Sunday, September 29, 2013

Internet Services at Technology Parks

Technology Parks have successfully differentiated their property marketing by customizing their services and infrastructure to meet the needs of their tenants who mostly consist of tech companies. A survey conducted by AGIT Consulting however, has been done to various technology parks around the world to determine the effectiveness of its Internet services which includes offerings of broadband, IPTV, wireless network and such. What was glaringly clear was that tenants of technology parks from Ireland, UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and India are not too overly satisfied with the service offerings in their parks. In fact, except for a few tech parks, Internet services remains much the same as it is outside the park. The result of this survey is intended to highlight to management of technology parks as well as to potential investors who may consider locating to Technology Parks
Science Technology Parks (STPs) have mushroomed all over the world since 1950s beginning with the first establishment in Silicon Valley at the University of Stanford. Initially, the purpose of developing STP was to generate income. Today, however, Technology Parks are considered as an essential tool for economic development. Such a tool is even more needed in a country such as Malaysia whose economy is entering a stage of transformation from Agricultural and Manufacturing based to one which is a knowledge driven.
Technology Parks are sometime referred to by others as Research Parks, Technopole, Technology Precinct and various others. For the purpose of this report, STP is defined in accordance with the definition given by the International Association of Science Park (IASP) which clearly stated that "Science and Technology Parks are the perfect habitat for businesses and institutions of the global knowledge economy. Science & Technology Parks promote the economic development and competitiveness of regions and cities by:
o Creating new business opportunities and adding value to mature companies
o Fostering entrepreneurship and incubating new innovative companies
o Generating knowledge-based jobs
o Building attractive spaces for the emerging knowledge workers
o Enhancing the synergy between universities and companies..
The quintessential composition of a Science Technology Park is that it should be designed with the following objectives
1. to encourage the formation and growth of knowledge based organizations who are normally residents on site
2. to have links among its tenants consisting of Universities, Research Institutions and Companies
3. to have other value added services together with high quality space and facilities
The last objective will be the focus of this report. Various STPs have declared that the services and facilities, ie the infrastructure, provided by their parks are of high quality, if not of world class. Such are the claims made by STPs from Edinburgh Technopole , Northern Ireland Science Park and various others. The definition of quality should also mean that the physical infrastructure provided by the STPs meets the requirement of its customers or in this case, the tenants in the park who consists of Multinationals and small medium companies both local and international. The objective of this report is to assess whether some of the Technology Parks' physical infrastructure are of high quality. One way of gauging this is by measuring the success of the Technology Parks itself, such as the number of tenants it generates compared to its goals. However, this proposal will instead conduct a research that will assess whether the physical infrastructure provided, have sufficiently met the requirements of its tenants through a survey. From the survey, evidence will also be gathered as to whether such infrastructure particularly the internet services which may consist of dial up, broadband, wireless and added value such as IPTV contributed to the country's economic development and growth.
Result of Study
Based on the result of the study with the assistance of a market research company, namely AGIT Consulting, summary of the findings are as folows:
70% of tenants in Irish Blanchardstown Tech Park are satisfied with their Internet services in general. While in Singapore with was 63% and in Malaysia it was 60%, the rest of the countries scored poorly with Thailand at 35% and India, Thailand and UAE at 10 and 15% respectively. The main reason of dissatisfaction in Ireland is due to the high cost of Internet and broadband in general and as one tenant illustrated, there was no difference between using Internet within or outside the park. Countries such as Malaysia and Singapore cited that cost and service efficiency as the main problem while in United Arab Emirates, tenants were more dissatisfied with the limited number of Internet Service Providers that are available to choose from. In India however, the main
Malaysia's tenant in Cyberjaya believes that the additional service providers that are available solely for Cyberjaya as well as the number of free wireless LAN service available were the main good points for Internet services within the park. In India, tenants of ITPL looks positively at the Internet services in terms of the price that it offers.
Most of the tenants consider Internet services as more important than the Transportation and utilities that are provided within their park except for tenants in Ireland where 62% considers electricity and water supply as more important. All tenants however regard as the location of the park as well as the amenities to be the utmost important issue when residing in the park.
Although IPTV has already made its entrance across the world, all of the tenants surveyed have yet to witness such service in their Park. WiMAX which is already available for some of the park was also not mentioned as the preferred use for Internet access. The broadband speed and price are considered the important element when choosing their Internet Service Providers as oppose to the brand or customer service of the ISP. In Malaysia, TMnet is the preferred broadband service however, most tenants are eager to subscribe to its competitor P1 who deploys WiMAX. Most subscribers of tenants across the countries prefer the country's main broadband service providers.
The full scale of the report, which also looks into the category of companies involved and the weight that tenants put on the importance of services can be obtained from AGIT Consulting at
Zamri Yeop Zainon, MBA, Director AGIT Consulting