Mobile phones – it’s time to stop shrugging our shoulders and embrace IBC

You’ve probably come across this all too often. You’re in your office – or more likely someone else’s – and your mobile phone isn’t performing. If you have a good signal, the data may be slow. You want to check your email or to use tethering for your laptop, but it’s just not working. You end up asking for Wi-Fi access – which will range from a simple self-serve system, to a three-day wait from IT!

The fact is, even with all advances in technology, connectivity can be patchy.

It’s less of a problem when you work at the same office all of the time, as you’re more likely to have Wi-Fi access. That may be limited to your work device though, and it’s quite common to have our own phones and tablets in the workplace – but even with BYOD improvements some companies are still not completely trusting with their Wi-Fi.

But it’s not just about employees. You also have guests and customers who will be on site with their devices. If you’re a service-based location then suddenly connectivity becomes extremely important; customers aren’t going to stay where they can’t be properly connected.

But what do we do? We shrug and blame the mobile networks! The fact is 68% of office space in Central London suffers issues with mobile phone coverage. But while we can wait for the mobile networks to catch up, the solution is very much in our own hands.

I believe that IBC – in-building cellular – needs to be seen as part of the base specification for any major office development. The building should be readied to support whichever network – or networks – required from the start. For building construction companies and landlords, it’s a big selling point when attracting tenants. You wouldn’t construct a building and hope that tenants would see water as optional – so in this day and age it’s silly to think that tenants would cope with poor network coverage.

It’s obviously less efficient to retrofit a building with IBC, but there can still be benefits. A company may think nothing of moving in and installing 1,000 desk phones, and the desk phone still has a place. But as organisations embrace mobility and on-demand services I would argue the investment in IBC is more flexible and a better long term investment.

The mobile signal issue is not going to go away… with 5G, more devices and even more expectations on data, the problem is likely to only get worse. But IBC is a solution that is here today that can ensure a good service for employees, customers and guests wherever they may be. It’s time to start considering it as an integral part of any smart building deployment.