When the Fiplex team stepped back and looked at the progress made with public safety communication solutions in the CRE industry over the last 20 years, it recognized a lot of positive strides had been made, but there was still a lot of work to do.
That recognition prompted Fiplex, a leading in-building public safety communications solutions provider for more than 30 years, to launch its FLEX™ product. The Fiplex FLEX is a flexible and scalable in-building wireless platform that delivers high levels of performance, survivability and deployment efficiency to meet public safety and solution provider stakeholders’ requirements.
FLEX addresses CRE owners’ and system integrators’ performance and complexity challenges that come with the critical communications code requirements that Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) mandate. The solution also helps mitigate the economic barriers that prevents the industry from scaling more deployments. According to Fiplex, the FLEX platform delivers a win-win scenario—better buildings for AHJs and better business opportunities for solutions providers.
“We looked back at the last 20 years and looked at all of the progress that the whole ecosystem has made in code development and adoption,” Fiplex VP of Engineering Bob Joslin told Connected Real Estate Magazine. “Then we asked ourselves, ‘Are we there yet?’ The answer is clearly no—there are way too many buildings with no emergency responder radio coverage. The top three challenges we see preventing that is performance, complexity and economics.
“These systems have grown in complexity. The entire industry is challenged. Better buildings, better business—that’s the mantra.”
How the Fiplex FLEX platform works
The chief benefit of the FLEX platform is simple: make it easier for all stakeholders. FLEX’s streamlined hardware architecture, combined with software-defined configuration puts the operational and deployment flexibility into the designer, installer and CRE owners’ hands, all without adding complexity or limiting performance.
Since FLEX is a software-based platform rather than a single product, Fiplex’s systems can be upgraded in the field. Being software-based also makes deploying systems more efficient and cost effective. Additionally, the solution’s flexibility allows it to work in any venue, regardless of the size or type. So, it’s never a question if FLEX will be effective in a certain building.
“(FLEX’s) sweet spot is not necessarily a specific venue or vertical,” said Joslin. “Fiplex is trying to solve the problem wherever it is needed. So, we’re not limited in what we can solve because of the platform’s flexibility.”
FLEX helps make AHJ’s and SI’s jobs easier
Fiplex understands that most AHJs are not going to be RF engineers. However, AHJs still need to know that a building’s public safety system complies with the adopted code and will perform properly under real world, mission-critical scenarios. The last thing an AHJ wants is an unqualified installer deploying an unqualified solution. That’s why Fiplex’s focus has been lowering the complexity and addressing the performance within its products’ features.
By making its solutions less complex, Fiplex makes it easier for systems integrators to meet AHJs’ requirements – enabling AHJs and SIs to deploy more solutions, faster, and ensure building owners receive their C of O’s without delay.
“Unmatched flexibility, better stakeholder relationships and lower deployment costs all play into the equation,” Joslin said. “We want to challenge the ecosystem to reduce complexity and increase performance expectations to a level that builds a transparent relationship based on trust and knowledge between all stakeholders.”
Improving in-building public safety communications systems remains a high priority for the CRE industry. First responders’ ability to communicate during an emergency could be all that stands between everyone including tenants, building visitors and the first responders themselves, making it out alive. The work done to ensure these systems are working well has been good, but it can always be better—Fiplex is working to make more buildings complaint, and at a rate greater than the current trajectory.
FirstNet and other private network technologies are on a parallel path with current public safety efforts. These efforts will certainly expand the horizon for public safety communications, but we should not lose sight of the immediate in-building and macro network two-way radio initiative.
“The mission’s not complete; we’re not there yet,” Joslin said. “Let’s celebrate the progress that we’ve made, but there’s still more to be done. Let’s recommit, double-down and complete the mission. In order to address more of these buildings, it has to be more than just code development and AHJ education. The ecosystem needs to innovate in order to gain scale.”