In today’s digital environment, building owners must provide mobile coverage to their tenants, or they may find their tenant relationships at risk sooner rather than later. CommScope conducted dedicated research (carried out by Coleman Parkes Research) examining the current performance, attitudes and insights of building managers, architects and facilities managers regarding access to in-building wireless (IBW) connectivity — and to find out why so many buildings, and therefore tenants, remain disconnected.
It is clear from this research that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to provide indoor cellular coverage within large and complex buildings.
With key stakeholders varying from the building owners and managers, architects and facilities managers, to the tenant enterprises and the mobile operators themselves, it is clear that this is an issue that requires real consideration, engagement and leadership from all parties.
Therefore, in summary, there are five key recommendations from this research for the wider building, residential, business and operator community:
1. Building owners must address the current and future requirements of their tenants.
With the proliferation of connected devices set to infiltrate residences and businesses and the knowledge economy, building owners simply cannot ignore the requirement to connect their tenants. Although of course these devices are likely to be compatible with existing Wi-Fi networks, these are unlikely to be able to cope with the increased demand, forcing tenants to turn elsewhere. Without fast and reliable 3G and LTE network connectivity, the use-potential of these devices — alongside regulars such as smartphones and tablets — is severely weakened.
2. Architects and building owners must lead with a vision for tomorrow.
Architects and building owners must not fall victim to the “build it now; fix it later” approach by considering how and where mobility solutions could be installed. It is no longer acceptable when designing new buildings to simply ignore the growing requirements for connectivity. Even if it is just informing the client of the IBW network’s potential, engaging with them to consider whether this could be of interest at an early stage could result in significant cost savings.
3. Avoid the paralysis of inactivity.
Those in charge of managing buildings often consider the need for an IBW or mobility solution but fear the technology is too costly or complex — and do not act on it. They may be halted by the perception of requiring complex engineering — or worrying that they do not possess a clear understanding of radios and the cabling technology associated with this type of network. Concerned by the prospect of yet another rip-and-replace job, they do nothing, letting the building fall further out of date and less attractive to potential tenants.
Taking responsibility and engaging with the experts will likely set building managers’ minds at ease. Outsourcing the complications makes life easier, and they will often find out the solutions aren’t as complex as they might have first thought.
4. Consult with the industry experts.
The provision of indoor connectivity is likely to improve the desirability of a building, as well as its potential value, and enable more productive personnel for enterprise tenants. Yet, the cost of doing so is clearly a large barrier for all involved. However, as we have discussed, there are methods to offset and even share the burden of this investment. Placing wireless connectivity at the heart of any renovation strategy will ensure today’s buildings are fit for tomorrow’s workforce.
5. Cellular coverage is the next utility.
Building owners clearly understand the importance of providing adequate and reliable utilities such as gas, electricity, water and even Wi-Fi to tenants. Only by considering cellular connectivity a basic utility will we quickly move towards fast, reliable and seamless connectivity for all. In today’s digital environment, building owners must provide mobile coverage to their tenants, or they may find their tenant relationships at risk sooner rather than later.
Juan Pablo Compagnucci leads the enterprise in-building wireless market development initiative globally for CommScope. Visit www.commscope.com.