A recent study of cellular service in America’s companies found that coverage problems are pervasive in the workplace hurting productivity and causing frustration. The survey of 1,000 office workers in commercial buildings, ranging from urban office buildings to retail shopping centers, industrial facilities and medical buildings, commissioned by Zinwave, found that 74 percent either “frequently” or “sometimes” experienced poor cellular coverage.
The poor in-building mobile experience equates to demand for DAS in the enterprise, according to Scott Willis, Zinwave president and CEO.
“As we learn about the drivers in the market, we are taking it down another layer to learn what the market is saying about the issues that are being experience by actual users in the marketplace,” he said. “Regardless of the industry, an overwhelming majority of employees are unhappy with their in-building wireless service.”
Specifically, the survey looked at Millennials, who don’t associate their wireless experience with the wireless carrier and are more likely to blame their employer for bad cellular service in the workplace, according to Willis. According to the study, office workers between 18 and 34 years of age are 68 percent more likely to experience “frequent” problems with cellular coverage in their workplace — and are 58 percent more likely to believe their employers are responsible for the in-building cellular coverage.
“This generation looks more to the employer as accountable for connectivity problems than the carrier,” Willis said. “If the employer is interested in attracting that generation, an environment with mobility has to be high on the agenda. The mobile experience is going to be important to their decision of who they want to work for.”
Enterprises need to understand how important in-building cellular coverage is to create an environment that attracts a younger workforce, Willis said.
Vertical Market Wireless: Code Blue?
The study looked at which market verticals are best positioned to benefit from improving in-building mobility. Healthcare led the way with 83 percent of workers experiencing frequent connectivity problems, followed closely by warehouse/distribution, 82 percent; retail, 80 percent; hospitality, 77 percent; and office, 66 percent.
“Equally important [to us] is which industries are moving in-building mobile to the top of their agendas as they look to solve problems for their specific businesses. How do they use mobility to improve their bottom line?” Willis said.
Poor in-building coverage can have adversely affect the number of doctors choosing to see patients at the hospital as well as the patient experience.
“For the hospital or regional care center, inconsistent coverage should be troubling. Because doctors and other specialists can be more particular about where they practice, not being able to receive a consistent cellular signal can be a real disincentive [for them] to choose a work location,” the study said.
Educating the Enterprise
The shift away from carrier funded DAS has created a new market for these in-building systems: the enterprise. But most of these companies are more acquainted with information technology systems than in-building cellular systems.
“With carriers unable to solve the in-building problem economically, it falls upon the enterprise to solve it,” Willis said. “When you think about complexity of the choice of how to solve that problem – whether it is Wi-Fi, small cell or in-building DAS – it is very daunting will only get more so in the future.”
The OEM commissioned the survey to better understand the need for cellular service in enterprises, and therefore help make the case for why enterprises should invest in DAS.
“When you see that shift of the employees looking to someone else other than the carrier, it creates an opportunity to work with the employer or property management to solve the problem. We are looking to educate the industry to make the right decision going forward in terms of indoor mobility. The survey gives us credibility for the messages that we put into the market,” Willis said.
The survey results will be integrated into Zinwave’s marketing strategy perspective, helping it reach out to various market segments, Willis said.
“We need to continue the educational process of the enterprises,” he said. “How do we educate that segment of the marketplace so they make the right technology choice?”