrated by developers and imposed by government to align with a nationwide broadband strategy.”
The Department of Information and Communications Technology for its part will push for legislation to set the standards for the integration of last mile digital infrastructure to all residential and commercial properties.
Senate Bill 329—The Better Internet Act—requiring service providers to establish minimum standards for connection, reception, pricing, and billing has been refiled by Senator Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares.
Having fast and reliable broadband services at home and at work should be considered as a standard utility that real estate developers should integrate in their new projects.
During the Regional Insights and Strategies for Enterprises (RISE) webinar of Globe on “Building a Digitally-Connected Future in Real Estate Today,” the importance of planning to build digitally ready buildings and communities was emphasized to avoid expensive retrofitting that older, and aging copper wired buildings must now undergo.
Working with telcos from the planning to the development phase of the properties will ensure future-proof projects that are upgradable to fast evolving technologies.
According to The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG 9), “Investment in infrastructure and innovation are crucial drivers of economic growth and development.”
It says that essential to sustainable development is technological progress which is key for long term solutions to address environmental challenges, in providing new jobs, energy efficiency, sustainable industries, scientific research and innovation.
SDG 9 underlines the indispensability of digital technologies and therefore recognizes the right of every individual to access to these digital tools.
There are apps to enable the online fulfillment of almost every business transaction at speed of light so to speak.
The pace of innovation is exponentially accelerating but gaps in our readiness in terms of digital infrastructure, skill sets, obsolete policies, and governance issues are formidable challenges that will need an unprecedented level of synergy in vision and collaborative fusion of expertise and resources of private and private enterprises.