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Homecremag3 Things CRE Owners Should Consider When Hiring a Wireless Vendor

3 Things CRE Owners Should Consider When Hiring a Wireless Vendor

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Wireless connectivity has earned the “Fourth Utility” moniker in recent years, and for good reason. While wireless is not as critical to survival as water, gas and electricity are, it’s just as important when it comes to business— especially for commercial real estate owners. Regardless of the need for business or pleasure, when someone walks into a building, they expect their mobile device to be connected.

“Wireless connectivity is something that as a business owner, you have to have,” Gabe’s Director of Business Development Keith Rhotehamel said. “Otherwise, people will find a different venue. People expect it these days.”

Pubic safety is one area where wireless reaches the same life or death heights as the other three utilities, however. There are too many variables when it comes to public safety where it’s critical for a wireless network to not only exist, but work properly. People need to know their call to 911 will go through in the event of an emergency. If that caller is trapped somewhere, first responders can use wireless to determine what floor they’re on. Plus first responders are using wireless to communicate with each other once they’re inside the building more frequently. An emergency is not the time for a CRE owner to realize they need to upgrade, or worse, install an effective in-building wireless.

The public safety aspect alone is enough of a reason for CRE owners to have a reliable in-building wireless network. Knowing you need wireless is just the first step however—there are other factors to consider. What system should you install? Who should you hire to handle the installation? How much will this all cost? Wireless system installations can feel overwhelming, but these three tips should make deciding on a vendor a little bit easier.

TIP #1: UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR NEEDS ARE.

Don’t worry. It’s not imperative that you know what your needs are the second you decide to install a wireless system in your building. However, if you think about the reasons you’re considering in-building wireless, maybe a vendor came to you and said they need connectivity, the building Wi-Fi is lagging or you noticed your phone’s not working, you will gain a better idea of what your needs are. It’s not up to you to solve your needs or issues, but it helps to know what you’re looking for whether it be Wi-Fi, cellular, public safety solutions or all of the above.

“It’s OK to have questions,” Rhotehamel said. “Reach out to the right experts to answer those questions for you. The right people, if they don’t know the answer, they’ll tell you and find out. If they can’t find out, they’ll engage with the right people within the project to make sure that the right thing is done.”

TIP #2: UNDERSTAND YOUR BUDGET AND TIMEFRAME.

It helps the whole process if you know how much you can afford to spend on an in-building wireless system before any work begins. A highly technical installation can seem expensive, but there are numerous options to meet coverage and capacity for every building including:

CBRS (Citizens Band Radio Service, part of 150 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band that’s becoming available for commercial use and private network); DAS (Distributed Antenna System, the network of antennas throughout a building to deal with poor coverage areas); signal boosters (amplifies cell phone reception); hybrid systems (combination of a mobile ad hoc network and infrastructured network); Wi-Fi (wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high speed Internet and network connections) and more.

Make sure the vendor you choose is capable of doing a full RF analysis of your building to provide you with the best and most cost-effective option.

“If a building owner comes to us and says, ‘I can’t afford it,’ we have people who can work with them from a financing perspective,” Rhotehamel said. “Be sure to ask if the integrator you’re working with has financing options.”

Wireless connectivity is something that as a business owner, you have to have,” Gabe’s Director of Business Development Keith Rhotehamel said. “Otherwise, people will find a different venue. People expect it these days.

TIP #3: UNDERSTAND YOUR VENDOR’S CAPABILITIES

Installing an in-building wireless system is a big financial commitment, regardless of your budget. So, it’s important you make sure whoever is doing the work knows what they are doing. Vet your integrator thoroughly! Ask about their experiences and request references of course, but be sure to ask operations questions, too. Any worthwhile vendor should be able to tell you how you can get fiber into your building, whether they handle that or not. Or if you’re doing a DAS, ask the vendor if they will be responsible for carrier connections.

“Building owners should also be looking for an integrators that’s equipment agnostic,” Rhotehamel said. “You don’t want to be sitting with somebody that all they do is X or all they do is Y. You want somebody’s who’s agnostic because that gives them the possibility to build the system that matches their needs.”

Today, an in-building wireless system is more than a utility for CRE owners—it’s a necessity. When it comes time to install yours, don’t leave the job in the hands of just any vendor. Whoever you hire, make sure they’re experienced installing the solution that you need in your building and that they are willing, and able, to work within your budget. Installing a wireless system will not only keep your tenants happy, it also has the potential to keep them safe in the event of an emergency.

Gabe’s Construction has been in business since 1942 and offers a variety of services for the CRE industry, including end-to-end in-house solutions like bench-marking and CW testing, design, construction, commissioning and integration and optimization and acceptance testing. While some integrators may provide some of those services, Gabe’s makes it possible for CRE to get all of their solutions in one spot.

“We’re highly experienced in all things wireless, construction and more,” Rhotehamel said. “We’ve have seen every project from the largest to the smallest and we’re excited to meet your needs.”

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