Connectivity

Alan Ni: Smart Building Connectivity: Is 5G the Panacea?

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Filmed in partnership with Realcomm | IBcon this talk navigates the current climate of CRE connectivity - noting the vast majority of misconception around 5G connectivity and what the future may bring.


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Alan Ni, Director, Smart Spaces & IoT, Aruba

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

Afternoon I'm Alan Ni,  I lead innovation strategy on smart spaces in I.T. at Aruba. I'm here to talk about smart connected buildings and specifically around 5G. There's been a lot of conversation about 5G at this conference and being a leading vendor in Wi-Fi Networking and the de facto way of connecting mobile devices within buildings. We obviously have a point of view here and really wanted to talk with you today to address the question. 

So in my talk I'm really going to talk about these four specific topics right. What is 5G?  at this point the marketing, it's been in beyond overdrive and you know frankly we don't know what the newspaper is going to say, so I want to talk a little bit about that. But more importantly as real estate professionals what are the use cases that we should really care about as we design buildings not only for tomorrow but for today. Then I want to talk a little bit about the technology investments that we're seeing not just in 5G but just in mobility in general. 

And then finally a lot of the new things that allow the new technologies are coming to fruition now and actually should force a lot of us to rethink the status quo, and can be disruptive. So I want to just leave you with a few parting thoughts in that area. So let's talk about 5G what is 5G. As I said you look at the mainstream press whether it's business press technology press every day there's some other form of 5G and it is funny I was at dinner yesterday and one of my colleagues said 5G is like Whatever the carrier selling this years can be 5G. 

So you know we hear about fake 5G real 5G etc. So you know if I had to summarize it I see 5G as these three things right. It's really a set of performance targets and I'll talk a little bit more about. That fundamentally at the end of the day provide faster speeds faster really shorter latency is a much better experience for all the new applications that we need to serve users, things, systems buildings. But also I think no one everyone could agree here.  

There's a lot of marketing around this. I turn to Wikipedia you're not always the authoritative source but if you look at the definition Wikipedia it’s actually written very very carefully right. 5G is generally seen as a first generation cellular technology. The industry association the industry being the Cellular Association defines it as this thing called 5G new radio. But then you look at the bottom there's this cryptic thing particularly for folks that maybe are in the technology world here. 

They talked about these requirements around the international telecom union this I.A. 2020 standard. And when I think about it I think about it from that perspective. So what is that standard? when you know every G you know whether it's first generation sector operation third generation forget about the technologies, they go in they mean say hey we want to actually hit a couple of benchmarks.  I love this diagram here. It's actually a chart despite your chart of you know all the key pieces that they were trying to achieve. 

What you see in the middle of this thing called LTE is basically fourth generation technology the stuff that we're using every day. And as you can see as they move to fifth generation technology that pie has expanded and they want it to really improve a lot of these things some of these things that you know the non technologists wouldn't know. But let me decipher for folks that are in real estate in the process of trying to build buildings. These I would argue are the orange ones are those things that we should care about if we're starting to build new Smart Connected Buildings. 

We want to obviously have greater user experiences whether that is faster speeds, shorter latency. We want to design for higher capacity within the building and we'll talk a little bit about the end points right.  Because we realize it we're starting to get to an area where as we say wireless if you can, wired you must but I'd argue the most important thing is really to make sure that we can support more use cases. And one thing I do agree with, within 5G there's a radio layer and that's a lot of where a lot of the press is.  You know where the peak speeds etc. 

But there's actually a lot of investment in what they call the core of the network to say regardless of what radio you're coming on whether it's a cellular radio whether through Wi-Fi the experience that I have as I transition and move around is consistent. 

So let's talk a little bit about the use cases. I took this picture because I love this as I see it. This is the marketing Ray and this are market 5G. You know how fast can you download every episode of The Simpsons or 500 episodes probably  4K etc. and know 5G could deliver to you in seconds or minutes right but let's think about that. That's not really a practical use case as we're starting to build buildings. These I would argue are really the use case that we need to think about, user mobility, user mobility in buildings right. 

We spend probably about 70 to 80 percent of our time within buildings. Wi-Fi as I said is the de facto way of connecting most people whether in your home in a commercial office building et cetera. We hear a lot around Das, CPRS you know those are connected just one piece which is prior phone the thing that has a SIM card but as you know many of you in the room here you're probably carrying possibly a tablet, a laptop. I would probably venture to bet that most of you probably don’t have a SIM card associated with that device. 

So that's typically been something that the tenant actually provides. There's this other thing now if you think about it is building IoT and that's the heart of what Smart Connected Buildings. It’s  no longer just the people in the building and the smart experiences but the building itself that's being connected. The vast majority of these devices are very low power, they probably won't take a SIM card.  If you talk to any vendors in these spaces, every penny matters are trying to make a sensor as cheap as possible and they're not using SIM cards or any license technology. 


In many cases they're not even using Wi-Fi. They're using other lower power sort of technologies. Fundamentally, you see a big shift right in the past connectivity was a responsibility of the tenant.  Now as you start getting into building IoT you know is it the lights maybe that's provided by the owner the operator the developer. Is it the windows? maybe that's the owner operator or developer. You’re starting to see iPads, smart furniture, that's the tenant right. So how are you going to support all these things in this new paradigm. 

Are we going to buy point solutions for every one of these products and build separate infrastructure. Or are we going to think about it from a platform perspective? Then the last piece you may not think about it from a connectivity standpoint but there's a lot of interest at this conference around experience and there's this idea of a tenant base or building base experience and in a lot of that is being driven through location and if you think about that I need an infrastructure once again to provide location. The cellular network 4G, 5G does not give me indoor G.P.S. 

So how do I do all of this. We can talk a little about the next generation Wi-Fi access point but I won't even call it the next generation Wi-Fi access point. 

This is more than Wi-Fi, It's really the next generation access point. So wanted to talk a little bit about Wi-Fi and just a lot of this stuff that I've been hearing here and there's a lot of that information I'm hearing that is categorically untrue. When they talk about Wi-Fi you know a lot of people are not aware there's actually been six generations of Wi-Fi. But we've been just collectively calling it Wi-Fi.  Maybe you've been at best buy and you had to buy the next one you may have seen BAC and now these cryptic sort of names one of the good things this year is that the Wi-Fi Alliance came around and said OK we need to make this like understandable from a consumer perspective. 

So they started to actually brand the latest version is actually something called Wi-Fi 6. You're going to hear this more so a total of an X is Wi-Fi 6. They actually went so far to even go backwards to say AC which was introduced about five years ago as Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 4, et cetera. Now if I superimpose this on that chart I showed you before around 5G. This is how it lines up and you can see if we're trying to deliver that 5G experience the speed whenever within a building Wi-Fi delivers if not exceeds all those key metrics that we care about. 

Now there is one area here’s where it's more defficient than 5G and it's mobility. And I've heard a lot around people saying that Wi-Fi doesn't work it doesn't hand off etc.. And here if you looked at it would maybe crowd cooperate that but if you look at this when they talk about mobility they have that mobility moving 500 kilometers an hour. Now who moves in a building 500 kilometers an hour. Now who moves in a building at 500 kilometers an hour, I don't think any one of us does. This is really the envisioning you know I'm on that high speed train in Europe, you know, maybe browsing something and having continuity of service. 

Right. So if you think about this there's actually a lot of good senitry you know within a building. We feel that there's a lot of this real technology capability and Wi-Fi 6 delivers the promise and all the stuff that they're talking about for 5G now. Right. The latest Samsung Galaxy phones have Wi-Fi 6 baked in them now. The infrastructure and you'll see this access point that we have and a lot of our other folks in the industry we've been delivering Wi-Fi 6 access points since last year.

 And for the more technical folks here I'll be really quick, you know it's sharing many of those same technologies that 5G has. If you understand some of these things like, channel widths multiple antennas OF DNA technology, we're borrowing back and forth between cellular 5G and Wi-Fi. But really the more important thing is really the use cases right. And we're delivering them today. So this latest generation access point obviously has new technology like A X if we think about it from delivering voice one of the more interesting things is delivering voice in a building and as I said, I heard a lot of disparaging over Wi-Fi doesn't work well for a voice is too hard too hard to get people on. 

We have a very interesting technology called Pass point and we're demonstrating this downstairs, where individuals with a phone with your SIM card, the access point you're going to automatically join the access point. Right. So one of the big frictions in Wi-Fi as you walk into a venue I need to understand what the network name is, I need to go into my settings join it right and then at that point I don't even know if I have security it's prior open network. With this new technology called Pass Point which has actually been around for two years but now really coming to fruition and starting to get real carriers online. 

As I said if you have some of the major carriers answers when you walk by our booth you're just going to automatically associate to it, there's no friction. More importantly you're getting onto a secure network with secure credentials. In our view point is you know now voice which traditionally you've put a dedicated system in, right, at two dollars - two fifty cents a square foot  is now just a service that we could deliver into a building the next generation access point.  

A lot more interesting too is building IoT as I said lights, sensors you know furniture, people counter sensors, are not coming through Wi-Fi in a lot of cases, they're certainly not coming through cellular, 5G, cellular, they're coming through things like Bluetooth 5, Zigby this next generation access point is actually providing that sort of connectivity. Then you know indoor location we talked about it, this is now in the second generation same infrastructure effectively putting G.P.S. above your head in a building to allow people to navigate. 

And then finally the last piece you may have heard prior about a year or two ago, Wi-Fi hacks around Wi-Fi security standard WPA2,  WPA2 is actually over a decade old so it's like geriatric. the newest access points a new standard WPA3 that really closes a lot of those gaps are now in this specific sort of next generation access. 

So really the final thoughts now that I've shared with you a little bit in terms of the holistic development the use cases et cetera as real estate professional’s how does this disrupt how what should we be thinking about. So one is around voice services in this new building keeping people connected. Right. I think I still hear and why we're doing investments with this organization, with this group, is that up until now a one to one association is set to deliver high quality voice you have to do it through DAS or small cell etc.

Not to say that you can't deliver it right but making it exclusive, that's absolutely false. We're delivering that you're likely using Wi-Fi at home potentially for phone calls. Right. We're delivering much much greater quality of service within a building. We can deliver it to the majority of buildings where a lot of these DAS systems may cover 2 or 3 percent of all reasonable space. To this idea of IoT gateways if you actually deployed an IoT gateway to support your lighting system or something, you wanted to avoid you may not have heard of the term shadow IT, if you're doing it you are shadow I.T. 

These are actually devices we have in our building now they're just sitting on the carpet sitting plugged in then if someone just tripped over I have no idea how to manage them, where they are, you know are they a security risk or not. They're really the final piece here, and it's around you as a real estate developer even us as a vendor. Traditionally a lot of this coverage right whether it's networking coverage you kind of placed upon the tenant and the tenant in his or the organization suites you may have connectivity but now the expectation to have consistent experience throughout the entire building is a lot more social services you know club lounges whatever that a lot of developers are now putting into the next generation of buildings. 

So you as one of those developers really need to start thinking about the services that you need to deliver holistically and oftentimes in the past as an afterthought.  The only thing that had to do was deliver DAS or deliver if you could afford it and that would provide cellular services. But what about all those other IoT devices right. You would do smart parking or door locks and other things right. You need to start thinking about a much broader infrastructure play for that. Right. So we're encouraging really commercial real estate to start thinking about this not just for shared spaces but potentially for tenant spaces and for us as a vendor that's disruptive to us to. Our core client has always been and we focus really on the tenant occupier less so on the commercial real estate folks. 

So that's that's really going to wrap it up here. Thank you very much. We've actually done a lot of thought leadership this week. Feel free to reach out to our website. We've published a lot on this and we're just coming out. Thank you


David Unger: Full Transparency through IoT

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Filmed in partnership with Realcomm | IBcon.

From the edge, through the fog and into the clouds - a deep dive into the core components of IoT in commercial real estate today. David Unger, CEO of Sentient Buildings helps navigate current pain points in IoT and cloud infrastructure as well as how technology is bringing forth new solutions.


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David Unger, CEO, Sentient Buildings

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:


Good afternoon everybody, My name is David Unger. I'm the CEO of Sentient Buildings. Sentient Buildings is a wireless IoT device infrastructure company where we integrate wireless devices to traditional BMS systems, platforms and we bring all of that data up to the cloud securely and reliably. 

So my presentation today is going to be on creating full transparency in buildings through IoT technologies in the subtitle - from the edge through the fog and into the clouds. 

How do you get full transparency of your data in/and controlling that data from the cloud back down to the edge.  So you're just looking at how we put these pieces together, what are the core components of an IoT network or design? You have the cloud the cloud's where you know the data is going to ultimately be pushed too, you have your subject here in the middle, the building, the edge is your edge device network. 

So how does that network function?  How are you getting data from the very edges of your building and not just from your central plant systems or from air handlers or from other operational technologies in the building? How do you get into the tenant spaces and collect data on temperature, humidity or how do you control individual terminal units in apartments and other things?

How do you get bi-directional with monitoring and control to the edge? then the fire concept here is all about distributing that computing power, right. So how do you distribute your computing power between the cloud and the edge?

How do you maintain it, manage your security, how do you maintain data across all systems across both the cloud and the edge? So there is talk about how those pieces get put together but let's just talk about some of the traditional kinds of problems that we try to solve for building owners and operators. The first one is wires. Wires are very constraining in buildings, in wired systems and wiring up sensor data and wiring up devices and control points. It becomes expensive to maintain those systems and you don't typically deploy to the edge in a way that makes sense for the building. Wired is a mass infrastructure, it's expensive to install maintain upgrade and extend. 

What we find is while you could potentially control every tack in a building, every electric baseboard heater in a building while you could do these things they're not economical or feasible in old construction or in retrofit projects. Paybacks for the owners to deploy to the edge are too long for them to even consider.  

What we really look at is how to achieve this full visibility and do it reliably with wireless. Wireless technologies typically in a lot of ways, is unreliable. It might be okay to monitor a temperature sensor but if you're controlling somebody pee tac unit or if you're doing something that needs to be done reliably and consistently you know you can't be subject to wireless interference or other problems that might arise with wireless device networks. 

So the way we look at this is we've divided wireless networks into two typologies. We look at the Star Network as having a central hub right that can coordinate and monitor devices that communicate directly to it. That Star Network provides basically a local area or a personal area wireless network within its face. 

So within a specific space it could be an apartment could be an office space but you have this local area wireless network and you could actually deploy on this network because it's now very short range. When I say short range I mean like 30 to 40 feet. 

If you could deploy low to no power and end nodes at the edge that can be powered by ambient light can be powered by kinetic energy so you don't even have to put batteries in those devices and it could be as simple as peeling and sticking something on a wall like a thermostat and getting readings back to your hub. The mesh comes in where these hubs act as repeaters on a mesh. 

So you have your star network at each node and each hub becomes a repeater in there you form a building wide area network where all the mesh nodes communicate with one another and they report back to a central gateway or central system in the building and that way you achieve full reliable coverage across the entire site. 


Once you have the wireless network in place, what you can do with it? What kind of devices can you deploy and you could deploy these devices very cost effectively, temperature sensors actuators  hours occupancy sensors energy meters and you could deploy them without having to run power or communication wiring to them. So it becomes a very inexpensive deployment and not only that it becomes reliable in terms of wireless range and communication. 

Now you're bringing all of the wireless data back to a central point. That's great. But now what typically happens is the data still remain separate from existing building management systems. Wireless IoT data should be simply extending existing BMS platforms. They should not be their own platform or their own system. The latest IoT device networks are typically proprietary. You have to use some specific kind of sensor, they might have their own portal platform or their own local client to access the system. So you want to basically build a platform that allows for extension of this IoT device system so that it can be used by other systems in the building.

The other thing that happens across multiple systems is your data definitions are not in sync. They're not homogenized. They're not normalized. The way that you define your data is different across multiple systems so you need a simple way to bring all that data definitions together so that they're defined correctly across all your platforms so that you can identify systems and platforms consistently to perform analytics, to run alarming and create issues across the system. 

It's very important to get that straightened out. Where  these edge to fog gateways that bridge the divide fit in is, you create this fully secure VPN network to your cloud. So now you've secured your network of all this data. You have integration of your IoT receivers into that network and then you also create onsite data storage and edge computing power through a central fog gateway.  

Now both the wireless network and the IoT device network can communicate to the other building systems and the same goes for the building systems that were traditionally not connected to these device networks. 

Then pushing that data right up to the cloud so you have your IoT systems and you have traditional BMS platforms all coming together in a central system. 


There are many cloud platforms that are out there, you know performing analytics against the data or providing other services against the data,  it becomes a problem because you still don't get a comprehensive view of operations. Many users have to log into multiple systems in order to evaluate and analyze their data. So really what's needed is a central system to aggregate the data at scale with a suite of API eyes to these external systems in the cloud. 

There needs to be the single pane of glass where the data exists in the cloud and is moderated and controlled in the cloud. Then you have integration so all the other systems that you might need to retrieve data from provide a standard compliant data integration platform with a single pane glass view into that system and then you integrate the value chain of all of these other providers in the cloud. 

Eventually what you'll get is a method of setting the stage for full integration and collaboration across all cloud platforms so that you can easily share data across systems,  distribute data to your engineering and energy consulting firm so that they can evaluate that data and help the building owner make decisions on capital projects, for example the tenants and residents can gain access to their thermostats easily. 

The owner operator could grant access to the thermostat without them having to put their own nest device in or some other type of Wi-Fi device hvac service companies could gain access to enact this. This access control system where data is shared so that they can evaluate problems with your air handler or your boiler plant or your chiller plant.  You get full transparency all the way down to the device level and now you're providing full transparency to all the collaborators who actually need access. 

If they had access they can provide better services to the building, so what is this roadmap to transparency look like?  wireless start a mesh remote control nodes that connect seamlessly to existing building systems. So really designing your wireless IoT device network so that it’s standardized and compliant with existing systems. You want to support standard compliant edge devices while maintaining this from robust backhaul. You want to eliminate the need going forward for power communication wiring. 

We recently did a project in a 2 million square foot building where you can put a device now anywhere in that building, a sensor, thermostat, any control point, you can just place the device in the building and it will come up on the network and be visible in the cloud. So that really allows complete flexibility. The types of sensors that you use and you could use at much lower costs than was traditionally available and then really getting this open protocol cloud platform that's able to not only receive the data from the building systems but also fully integrate with all other cloud based platforms for a fully robust platform in the cloud that has multiple data sources and can really give you a single glass pane into the view of operations.


Landon Tucker: The Future of Residential Connectivity

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Landon Tucker, CEO of Honest Networks helps us navigate the current state of multifamily connectivity. He touches on how 5G is changing the connectivity game and the notion of connectivity being as ubiquitous a utility as water and electricity.


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Landon Tucker, Co-Founder & CEO, Honest Networks

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:

My name is Matt and tucker with honest networks and I'm here to discuss the future of residential connectivity. Really exciting time for connectivity because we are at the epicenter of two trends. The first is accelerating shifts in consumer behavior, how consumers are consuming content and we are also in the midst of the very early stages of 5G technology. The ability to use wireless technology that's becoming very efficient to effectively recreate and build on the incumbent business models and do it in a much more efficient and friendly way.

For real estate owners and managers the key is not only will there be new service providers that have a lot more new innovative business models, but what we're also going to see is a real opportunity for differentiation in terms of residential connectivity. What we're seeing is that property owners and managers are looking to use connectivity to drive relative positioning with the new and and existing tenants are using connectivity to really differentiate their product and drive pricing and value. They're also using it to improve tenant satisfaction. In terms of consumer behavior, what we're seeing is that there's an accelerating shift in terms of cord cutting that we have. More and more Millennials and Gen Xers are getting rid of cable. In fact, 94% of 18 to 29 year olds are primarily streaming and they're not doing it for price. They're doing it because they see less perceived need for a cable television package. And what's really interesting about that is when you have this massive cord cutting you see a transition in connectivity. Internet is no longer complementary to a cable television package.

It's actually a utility in and of itself for building owners. It's as ubiquitous and as important as water and electricity. So what's actually happening though is that consumers aren't really happy with what they have now. They are being pushed to bundle product. They're being trained to have an internet solution in their building that's built on promotional offers. And because these companies in your buildings today, the larger cable companies and the telcos, they haven't had to build a really great customer service culture because they've been effectively monopolies. What's really exciting is this is about to change in a dramatic fashion. And what we're able to do now with the combination of fiber optics and 5G technology is to effectively build and improve upon and recreate what the cable companies and the telcos have done in building out a new great Internet network over the air and in the streets. And if you deploy internet networks in this way, it's a massive improvement in terms of efficiency. It's an incredibly capital efficient way to build out networks and it's also a very timely way to add connectivity to your building.

You can be installing new internet networks in days or weeks not months or years. You all have internet in your buildings. So the question you might be asking is, Is this better or is this the same or worse than what I already have in my building? Let's go back to what we said before which is if internet is becoming a utility how do we think about valuing the utility of a utility. We think about the speed.

This is Honest Networks we're the fastest residential internet provider in the country. We offer only gigabit. One to ten gigs of capacity, fastest speeds in the world. Ultralight connectivity for fifty dollars a month or less than half of the cost of the incumbent providers. And because of the way we architected our network at ultra low latency which means there's essentially no delay in which tenants request service and then receive it. And so we're becoming an alternative option in multi-family properties and seeing amazing customer transactions and uptake in the buildings. If you see here tenants have been really excited by having an alternative choice in the building effectively saying they are blown away by the service, the price, the quality of the network they're getting. And when you have a product it's becoming utility. As a real estate owner or manager, how can you take advantage of this? How are you going to use this innovation and connectivity to differentiate your buildings? The number one differentiation opportunity we see, and this is from mom and pops with with smaller multifamily buildings all the way up to the largest developers in all of Manhattan, is performance. People want to say you come into this building and you have the fastest residential internet in the entire country because we have Honest Networks.

Imagine you have a 300 unit building. You're seeing about 140 of those units turnover every year. Take out seasonally adjusting you're looking at 12 different conversations you're having with the existing tenants who are thinking about moving out and going to a competitor. You have 12 conversations with new residents that are looking at a wide variety of buildings. If just a few of those say oh you have the fastest Internet in the entire country and you're able to convert them into your building and drive occupancy and drive rate, that's a homerun for you considering that we're actually free for building owners were just another option in the building. Another great opportunity for differentiation is on Wi-Fi. We see a massive gap between ubiquitous Wi-Fi which we believe Millennials and Gen Xers are looking for. There's a massive opportunity for instance when we bring in ubiquitous Wi-Fi into common areas, into fitness centers, rooftops because all of that is complimentary service. Because our goal was to improve tenant satisfaction in the building. Working with a new innovative provider you can have it such that internet is on. It's like water when the tenant shows up. It really drives the tenant experience having unprecedented connectivity visibility in your building could be great in terms of dealing with tenant issues.

We have a connectivity dashboard where we have API integration with all of our connectivity data so that you can know over the past 24 hours or even 24 months the speed reliability and performance of each one of the buildings in your portfolio. And then finally on the left side if you want to give your residents more choice more affordability they can often save a lot of money every month by switching to an Internet product and streaming versus sticking with the incumbent bundled product. And then some final considerations for real estate professionals are future proofing your building when you can for instance at honest we bring fiber into the vertical riser into every building we go into that future proofs the building in terms of giving you outstanding capacity and performance. But it also improves the resident experience when you have great infrastructure in the building and it increases the value of the building to you. So if you can do that and you're thinking about bringing another provider, ask about how they're wiring up their building because you want to make sure that when you're working with a new provider they're future proofing your building and really adding value to it if you're giving them the opportunity to sell into the residence. Second is aesthetics make sure you understand what equipment is going into your building. All providers have a wide variety of equipment they use and there is really great small form factor aesthetically pleasing installations that can be done now where the resident doesn't even really notice the equipment. That's something that we'd be happy to touch on more. And then finally I.T. and security.

Increasingly I know many of you are looking to get more data out of your buildings so you're looking to use IoT BMF system security systems. If you're backing that information up to a public cloud computing provider or you're using the public internet, often times if you work with a provider you can get secure, direct cloud connectivity access which prevents any risks of a security threat to your building. If you have any other questions feel free to reach out to myself or any other member of our team.

Thank you.