Understand the importance of cellular connectivity in a class A building
Have you ever been on the 60th floor of a modern, newly built class A commercial office building and your call drops or you can’t tell whether the person on the other line can hear you? It’s a common problem.
According to a recent survey, nearly 74% of office workers said that they experience poor cellular connectivity in their workplaces. While building owners have looked to carriers to solve the problem, experts say a changing landscape in the provision of cellular connectivity is putting the onus on commercial building owners to provide a robust cellular service within their properties.
“Historically the community hasn’t been concerned about mobile connectivity because they have looked at Verizon and T-Mobile to solve the problem. They are now embracing the concept that carriers cannot afford to build out every environment,” said Scott Willis, CEO of Zinwave, at the recent In-Building Technology launch event.
In the past carriers such as AT&T and Verizon made the investments in DAS that boosted indoor cellular signals for their customers in high mobile traffic venues such as sports arenas, large office complexes, and airports.
However, as the number of mobile devices in use grew exponentially, carriers were unable to keep up with demand for outdoor cellular signal services and are unable to devote resources towards the provision of cellular signals inside of buildings.
This responsibility has now fallen squarely on the shoulders of the building’s owners and managers.
Concurrently there has been a massive boost in the requirement of mobile connectivity in the workplace as more companies have started using cloud-based applications and messaging apps for communication. This is ramping up the demand for better connectivity from tenants in commercial office buildings.
Many tenants will not pursue a property a potential leasing space if it does not meet their cellular connectivity requirements, experts say.
“Tenants today are smarter than they used to be when it comes to what coverage means to them and how they want to use it because they are getting smarter the demands on the building owners are increasing. They expect everything to work. They want infrastructure that they invested in yesterday to work today and tomorrow. They don’t want any interruption or change and expect connectivity to work,” said Dennis Rigney, vice president of Sales at SOLiD, a manufacturer of OEM mobility antenna systems.
As building owners grapple with realities of the high costs of installing a robust connectivity backbone many dismiss the need and say the tenant can install it they really need it, experts say. However due competition in the marketplace either they will eventually adapt, or be left with empty buildings.
“The I’ve got four wall and windows and let the tenant deal with the problem days are over. The pain point is going to come when Google and Yelp doesn’t rent their space, and they are 50% vacant,” said Bill DelGrego, vice president of Business Development, ExteNet Systems
Today there are many cost-effective options available to building owners to overcome cellular connectivity problems. However, to determine which solutions work best it’s critical that owners educate themselves on both the economics and the long-term viability of solutions to future-proof their buildings.
“Building owners need to understand all the technology choices for them to enable wireless cellular connectivity. Helping building owners to understand what is currently available and stay ahead is critical,” DelGrego said.
Owners should be asking themselves questions like what are my choices and will they also be a good choice downstream three to five years from now?
Due to the overload in the carrier side building owners who install a robust cellular connectivity infrastructure can also monetize their investments by selling a portion of their capacity back to carriers, experts say.
“One thing that owners should understand is that the technology will not only increase rents but also monetize their buildings. It can become a revenue source and enable them to sell the capacity inside that building to carriers,” Del Grego added.
For carriers, this eases the load on them to provide cellular coverage. While in the past the idea of sharing an untrusted internet was not something Verizon or AT&T would consider, today partnerships are emerging between owners and carriers, said Donnie Kruse, senior manager, at Network Implementation at Verizon Wireless.