There are an estimated two billion smartphone users globally, with an estimated 80 percent of mobile traffic originating or terminating within a building. With that in mind, it is critical that residents, visitors and workers have access to strong and reliable cellular coverage in order to properly make use of their mobile devices. Despite this, only an estimated two percent of commercial buildings have dedicated technology to ensure strong and reliable mobile coverage and capacity indoors.
The second installment of a new global study, commissioned by global network infrastructure leader CommScope and carried out by Coleman Parkes, surveyed the professionals who design and manage such buildings – including building managers, facilities managers, real estate managers and architects – to explore this untapped business opportunity and consumer need.
Survey respondents asserted that indoor wireless coverage could increase a property’s value by 28 percent on average, meaning that a $2.5 million office building could be worth $700,000 more with a dedicated indoor cellular system.
Respondents also cited benefits for the enterprise tenant, including an increase in workforce productivity (77 percent), supporting the recruitment of more talented individuals (46 percent) and even attracting more visitors (39 percent). Two-thirds of respondents also rated indoor wireless connectivity as ‘essential’ for employees.
Challenges to overcome
Providing mobile coverage to users within larger and more complex buildings can require investment in dedicated technology. However, there are clearly concerns around who is responsible for the provision and management of this infrastructure. When asked who is responsible for providing cellular coverage in a building:
- Only one in five (22 percent) thought building managers should ensure mobile coverage
- Over a third (35 percent) pointed to network operators
- A quarter (26 percent) placed emphasis on IT managers
When asked what challenges prevented those from providing dedicated wireless networks indoors, they identified these three top roadblocks:
- The cost of the network (35 percent)
- The complexity of the technology (19 percent)
- A lack of skilled workers to manage it (11 percent)
Dr. Ispran Kandasamy, global leader, Building Solutions, CommScope, believes building professionals should take greater responsibility. “People are obsessed with their mobile phones and see indoor wireless coverage as important as having access to water and electricity,” said Kandasamy.
“The time has come for building professionals to step forward and take ownership for connecting their tenants to mobile networks. While there are clearly concerns around the cost and complexity of the technology, building owners must acknowledge that ignoring this issue could result in more costly work in the future. Engaging with architects, facilities managers and enterprises at an early stage will ultimately save money – as well as providing an enhanced user experience. Only by taking the lead will building owners be able to provide much needed connectivity in their properties,” he explained.
This is the second installment of CommScope’s research into the building industry’s attitudes towards the provision of indoor mobile coverage. CommScope will launch a comprehensive report, with an analysis of the findings and recommendations to the industry, on March 7, 2016.
Click HERE to pre-register for an early copy of the report and to download the Executive Summary.