by Gina Rae
You might be thinking that almost every large building in the Massachusetts metropolitan areas already has (great) wireless coverage, but that’s not the case! Times and needs are changing fast and the future is now! But what are these needs, how fast are things really changing, and what is the solution?
Wireless communications is impacting the worlds of construction and real estate nationwide, and Boston is now seeing the implications: Safety codes and standards for wireless connectivity inside of buildings have developed into a national point of interest with an emphasis on implementation and standardization. Focus is on public safety support first, but, of course, the internet of things (IoT) and seamless subscriber connectivity play dominant roles for the move towards these codes and standards.
What is a wireless in-building communications system? Basically, the communications infrastructure outside of a building is extended indoors. There are many types of designs and equipment to create the in-building network. It boils down to developer or landlord choice, with considerations focused on public safety, tenant satisfaction, and cost. Professional telecom companies specializing in wireless services guide customers to make the decision on a solution that fits their budgets and solves the connectivity problem.
Why is this so significant? Most importantly, first responders need to be able to not only locate emergencies, but they also need to be able to communicate with another, and so does their equipment. Secondly, subscribers expect to be connected 100% of the time, and billions of devices need to talk to billions of other devices to make life as we know it today happen.
Who pays for this system? Years ago, carriers were zealously building their networks and competing for more and more subscribers and coverage. They had the capital to build pretty much whatever they wanted wherever they wanted to achieve their goals. These days, the carriers do not pay for the in-building solutions. Landlords and developers do, but the costs seem to be worth it because tenants are willing to pay for reliable, safety-supported, and seamless wireless connectivity.
Just how fast are things changing? It was only back in January 2017 when priorityrf.com reported that “The New York City building code requires, in Sections 403.4.4 and 907.2.13.2, that an in-building auxiliary radio communication (ARC) system be installed and maintained in all newly‑constructed high-rise buildings,” (https://www.priorityrf.com/blog/in-building-public-safety-communications-primer, published 19 Jan 2017). That is now two years ago, and the momentum is only increasing. Here in Boston, any time a new building is constructed, the design must include certain public safety communications infrastructure. But that is only half the battle, so landlords and developers hire companies to run preliminary scanning to determine what carrier communications needs exist. This is the part that solves your average subscriber connectivity issues. Anticipate more and more emphasis on this, as the enterprise base of the wireless industry (large buildings) is expected to be valued at $237.5 billion by 2025; https://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/telecom-enterprise-services-market.html.
Bottom line: It’s time to get your building comprehensively wirelessly connected!
Gina Rae, PMP, is senior program manager for Timberline Communications, Inc.