It’s taken little more than a decade for smartphones to become indispensable. Since the initial explosion in the UK in 2008, smartphone ownership has risen from 18% to 78%, as high as 95% among 16-24 year-olds. 40% of adults look at their phone within five minutes of waking up; they’re a fundamental part of orientating ourselves to go about our day.
We rely on our smartphones to keep us connected to work, family and friends – so why do we accept their consistently inconsistent connectivity on the train, in the office, or waiting in line to grab our lunch? Ofcom’s 2018 Connected Nations report found that almost one in every four buildings (23%) endures poor 4G from all network providers. Vilicom’s own research suggests that poor connectivity is affecting up to 1.6m businesses with 83% of employees struggling to secure full-bar coverage.
This is an alarming threat to business reputation and profit margins, as well as an obstacle to procuring talent, as both customers and staff wrestle with the frustrations of securing mobile coverage. Businesses haven’t had to solve this issue independently before, and so most simply aren’t prepared to overcome the obstacles in providing extensive, high-quality mobile data in their own buildings.
Businesses need professional advice on how to get full bar mobile signal if they’re to make a significant change to their employee and/or customer experiences. However, their inexperience is often exacerbated by a lack of guidance on effectively addressing the problem with businesses not knowing where to turn . Vilicom’s own research shows that 19% of businesses in the UK have tried and failed to deploy an indoor coverage solution because they couldn’t find a provider or had no idea where to start looking for help.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps organisations can take to help them keep productivity and revenues high.
Businesses first need to examine their own premises. Old buildings are made up of brick, concrete and/or stone, all of which are notorious mobile signal blockers. On top of this, if many such buildings are packed into a dense urban area, it becomes even more difficult to secure consistent mobile signal from the outside.
Some new builds are designed with mobile signal in mind, but many face similar issues. Health and safety requirements, and standardisation for qualities like soundproofing or energy efficiency, create buildings designed to let as little energy in or out of the building as possible. While modern insulation and building techniques further heighten the difficulty that mobile signal has in effectively penetrating them.
It’s often assumed that changing network provider is a panacea for mobile coverage. However, when it comes to buildings that aren’t conducive to mobile penetration, it makes little difference, as the same signal from a different tower will likely have the same result. Reconstruction to address this is both a massive logistical burden and extremely expensive, or a business might be renting office space, and this isn’t an option anyway.
As a result, if businesses can’t make a change externally, they need to look at internal solutions and eliminate the solutions that don’t suit them.
Many organisations may immediately think that Wi-Fi is the answer. It’s easy to set up andaccessible to anyone familiar with technology. For a family home it may be the best solution, but conventional Wi-Fi isn’t the best option for businesses that need to have good connectivity for their voice and data.users i.e. those that need to make mobile calls and use smartphone apps often on different devices.
Modern enterprises rely on software that demands consistent connectivity at high speeds whether on the move or in the office. Wi-Fi usually struggles to match enterprise speeds and network reliability is often variable.However, it will still lack the national reach of data coverage and requires users to navigate cumbersome processes such as password barriers and often leads to frustrated users attempting to circumvent performance problems due often to these systems not being dimensioned correctly for the right capacity. This can manifest in estremely erratic connectivity, sometimes good, but sometimes bad , depending on user numbers and user profile.
Wi-FI password portals have been a concern for IT security departments for many years.; a Wi-Fi password can be obtained simply by asking at reception, and the accessibility of Wi-Fi networks to malicious operators is well established. For businesses that value their cybersecurity, Wi-Fi is a weak link.
A dedicated internal mobile network addresses all indoor mobile coverage problems, offering comprehensive security alongside far greater capacity and consistency. This sort of hardware used to be available from network providers, but the diversification of the mobile market means it’s simply no longer financially or logistically viable.
Network-neutral specialist system integrators are now filling this gap, providing the equipment that businesses need to guarantee signal for mobile devices regardless of their choice of operator. Employees in offices benefit from vastly improved mobile signal, as do customers and visitors to commercial premises.
For example, a financial trading firm approached us after renting a floor in a shared workspace building without considering indoor mobile coverage before they committed. This was despite the fact that they spend 99% of their time on their mobile devices to do business. They soon found they had poor network coverage, impacting the volume of trades they could convert, and so we installed a high-performance coverage system throughout the office within weeks to rectify this.
Indoor mobile coverage solutions have huge potential to save businesses money, confusion and frustration. The time is now to revolutionise connectivity and reap the commercial benefits. All that is required is to share some simple information such as a building’s landscape and nature of business with a specialised systems integrator today, to be safe in the knowledge that a secure reliable solution indoor mobile coverage is in place with minimal fuss.