Connectivity for new commercial property is becoming an essential part of the planning process. Attracting and retaining tenants is obviously a key reason for installing a comprehensive communications infrastructure in today’s new builds. But that’s not all wireless can deliver.

A building with wireless infrastructure brings benefits to its owner that go beyond keeping tenants happy, whether that means enabling the latest smart building features or simply being better equipped than a competing site, all of which can create a much stronger business case for investment. Wireless is also an important part of any business’s support for staff, guests, on-site security and emergency service provision.

But the bottom line is that in-building users — whether staff, businesspeople or consumers — want in-building high-speed data connectivity. And they want it 24 hours a day. In fact, at all levels of society, wireless is increasingly seen as an essential ‘utility’ alongside electricity, water and gas. The demands placed upon wireless systems by users mean that the option to provide services from “outside in” are limited and therefore a well thought out strategy for in-building wireless systems is necessary.

Sometimes this utility will be delivered via PMR or Wi-Fi. But 4G and eventually 5G mobile connectivity will increasingly take on that role. They are viable alternatives to other systems and build on existing technology. But their use isn’t always straightforward. Modern environmentally friendly buildings can block external signals. Careful, and above all early, planning is essential.

Commercial building needs may vary from sector to sector – shopping centres may appear to be very different from a multi-tenant office building but the operational and “tenant” needs for wireless may be very similar in each environment. The need to understand and manage wireless is very evident today and if the building management systems of tomorrow are to meet the aspirations of users and suppliers these wireless systems need to be accommodated in the fabric of the buildings they support.

We have offered our advice on wireless provision for commercial property in reports and white papers, as well as in real-world situations, taking in all aspects of the process — from planning, transmission and fibre cabling, to power supply and future upgrades.

Where rollout is happening in an older building we take an even more detailed approach, looking at building materials, building layout, suitable network infrastructure, equipment ownership, mobile operators and vendors, and ensuring that the whole job is done properly. In all cases we apply our independent expertise not only to technical details but also to costing, business case and ROI.

Remember, however, that wireless is not a nice-to-have in any commercial property; it’s a must-have. And we can make it work for you as well as your tenants, staff or visitors.

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