The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back at to what it was, nor forward to what it might be, but living in the present and accepting it as it is now.”

– Anne Morrow Lindbergh

In my recent experiences with residential and commercial clients across the GTA, I find myself often stumbling upon new heights of concern when it comes to understanding the value of security and communication requirements for multi-dwelling units. Our city is a nebulous evolution of urbanized growth that is proceeding at unprecedented levels of supply and demand. The need for security cameras and effective image-recording devices is skyrocketing, along with the desire for software tools that generate remote accessibility offering notification and interactivity at the stroke of a key. We want things bigger, faster and better, but often fail to appreciate the difference between novelty and need.

Recent articles in most of our major newspapers are heralding the international perspective that Toronto is the best city to live in and that our housing market—as overvalued and uncontrollable as it seems—is the driving force behind our prosperity. We are all essentially bearing witness to what is a cascading explosion of housing growth that is expanding through the traditional urban spaces (i.e. Milton, Aurora, Richmond Hill, Woodbridge, to name a few) and into the farthest corners of the province.

Largely unnoticed in all the buoyant rhetoric are the persistent efforts of real estate developers and housing investment companies to modernize, effectively, their habitat environments inside rental buildings and condominiums. Millions of dollars are being thrown about annually to upgrade everything from hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, eco-friendly environmental lights and windows, and lobbies that resemble European art deco cafés wrapped in a monochromatic veil of generic ambience.

 

As a result, I’m often surprised to learn in my meetings and conversations with property managers and developers that little consideration is given to building solutions in which security and communication concerns are prioritized over more aesthetically driven spending decisions. After all, what good is having a lobby or hallway that looks prim and proper for the twenty-first century if your antiquated security cameras and entry systems resemble relics from a time when the internet was the stuff of dreams? Or not using modernized access control functionality or dynamic portal software to provide genuine convenience and empowerment to the tenant community, thus forcing them to rely on archaic practices?

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Intelligent Building Solutions is not a simple catch phrase. It should be equated with making sensible financial and technological decisions in the interest of giving owners and tenants a sense of real control. Understanding your investment is the first step towards empowerment—be it purchasing real estate or renting space. Wiring, insulation, retrofit work, blind spots, traffic flow, access control, heating, ventilation, lighting, air conditioning, and capacity for a “smart home” footprint are variables that can make the difference between loving what your money is doing for you and dreading a decision wrapped in endless doubt and sober second thought.

Finding a partner who has the capacity to give you answers of both an empirical and conceptual nature is therefore paramount for anyone serious about appreciating the value of real estate. Time after time, my clients are thrilled to learn of the versatility that I’m able to offer in not only thoroughly understanding their condominium environments or rental apartment space, but in how effectively I can visualize the security and communication requirements for their newly constructed projects and retrofitted building needs.

It all begins with a responsible look into the past, a careful analysis of the present, and an innovative outlook on a future that can be yours if you want it.