As many of you know, we are in the process of moving from our home and corporate office facility, Fox Hollow in Mount Albert (north east of Toronto), to the southwestern Ontario area in the near future.
So what do you say as a business person! Why should I care? Well, you should!
Structured Analysis and Decision Factors Applied to Real Estate Selection
During our analysis in looking at various areas from Mississauga through to the Chatham area, we found some interesting and even disturbing trends that we thought you as readers of our Telecom Dispatch should know about related to broadband availability.
In trying to determine where we wanted to move, we took the same analytical/decision matrix type of approach to our own project as we do working with our clients on technology strategies and acquisitions. We modified our technology acquisition application and customized it to analyzing our real estate decision.
We developed the decision criteria with weighting factors in order of priority including:
Fibre optic broadband services, plus availability of alternate high speed providers, i.e. 4G wireless, DSL, cable, satellite
Nearby access to major 400 series highways to enable us to drive to Toronto in less than two hours
Access to Public Transit to get to Toronto without driving (whether GO Transit or Via)
Access to nearby medical/support services including local doctor, dentist, hospital less than 30 minutes away
Municipal Public Services, i.e. sewers, water, hydro (and reliable service, particularly for hydro)
Nearby small business support services, i.e. banks, lawyer, accountant, Chamber of Commerce, etc.
Energy efficiency to operate, i.e. heat, hydro
On-property parking for six or more cars (for business and social reasons)
Personal Services, i.e. drug store, grocery store, dry cleaner, restaurants, delivery and take-out food
Rooms for overnight guests, or nearby hotel, motel, bed & breakfast accommodations
Then we got into usual things most people consider, such as 3+ bedrooms, 2+ bathrooms, renovated kitchen, separate dining room, larger lot, mature trees, selection of properties within our price range to choose from, etc.
Impact on Organizations
Our observations could be relevant to your organization, particularly if your firm has a large number of soon-to-retire baby boomers on staff, you sell products and services to the small business marketplace, or lastly, you are looking to move or add a branch office west of Toronto (or other metropolitan cities of similar profile across Canada and the US, in fact).
As more and more of us baby boomers, or millennials, choose to live and work at home from outside core metropolitan cities, the necessity to have reliable, high speed/high capacity broadband services, with the other home office services becomes more important.
One of the benefits of being a technology consultant/analyst is that we have access to carrier information that most regular customers would not. We were able to cross-analyze carrier wired and wireless services, combined with municipal services and real estate listings to identify the best areas that fit our top five most important criteria, all without driving anywhere!
What was disturbing was the lack of investment of broadband build-outs of numerous small town and in-fill residential building projects, combined with the lack of reliable coverage of 4G wireless networks. As we continued to analyze various towns and cities, we had less and less choice, primarily due to the high speed availability (or lack thereof).
Fortunately, we finally found what we believe to be one of the most wired counties in Ontario, and also found a property that we believe fits the bill for everything on our list.
What our findings means to business, local governments and the tech sector
As more companies look to continue to reduce operating costs, whether real estate or human capital, through work-from-home programs (part-time or full-time), move towards part-time employment of their experienced workforce and other creative work/life programs, it will become more and more important to have municipalities that can provide enterprise class technology and municipal services.
Availability of the business-grade network services combined with reliable municipal services are required in order to support this growing trend. We encourage all companies, disregarding size or location, to push their local governments and carriers to stress the need for continued investment in municipal and carrier services.
The positive effects are numerous, including reducing the need for infrastructure road expansion, being good for the environment, the local economies and job creation, and lastly, good for the employees and their families who choose to live and work in non-core towns and cities.
If you are interested or know of anyone who is looking to move to a high tech piece of heaven to get away from the rat race of Toronto, but have easy access to highways, public transit, with ability to have a business-class technology facility, surrounded by nature, just north of Newmarket, let us know. Check out our listing at www.5022herald.com or MLS no. N2986705.
We look forward to moving to the Oxford County area in the near future and having fibre optic network services for our work, our entertainment and keeping in touch with clients, friends and family!
We also hope that more and more counties and regions across Canada and the US will realize that these types of infrastructure investments not only encourage people to move to their areas, but also drive improvements in local economies!