By Gearoid Collins, Sales Director, Vilicom
Facility managers are increasingly having to cope with shifting workspaces demand – in particular mobile phone technology. Workplaces must deliver more services and amenities than ever before – shared workspaces, co-working at organisations such as incubators, and ‘swing spaces’ are growing in popularity. Additionally, facilities such as lunch spaces, games rooms, gyms and coffee bars. These changes are influenced by a number of factors, including Generation Y (those born between 1981 and 2000) by 2020, who will make up half the global workforce.
Recognising the value of in-building mobile coverage
Increasingly organisations are pushing mobile-only strategies, with landlines fast becoming obsolete. For example, PwC went as far as removing landlines from every office desk. In tandem, modern work spaces come with an increased number of connected things, mobile devices and smart building features including lights, sensors and CCTV.
As such, full-bar indoor mobile coverage is now essential for any modern workplace. It is the often-forgotten utility, but in today’s connected world, mobile network equipment is as important as gas, water and electricity – and every FM professional needs to recognise this.
Research has shown that business owners are in real need of help to achieve full-bar mobile coverage, with 89 per cent of those surveyed considering it important. Also, 26 per cent received mobile coverage complaints from staff, which can lead to workers having to leave their workplace to get good reception or quitting all together. This is unnecessary if the right investments are made. But many business owners and facilities managers don’t know where to get advice on how to solve the problem.
The opportunity for facilities managers
While facilities personnel can’t be expected to be telecoms experts, whether in-house or outsourced, the profession is amongst those that need to start to understand when in-building mobile coverage is poor, how essential it is for business and where to turn in order to resolve it.
The key is engaging a reputable provider of indoor mobile coverage networks, who will then ensure high-quality service across an entire facility that has the flexibility to grow as technologies continue to evolve. Also helping you to overcome any in-building mobile coverage issues, whether that be building materials, location, or interference.
For example, I have previously worked with an academic educational building that faced multiple challenges in providing high quality vendor-neutral indoor mobile coverage. This included its concrete and steel structure, and multiple rooms where robust signal for surgical training and clinical simulation facilities was life or death. And four floors below ground with facilities such as a lecture theatre that needed to have the same consistent connectivity. All of this was possible.
Organisations are crying out for reliable advisors that can offer them greater connectivity, compliance, quality and consistency, with nearly half of all respondents happy to pay for improved coverage as they do with standard utilities. And why wouldn’t they when installations have been known to increase a property’s value, workforce productivity and attract new talent, as well as enable organisations to provide faster speeds and user experiences?
Facilities managers have a pivotal role to play in bringing this service under one department’s control alongside other utilities. Indoor mobile coverage can no longer be the last consideration, or worse, not considered at all. Working with specialist providers that can design, install and maintain indoor mobile coverage solution, with a range of commercial models (including service models with no huge CAPEX costs upfront), makes it easy. Connectivity drives productivity and creates new opportunities.