Technology First: Rethinking Priorities in Commercial Real Estate  

In the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of commercial real estate, the success of a project hinges on a multitude of factors. Developers hire architects to design the structure itself, landscape architects to craft inviting exteriors, and interior designers to create compelling interiors. This early engagement approach, while important, overlooks a crucial element that can make or break the functionality and appeal of a space: technology. 

Why aren’t developers hiring technology experts at least alongside these other disciplines? Consider the absence of a robust wireless network, advanced conference room audio/visual systems, or state-of-the-art physical security access control. These elements are crucial for the functionality and user experience of a space. This is not to diminish the invaluable contributions of the other disciplines, whose work is essential in creating welcoming and aesthetically pleasing environments. However, we must ask ourselves:  

Is the activation of a space truly complete without the integration of advanced technology? 

By re-prioritizing technology early in the design process, we can ensure that spaces are not only pleasing to the eye but also highly functional and future-ready. 

As we navigate this topic, we’ll explore the pitfalls of ignoring early technology integration and the transformative potential of adopting a technology-first approach. This is not just about adding gadgets and systems; it’s about creating dynamic, adaptive, and user-friendly environments that meet the demands of today’s tech-savvy occupants and the operational needs of building managers. 

In this edition of Building Tomorrow, we explore how early technology integration can revolutionize commercial real estate, making spaces smarter, more efficient, and ultimately more valuable. Let’s explore how prioritizing technology from the outset can lead to more cohesive and successful projects, ensuring that every element of the space works in harmony to enhance the overall user experience. 

Harmonizing Visions: The Critical Role of Stakeholder Alignment in Building Technology Decisions | Layer 10

Technology vs. Traditional Design Elements 

Comparing the Impact of Technology and Design on Space Activation 

In the world of commercial real estate, both technology and traditional design elements play vital roles in creating functional and engaging spaces. We would argue that the impact of technology on space activation often surpasses that of traditional design elements.  

When evaluating the activation of a space, it’s crucial to consider how each element contributes to the overall user experience and functionality. Traditional design elements, such as furnishings and landscaping, certainly enhance the aesthetic appeal and comfort of a space. They create inviting environments that attract users and promote a sense of well-being. Their contributions, while undoubtedly important, won’t be of much use if the space isn’t properly equipped and reliable from a technology perspective. 

For example, consider a beautifully designed and appointed office but lacking in technological infrastructure. Without reliable Wi-Fi, advanced audio/visual systems, and secure access control, the space quickly becomes not only less functional but also less appealing. Employees and visitors may struggle with connectivity issues, inefficient meetings, and security concerns, hindering productivity and ultimately satisfaction. 

“Technology first, or at least among the first, should be our mantra as we recognize the transformative power it holds in activating and enhancing modern spaces.” 

The Essential Role of Technology in Modern Buildings 

In today’s digital age, technology is no longer a luxury but a necessity for the effective operation and activation of commercial spaces. The integration of advanced technologies, such as IoT, AI, and smart building systems, significantly enhances the functionality, efficiency, and user experience of buildings. 

  • Connectivity and Communication: Reliable Wi-Fi and robust network infrastructure are essential for seamless communication and collaboration. These elements support everything from day-to-day operations to high-stakes meetings and events. 
  • Security and Access Control: Advanced security systems, including biometric access control and video surveillance, ensure the safety of occupants and assets. These technologies not only protect but also instill confidence in users, making the space more attractive and trustworthy. 
  • Energy Efficiency and Sustainability: Smart building systems optimize energy use, reducing costs and environmental impact. Technologies such as automated lighting, HVAC controls, and energy monitoring systems contribute to sustainable building practices and operational efficiency. 
  • User Experience and Comfort: Technology enhances user experience through personalized environments. Smart thermostats, adaptive lighting, and responsive audio/visual systems create comfortable, engaging, and productive spaces tailored to individual needs. 

By prioritizing technology alongside traditional design elements, developers can create spaces that are not only visually appealing but also highly functional and adaptable to future advancements. This holistic approach ensures that every aspect of the building works harmoniously to support its users and maximize its potential. 

Transforming ‘Space’ into ‘Place’: The Role of Technology in Shaping Our Environments | Layer 10

Integrating Technology Early 

How Early IT Involvement Enhances Overall Design 

Incorporating technology into the early stages of a project’s design and planning is essential for creating cohesive, functional, and forward-thinking commercial spaces. Early involvement of IT professionals ensures that technological considerations are integrated seamlessly with architectural and design elements, resulting in a more holistic and effective final product. 

When IT is brought to the table at the beginning, several key benefits emerge: 

  • Seamless Integration: Early involvement allows for the seamless integration of technology systems with the building’s infrastructure. This includes ensuring proper placement of cores, closets and conduit, critical components that are often costly to retrofit later. 
  • Optimized User Experience: When technology is part of the initial design, it can be tailored to enhance the user experience in specific ways. Smart building systems, for example, can be designed to provide personalized environments for different types of users, from employees to visitors. 
  • Cost Efficiency: Engaging the technology team early in the design process helps avoid the high expenses associated with retrofitting and reworking designs to accommodate technology needs that were overlooked initially. 

“By bringing IT professionals into the earliest design phases, we ensure that technology is not an afterthought but a foundational element that enhances every aspect of the building.” 

Case Study: Miller’s Landing 

For the Miller’s Landing development, early IT integration was pivotal in creating a cohesive, efficient, and innovative design for both residential and commercial tenants. This 65-acre mixed-use development in Castle Rock, Colorado, aims to blend commercial, residential, and recreational spaces seamlessly. For a more in-depth look, check out Miller’s Landing on CNN’s Interactive Intel Page.

Layer 10’s involvement from the conceptual stage, in partnership with Intel, facilitated several key advancements: 

  • Energy Management: Smart energy management systems are planned to optimize energy use, reducing costs and environmental impact while ensuring comfort for both residents and businesses. 
  • Integrated Security Systems: Advanced security measures, including facial recognition and automated access control, are seamlessly designed into the building’s infrastructure to enhance safety and convenience for all occupants. 
  • Robust and Resilient Connectivity: High-speed internet and Wi-Fi coverage are strategically planned to provide seamless connectivity throughout the development, accommodating the diverse needs of residential and commercial users. 

Miller’s Landing is a testament to what’s possible when technology and development come together, transforming this mixed-use development into a forward-thinking community: 

  • Sustainable Design: The development incorporates green building practices and renewable energy sources, aiming to minimize its carbon footprint while maximizing efficiency and comfort. 
  • Smart Infrastructure: At the heart of Miller’s Landing is its advanced digital infrastructure. Intel’s smart building technology ensures robust connectivity and seamless integration of IoT devices, creating a truly intelligent environment. This infrastructure supports everything from smart lighting and HVAC systems to advanced security protocols, enhancing the overall livability and functionality of the space. 
  • Community-Centric Approach: The design of Miller’s Landing prioritizes the needs and experiences of its future residents and businesses. Public Wi-Fi, smart parking solutions, and interactive public spaces contribute to a community-oriented atmosphere that fosters interaction and engagement. 
  • Adaptable Spaces: Flexibility is a cornerstone of the development. Spaces within Miller’s Landing are designed to be adaptable, supporting a variety of uses over time. This forward-thinking approach ensures that the development can evolve with the needs of its occupants, maintaining its relevance and appeal for years to come. 

Miller’s Landing demonstrates the power of early technology integration in real estate development. By prioritizing IT alongside traditional design elements from the outset, we are creating a model for the future of mixed-use developments. This project is a shining example of how technology can enhance the built environment, making spaces smarter, more sustainable, and more connected. 

Layer 10 and Miller’s Landing: Pioneering the Future of SmartTowns | Layer 10

Shifting the Paradigm: Technology as a Core Discipline 

Rethinking Project Priorities 

Traditionally, the development of commercial spaces has prioritized other disciplines, often relegating technology to a secondary “we’ll get to it” consideration. This approach is increasingly outdated in an era where technology plays a central role in shaping how we interact with our environments. It’s time to rethink these priorities and elevate technology to a core discipline in the design and planning phases of any project. 

By reimagining the traditional project priorities, developers can create spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing and functional but also technologically advanced and future-ready. This shift in thinking acknowledges the critical importance of technology in today’s world and ensures that technological infrastructure is considered as fundamental as the building’s foundation. 

“Embracing technology as a core discipline in the planning stages transforms it from an afterthought into a driving force that enhances every aspect of a project.” 

The Long-Term Benefits of Early Technology Planning 

When technology is integrated into the early stages of planning and design, the long-term benefits are substantial. Here are some of the key advantages: 

  • Enhanced Functionality: Buildings designed with technology in mind from the outset are inherently more functional. They can accommodate advanced systems and devices more seamlessly, ensuring a better experience for users. 
  • Scalability and Flexibility: Early technology planning allows for the design of scalable systems that can grow and adapt as technology evolves. This flexibility means that buildings can easily incorporate new advancements without significant structural changes or disruptions. 
  • Improved Efficiency: Integrated technology systems enhance operational efficiency by automating routine tasks, optimizing energy use, and providing real-time data for better decision-making. This leads to cost savings and improved performance over the building’s lifespan. 
  • Future-Readiness: By anticipating future technological needs, developers can design spaces that are ready to integrate upcoming innovations. This future-readying ensures that the building remains relevant and valuable, even as technology advances. 
  • Increased Value: Buildings equipped with advanced technology are more attractive to tenants and buyers, increasing their market value. Technology-driven features such as smart building systems, advanced security, and high-speed connectivity are highly sought after and can set a property apart from the competition. 

“Perhaps the most important advantage to this technology-first approach is matching not only current but future market demand for technology, making it a more valuable and competitive asset in the immediate and long term.” 

Embracing a New Approach 

Shifting the paradigm to consider technology as a core discipline requires a collaborative effort among all stakeholders involved in a project. Architects, interior designers, landscape architects, and technology professionals must work together from the very beginning to ensure that technology is seamlessly integrated into the overall design. 

This approach not only results in a more cohesive and functional space but also positions the project for long-term success. By prioritizing technology early on, developers can create environments that are adaptable, efficient, and ready to meet the demands of the future. For more insights into how smart buildings contribute to this new approach, read about the Benefits of Smart Buildings.


In today’s rapidly evolving world, the role of technology in commercial real estate cannot be overstated. By integrating technology early in the design and planning stages, developers can create spaces that are not only functional and aesthetically pleasing but also adaptable and future-ready. This proactive approach ensures that buildings are equipped to meet the needs of their users, both now and in the future. 

The shift from viewing technology as an afterthought to considering it a core discipline in the development process is essential for creating innovative, efficient, and competitive commercial spaces. Prioritizing technology alongside architecture, interior design, and landscaping results in environments that offer enhanced functionality, scalability, efficiency, and long-term value. 

At Layer 10, we are dedicated to helping developers embrace this new paradigm. Our expertise in technology integration ensures that your projects are not just built for today, but are ready to adapt and thrive in the future. We invite you to partner with us and experience the transformative impact of early technology planning. 

Are you ready to take the next step in revolutionizing your commercial real estate projects? Contact us today to explore how we can help you create unique, technologically integrated spaces that stand out in a competitive market. 

Let’s build tomorrow, today.