The Importance of REITs and Digital Infrastructure

REIT magazine: March/April 2016

On Valentine’s Day I took my wife out to a nice dinner at our favorite local restaurant. With three kids, any meal that doesn’t involve chicken fingers or mac-and-cheese is a real treat. 

The place was obviously packed, every table filled with couples of all ages celebrating being together. As I looked around I was awestruck at the subtle glow coming from nearly every table—not of love or candlelight, but that familiar light from a cellphone.

I told my wife how sad it was that these people couldn’t disconnect long enough for one romantic meal. That’s when I noticed she was texting a message on her phone.

“Sorry, just checking on the kids,” she said.

Technology has enabled everyone to be accessible at all times—for better or worse. There are countless examples of times when instantaneous access to call, text or access online information is not just valuable, but essential. Then there is the black hole of technology filled with cat videos, Candy Crush and endless memes. 

But whether it is essential or essentially useless, technology, especially mobile devices, has created a seemingly endless demand for data. That fact surprises no one. My oldest daughter alone could keep Verizon in business. 

What might surprise many outside of the real estate industry is the fact that it would not be possible to meet that demand were it not for certain REITs. 

Without these REITs, that fancy iPhone would be little more than a paperweight. 

As the “Digital Demands” feature in this issue details, the need for more digital infrastructure is only going to increase. I graduated college without ever using email, and now my 5-year-old son receives his kindergarten assignments via text message.  

So whether it is the increased use of streaming video, the rise of digital payments, the continued migration from landlines to cellular phones or the millions of photos shared daily, infrastructure and data center REITs will play an essential role in ensuring that communications providers are able to serve consumers. 

While my kids are doing their part to fuel consumer demand for digital infrastructure, Corporate America is increasingly relying on data center REITs for its information storage needs. As a result, data center demand is skyrocketing and REITs are acquiring and developing new facilities to keep up.

This is just another example of how the real estate owned and managed by REITs impacts the lives of millions of Americans each and every day, helping to fuel the nation’s economy and, quite literally, keeping us all connected. 

Matthew Bechard
Editor in Chief

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