Q&A - David Walker, head of property for Hyperoptic

October 17, 2016 by John Hatcher
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Q&A - David Walker, head of property for Hyperoptic

David has a 30-year career in the property sector; he previously worked at Pearl and Coutts where he was Head of Commercial Lettings, and as a partner at Alan Selby and Partners and on the executive board at MWB Business Exchange. Hyperoptic, works with developers across the UK to install gigabit (1,000Mbps) broadband - over 135 times faster than traditional ADSL speeds.

How did you become involved in the Smart Buildings industry?

I hail from a 27-year career in the property sector, managing multi-million pound budgets and property teams with mandates spanning the breadth of the UK. During my time as Head of Consulting at Alan Selby and Partners I worked on a number of large mixed-use development projects, including acquiring over 88 acres of East London over an eight-year period.
I joined Hyperoptic in 2013 to drive the company’s expansion - it was an exciting time to join the business as property developers, managers, investors and owners alike were waking up to the significant benefits of digitally ‘future proofing' their assets.

What excites you about the Smart Buildings industry?

Making buildings smart makes people more productive – it facilitates creativity and promotes possibilities, which is hugely exciting. Giving buildings full fibre broadband infrastructure is essential to fulfil the potential of smart buildings. It allows aspiring developers, owners and managers to bring in new and cutting edge integrated systems and apps, and ensures residents can enjoy everything the Internet has to offer, without compromise.

Are there any particular technologies that we should be aware of, but are currently under the radar?

I have seen many interesting apps being trialled and used in smart buildings, monitoring everything from flood risk, to presence of carers and other service personnel. A technology that has recently piqued my interest is a new service that runs on an infrastructure platform, which remotely monitors behavioural patterns of relatives at risk – for people suffering from conditions like dementia this technology has the scope to spot conditions early and slow declines whilst giving relatives peace of mind.

What services does your company offer?

Hyperoptic is the UK’s leading Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) provider, pioneering the country’s fastest and most reliable Internet service. Our symmetrical gigabit services are over 135 times faster than traditional ASDL speeds. Furthermore our services are delivered via our own dedicated fibre network, which means that customers have access to gigabit enabled speeds despite the limitations of most hardware to match the capabilities!!!
We work with property owners, developers and professionals, designing and installing dedicated fibre infrastructure to new buildings, and retrofitting improvements to existing developments. Our services are currently available across 20 cities and towns across the UK with a network that grows on a daily basis.

Are people aware of the regulations that they will need to comply with in the near future?

Ha - of course not; the information onslaught pertaining to regulations is relentless. From commercial radio, TV to apps, we are bombarded with health and safety and CDM information. There is no much noise that you can’t rely on being reactive to be fully informed. You must be proactive and do your own research on the upcoming regulations, and most importantly talk to professionals that specialise in this and deal with it everyday.

Who has been the biggest influence in your career?

Mike Strong – my boss for a time at Richard Ellis. Analysis, hard work and a clear plan of implementation was always the starting point to making a project successful.

What is the question you are most often asked in your business life?

The question I am most asked is: “What’s the catch?” We work with new build and existing developments to provide an original specification, cost free installation and then we undertake maintenance at our own cost going forward. They then get access to the UK’s best broadband, which enhances the attractiveness and value of their property – they feel that it is too good to be true, so I am frequently asked what the catch is but still struggle to find an answer!

What are the best/worst things about your job?

The worst part is having to help prospective customers understand that there is truly no catch – it can take a while!
The best part is knowing that we are providing infrastructure and access to a service that changes lives positively.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Work hard, be flexible, and always keep learning.

What living person do you admire and why?

I would have to say Martin Skinner, CEO of Inspired Asset Management. He is a fantastic and resilient entrepreneur, who has been one of our greatest advocates, installing Hyperoptic across his high-tech, high-spec, and affordable private housing developments across Greater London.

Where would you most like to live?

London is one of the greatest cities on earth so I would need to think further afield – I hear there is a great view from the moon. Well, half of the time.

What is your favourite book?

Zen and Art of Motorcycle Management (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Zen-Art-Motorcycle-Maintenance-Inquiry/dp/0099786400) – it’s a match made in heaven!

How do you relax?

Zen and motorcycle management – it’s good to be consistent.

What sports team do you support?

Any TT rider!

What is your desert island disk?

That Summer, Various (https://www.discogs.com/Various-That-Summer/release/2177877).  

What is your ideal holiday?

Anywhere where I can ride a TT!
 

 

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